# [Ads-l] to "pull a fast one"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 7 20:53:01 UTC 2023

```I hypothesize utterances like "That was a fast one!" Add "pull" (perform,
perpetrate) and voila.

The appositeness of the fastball metaphor is that, ideally, the batter
shouldn't even be able to see it, much less hit it. (Hence, "throwing
aspirins.")

Nolan Ryan is said to have thrown a 100.9 mph aspirin in 1974: the official
record, says Guinness.  (Less credibie sources claim it was 108.1 mph.)

Walter Johnson's legendary speed was measured with a "gravity drop interval
recorder" in 1917 at 134 fps, which my limited math skills interpret as
just over 91 mph.

JL

On Wed, Jun 7, 2023 at 3:15 PM Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:

> The odd thing about “pull a fast one (on somebody)” with the meaning
> ‘perform an underhanded trick’ is that that’s the functional opposite of
> throwing a literal fast ball, which is precisely what conforms to the
> batter’s expectation.  It’s throwing a change-up (or a curve ball, which is
> indeed used in that figurative sense*) that amounts to pulling a
> metaphorical fast one.  Wonder how “pull a fast one” developed its
> counter-expectational meaning. Maybe it’s not the actual speed of the fast
> ball but that the pitcher threw it before the batter was set, i.e. a "quick
> pitch" rather than a fast ball per se.  I can imagine “to quick-pitch”
> being used in this sense, although I’m not sure I’ve heard it used
> metaphorically in this way.
>
> *OED, s.v. “curve ball”:
>  2.  figurative. Originally U.S. Something whose unexpectedness or
> unpredictable nature enables one to disorient or wrong-foot one's
> opponents; (more generally) something unexpected, surprising, or
> disorienting. Often in  to throw (someone) a curveball.
>
> LH
>
> > On Jun 7, 2023, at 2:37 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >
> > OED's primary example (1912) is pretty clearly about a fastball, not an
> > underhanded trick. "Fast one" was and is a usual term for a fastball (or,
> > formerly, a sharply hit ball):
> >
> > 1898 St. Louis Republic (Sept. 26) 5: Not once during the game did he put
> > over a fast one. [I.e., put one over home plate.]
> >
> > 1900 Chicago Tribune (July 27) 9: The Captain, however, pulled a fast one
> > close to the third bag which Sullivan could only partially stop.
> >
> > 1901 Rockford [Ill.] Republic (May 1) 2: Isbell pulled a fast one to
> right,
> > and Dillon reached for it as it shot past him.
> >
> > 1909 Montgomery [Ala.] Advertiser (Jan. 25) 8: Why, if [pitchers] Ed
> Walsh
> > or "Bill" Donovan ever slip a fast one at him, it will scare him to
> death.
> >
> > 1912 Evening Star {Washington, D.C.) 11: Get in there and hustle. Put
> over
> > a fast one and show that batter up.
> >
> >
> > OED has fig. (and obs.?) "put over a fast one" from 1913, making it the
> > earliest "fast one" (shrewd or deceptive maneuver)
> >
> >
> > OED's first "pull a fast one," which is now usual, is from 1930.
> >
> > 1919 Buffalo [N.Y.] Evening Times (Sept. 29) 12: Trickiest Play of Recent
> > Years on the Diamond - Charles Dooin Pulls a Fast One and a Great
> Argument
> > Results.
> >
> > JL
> >
> > On Wed, Jun 7, 2023 at 8:26 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu>
> wrote:
> >
> >> Sleight of hand?
> >> It may be that someone commented (hear tell, unapproved by moderator)
> >> on a NY Times article about
> >> President Biden's age something to the effect that Biden may not have
> >> pulled a fast one on House Speaker McCarthy in the debt limit talks
> >> but maybe he pulled a slow one.
> >>
> >> sg. maybe for a friend
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> ------------------------------------------------------------
> >> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >>
> >
> >
> > --
> > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

--
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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