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 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

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
dirk
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogChicago Cubs Kris Bryant and the service-time game | FOX Sports
(25 - 7:40pm, Mar 28)
Last: greenback votes nefariously

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - March 2015
(1387 - 7:34pm, Mar 28)
Last: nick swisher hygiene

NewsblogSadly, We've Lost Another Primate
(36 - 7:28pm, Mar 28)
Last: The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux

NewsblogNY Post: Sherman: Commish, Boras And Cubs: Shut Up About Hopeless Phenom Debate
(8 - 7:18pm, Mar 28)
Last: cercopithecus aethiops

NewsblogJason Heyward’s Ability Seems Boundless. Soon, So May His Contract.
(41 - 7:05pm, Mar 28)
Last: DA Baracus

NewsblogAstros to introduce drool-inducing Chicken & Waffle Cone
(12 - 6:42pm, Mar 28)
Last: Infinite Joost (Voxter)

NewsblogBBTF 2015 Shooty Memorial Softball Meet-up!
(24 - 6:08pm, Mar 28)
Last: Hysterical & Useless

Jim's Lab NotesRecent Updates and Turning off Advertisements
(55 - 5:50pm, Mar 28)
Last: Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site

NewsblogThe Dome: 15 years ago Seattle blew up a giant, concrete eyesore full of memories.
(26 - 5:41pm, Mar 28)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogOT: Soccer March 2015
(445 - 5:31pm, Mar 28)
Last: AuntBea

NewsblogOTP - March 2015: You’re out, tobacco: Bill would ban products at all California baseball venues
(3589 - 4:40pm, Mar 28)
Last: Swoboda is freedom

NewsblogBoras: Cubs using business, not baseball, if Bryant stays in minors - CBSSports.com
(209 - 4:40pm, Mar 28)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogGrantland: 2015 AL East Preview
(45 - 4:37pm, Mar 28)
Last: Ziggy

NewsblogJonathan Lucroy's bat is literally on fire
(5 - 4:11pm, Mar 28)
Last: Steve Parris, Je t'aime

NewsblogSoftball Game 2015
(26 - 3:42pm, Mar 28)
Last: Rickey! is just here so he don't get fined

Page rendered in 0.1432 seconds
48 querie(s) executed