Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Meaning Of The Word ‘Jazz’ Has Baseball Roots

No word yet on a possible Nesuhi Ertegun/Gyroball connection.

As Boston baseball fans prepare to celebrate the 100th birthday of Fenway Park, there’s another important centenntial involving the national pastime: it’s about how baseball gave us jazz. It turns out that the word “jazz” has an unlikely history. It starts 100 years ago with an obscure baseball player named Ben Henderson.

Henderson was a washed up pitcher with the Pacific Coast League with a reputation as an unreliable drunk, so his career never amounted to much. But back in 1912, he told a reporter about a new pitch he had developed, and became the first person known to use the word “Jazz.”

“And he told the reporter that he had a special pitch, a curve ball called “the jazz ball” that he was going to use, and he said it would completely flummox the batters because it wobbles so much you simply can’t do anything with it,” said Ben Zimmer, the language columnist for The Boston Globe and producer of visualthesaurus.com and vocabulary.com.

Repoz Posted: April 09, 2012 at 04:44 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, music

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4101686)
The word "jazz" comes from "jass," which was already in use before 1900, which comes from "chasse," which was in use earlier than that, and the entire etymolgical timeline is still disputed. This is like claiming the citation for "originating" the nickname "Vladdy" for Vladimir Guerrero, or calling Dave Kingman "Kong."
   2. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 09, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4101696)
I never heard of a real soloist playing before the public on a Trumpet. One cannot play a decent song even, properly, on it, and it has sprung up in the last few years like "jaz" music, which is the nearest Hell, or the Devil, in music. It polutes (sic) the art of Music.

Letter from Herbert L. Clarke to Elden Benge advising Benge not to switch from cornet to trumpet, 1921.
   3. winnipegwhip Posted: April 09, 2012 at 11:47 PM (#4102391)
It was the time when foreign substances were allowed on baseballs and the noted term was actually a typo in the paper. The wrong vowel was typed into the word.
   4. PreservedFish Posted: April 10, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4102398)
Wikipedia has a lively article on this. The article locates the most likely origin in the word "jism," which means exactly what you think it means.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOrtiz: Plea to consider 'character' alters Hall of Fame vote | Jose de Jesus Ortiz | stltoday.com
(47 - 4:33am, Nov 25)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogMLB Sets Record For Revenues In 2017, Increasing More Than $500 Million Since 2015
(5 - 4:24am, Nov 25)
Last: Lest we forget

NewsblogHall makes room for an "idiot" on the ballot
(32 - 1:35am, Nov 25)
Last: John Northey

NewsblogOTP 20 November 2017: Sheriff’s official suspended 10 days over Cubs World Series sneak-in
(895 - 1:09am, Nov 25)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogOT - NBA 2017-2018 Tip-off Thread
(1521 - 12:49am, Nov 25)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogOT - November* 2017 College Football thread
(224 - 12:34am, Nov 25)
Last: Gold Star - just Gold Star

NewsblogOT - 2017 NFL thread
(190 - 11:43pm, Nov 24)
Last: PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina

NewsblogFinding the best spot for Giancarlo Stanton
(13 - 10:32pm, Nov 24)
Last: Don Malcolm

NewsblogWho, me?! Why your team's next closer will probably be a total surprise -- even to him
(8 - 9:45pm, Nov 24)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogThe fault in Dipoto's (prospective) stars - Lookout Landing
(1 - 8:50pm, Nov 24)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogJoe Morgan Wants To Keep Steroid Cheats Out Of Baseball Hall Of Fame | MLB | NESN.com
(192 - 7:25pm, Nov 24)
Last: bachslunch

NewsblogRyan Thibs has his HOF Ballot Tracker Up and Running!
(64 - 7:10pm, Nov 24)
Last: John DiFool2

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-24-2017
(11 - 4:37pm, Nov 24)
Last: RJ in TO

NewsblogFavorite Thanksgiving recipes from MLB | MLB.com
(8 - 2:12pm, Nov 24)
Last: simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose

NewsblogA Discussion of WAR Wherein I Ardently Attempt to Avoid any WAR-Related Puns | Sports-Reference.com
(62 - 10:30am, Nov 24)
Last: Dr. Chaleeko

Page rendered in 0.2668 seconds
47 querie(s) executed