[Ads-l] Chinese home run (was: Antedating of "Phoney")

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Aug 5 14:59:17 UTC 2019

> On Aug 5, 2019, at 3:28 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Fred Shapiro, Fred wrote:
>> phoney (OED 1893)
>> 1892 _Daily Plainsman_ (Huron, S.D.) 11 Aug. 1/4 (Newspapers.com)
>> This gang has succeeded in floating in the Twin Cities an immense amount
>> of the finest work of "phoney" plates and molds ever seen by the officials.
> Excellent citation, Fred. Here is a slightly earlier citation for
> phony home-runs in March 1891. The word was placed between quotation
> marks.
> Date: 01 March 1891
> Newspaper: The Cincinnati Enquirer
> Newspaper Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
> Article: Base-Ball Gossip
> Quote Page 2, Column 3
> Database: Newspapers.com
> https://www.newspapers.com/clip/34577231/phonyhomeruns/
> [Begin excerpt - double-check for errors]
> There is now little doubt but what the
> Chicago League team will next season play
> on the park that was used last year by the
> Chicago Brotherhood. The new park is
> much larger than the old one, and there will
> not be so many "phony" home-runs in Chi-
> cago next season, as there are no real short-
> field fences convenient.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson

…which brings to mind (at least to my mind) the infamous “Chinese home runs” over the short right field fence at the Polo Grounds (in my old neighborhood).  I recall learning that term when it was used to described Dusty Rhodes’ World Series game-clinching pinch-hit home run in 1954.  I wondered about the origin of the label, back in those dark pre-Wikipedia days, but now we can find out.  


And yes, it’s as offensive as it seems.  And somehow a disputed TAD Dorgan cartoon comes into play, even in the absence of dachshunds.  Plus what strikes me as an etymythology proposing an innocent source.  


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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