[Ads-l] "Official Ephus" and eephus?

Andy Bach afbach at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 16 13:58:21 EST 2019


Just a guess but WikiP says (as, oddly, a number of "spam" guard texts):
Although the origin is not known for certain, "Eephus" may come from the
Hebrew <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_language> word אפס
<https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D7%90%D7%A4%D7%A1> (pronounced *EF-əs*
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Pronunciation_respelling_key>), meaning
"nothing <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing>".[3]
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eephus_pitch#cite_note-somethingpitch-3>

That reference page
https://www.espn.com/espn/page2/story?page=eephus/080715

has (along with even more interesting info on Sewell):
One theory on the origin of Van Robays' nonsense word ties it to the Hebrew
language, which does not have a numerical symbol for zero but does have a
word for the concept: efes, which can also mean "nothing." Also consider
the lexicon of tarot cards, where The Fool card is often numbered zero.

On Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 12:36 PM Mark Mandel <markamandel at gmail.com> wrote:

> Looking for more information about Maurice Van Robays, I found this. Scroll
> down to the second Q&A on the page.
>
>
> https://web.archive.org/web/20070809081659/http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/features/experts/05_02_01.stm
> >>>>>
> THE EEPHUS PITCH
> Q: Where does the term "eephus pitch" come from? What does eephus mean?
> -- Kristen E. Voights
> A: According to Paul Dickson's The Baseball Dictionary, the "eephus pitch"
> was first used by Pittsburgh Pirates starter Rip Sewell.
>
> In an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers in 1942, Pirates catcher
> Al Lopez called for a changeup on a 3-2 count to Dick Wakefield. Sewell
> threw a high, arching lob to the plate, and when the pitch finally arrived,
> Wakefield swung and missed.
>
> After the game, manager Frankie Frisch asked Sewell what he called the
> pitch, and Pirates outfielder Maurice Van Robays replied "that's an eephus
> pitch." When Sewell asked him what an eephus was, Van Robays said, "Eephus
> ain't nuthin'." From then on, Sewell called it the eephus pitch.
>
> Sewell said he created the pitch after a war injury forced him to alter his
> wind-up. Unable to pivot on his right foot, he had to adopt an overhand
> delivery which led to the development of his new pitch.
> <<<<<
>
> So according to this, it was Sewell's pitch but Van Robays's word, and the
> sense of what he said was not "*Eephus* means ‘nothing’", but rather "
> *Eephus* means nothing" [= is meaningless].
>
> Unfortunately, this page doesn't give a date or source for the original
> information, and substrings of the original url as taken from the archive
> url always go to the current main page.
>
> MAM
>
>
> On Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 11:52 AM ADSGarson O'Toole <
> adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Interesting topic, Stephen.
> > In 1943 "eephus" was sometimes followed by "nothing" in parentheses.
> > (The spellings "eephus and "ephus" both appeared in newspapers.)
> >
> > Sewell was not pitching a fast ball or a curve ball. He was pitching
> > a nothing ball. But I have yet to see a convincing explanation for why
> > "eephus" meant "nothing". The rationale offered further below was
> > weak.
> >
> > Date: September 4, 1943
> > Newspaper: The Miami Daily News
> > Newspaper Location:
> > Photo Caption Title: 'NOW HERE'S HOW I DID IT'
> > Author: AP Wirephoto
> > Quote Page 3B, Column 3
> > Database: Newspapers.com
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > Old Honus Wagner, the grand old shortstop of the Pirates and now team
> > coach, who did a spot of pitching back 40-odd years ago, shows his
> > technique of balloon-ball chunking to Rip Sewell. Rip, who features
> > the "ephus" or "nothing" pitch, chalked up victory No. 20 Friday--the
> > first major league twirler of the year to hit that mark.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Date: September 8, 1943
> > Newspaper: Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, The Evening News
> > Newspaper Location: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
> > Article: Cooper, Sewell Top Big League Hurlers--Albany Plays Twin Bill
> > Here Tonight
> > Author: Judson Bailey (Associated Press Sports Writer)
> > Quote Page 15, Column 2
> > Database: Newspapers.com
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > Truett (Rip) Sewell, of the Pittsburgh Pirates, proponent of the famed
> > parachute pitch sometimes called the eephus (nothing) ball, already
> > has won 20 games and lost seven.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Year: 2004
> > Book Title: Too Young to Fight
> > Author: Ray Slyman
> > Publisher: Infinity Publishing, West Conshohocken, PA
> > Quote Page 104
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > Chester Smith ... on Rip Sewell’s new pitch: “He throws it in an arc
> > of about 25 feet, and then it somehow floats down across the plate,
> > usually in the strike zone. With that buckshot still in him, this
> > pitch doesn’t put that much pressure on his legs. It’s not a fastball,
> > and it’s not a curve. Some of the sports writers here with the
> > Pirates, are calling it the “Dipsy Doodle Pitch.” But Maurice Van
> > Robays, the Pirates’ starting right-fielder claims, “The pitch should
> > be called an “Eephus Pitch”, because “Eephus” means nothing... and
> > that’s what the pitch is.”
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Year: 2015
> > Book Title: The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia
> > Edition: Second Edition
> > Authors: David Finoli and Bill Ranier
> > Unnumbered page
> > Publisher: Sports Publishing, New York
> > Database: Google Books Preview
> > https://books.google.com/books?id=dnOCDwAAQBAJ&
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > It wasn't the sterling 21-9 or 2.54 ERA that Sewell is remembered for;
> > instead the development of a softball-like pitch, dubbed “the eephus
> > pitch” by Maurice Van Robays, ended up being his calling card. When
> > asked by Frisch what the term eephus meant, Van Robays responded,
> > “Eephus means nothing,” which Sewell liked.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 10:09 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > OED's word today is eephus, n. baseball,
> > >  1.  slang. The quality of pitching exceptionally well. rare. 1935
> > > 2. A slow pitch having a high arcing trajectory. 1943ff
> > > Beats me. I thought of Joe as if stretched out fancy to Josephus,
> adding
> > a little extra something, but that's unlikely.
> > >
> > > FWIW a July 27, 1929 headline in Oakland Tribune [CA] [newspapers.com]
> > has a nonsense story with a photo of an ensign reportedly in a wrong
> > location--too high: "Here's Official Ephus on the Cutter Bear."
> > >
> > > SG
> >
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>


-- 

a

Andy Bach,
afbach at gmail.com
608 658-1890 cell
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