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
rr
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(3639 - 2:45pm, Oct 24)
Last: Merton Muffley

NewsblogDid Adam Dunn Ruin Baseball? – The Hardball Times
(36 - 2:43pm, Oct 24)
Last: AROM

NewsblogCurt Schilling not hiding his scars - ESPN Boston
(4 - 2:42pm, Oct 24)
Last: The District Attorney

NewsblogWall Street didn't kill sabermetrics - Beyond the Box Score
(5 - 2:36pm, Oct 24)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogBuster Olney on Twitter: "Sources: Manager Joe Maddon has exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and is leaving the Tampa Bay Rays immediately."
(39 - 2:28pm, Oct 24)
Last: Kiko Sakata

Newsblog2014 WORLD SERIES GAME 3 OMNICHATTER
(16 - 2:23pm, Oct 24)
Last: Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos

NewsblogDealing or dueling – what’s a manager to do? | MGL on Baseball
(58 - 2:21pm, Oct 24)
Last: Nasty Nate

NewsblogBeaneball | Gold Gloves and Coco Crisp's Terrible 2014 Defense
(1 - 2:19pm, Oct 24)
Last: RMc is a fine piece of cheese

NewsblogGleeman: Royals may bench Norichika Aoki for Game 3
(24 - 2:10pm, Oct 24)
Last: Roger McDowell spit on me!

NewsblogHow top World Series players ranked as prospects. | SportsonEarth.com : Jim Callis Article
(7 - 2:07pm, Oct 24)
Last: Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(914 - 1:52pm, Oct 24)
Last: frannyzoo

NewsblogPittsburgh Pirates prospect Tyler Glasnow captures Starting Pitcher MiLBY Award | MiLB.com
(1 - 1:33pm, Oct 24)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

Newsblog9 reasons Hunter Pence is the most interesting man in the World (Series) | For The Win
(13 - 1:11pm, Oct 24)
Last: bfan

NewsblogKen Rosenthal on Twitter: Rays’ Friedman going to Dodgers. Colletti remaining as senior advisor.
(93 - 12:32pm, Oct 24)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-24-2014
(3 - 12:30pm, Oct 24)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

Page rendered in 0.2100 seconds
54 querie(s) executed