Jul 18, 2011, 2:00 PM EST
In the comments to the Springsteen post earlier, there were several of you who took issue with Springsteen’s use of the word “speedball” in the lyrics to “Glory Days.” As in “he could throw that speedball by you, make you look like a fool,” for those unfamiliar.
This bothered me for many years, and I’m sure I’ve complained about it at HBT or my other blogs at some point in the past. I mean, really, who says “speedball?”
But we must stop our complaints now, as “speedball” is legit baseball terminology. Or at least it’s not unprecedented baseball terminology.
For my birthday last week, my parents bought me Paul Dickson’s wonderful Baseball Dictionary. In it you can find definitions and origins to just about every baseball term you’ve ever heard and thousands that you haven’t. And lo and behold, on page 809, we have the following two entries:
speedball A fastball. 1st use: 1918. “[Jim Vaughn’s] buzzer, the speedball, is a mighty breeze and is difficult to hit” (Boston Herald and Journal, Sept. 6; Peter Morris)
speedballer A fastball pitcher, “Joe Ginsberg … caught such speedballers as Virgil Trucks and Dizzy Trout with the Tigers” (The Sporting News, March 30, 1955)
There you have it. “Speedball” is not used often, but it has been used. If it’s good enough for the Boston Herald and The Sporting News — at least back when those publications really had their speedballs working — and if it’s good enough for Bruce Springsteen, it’s good enough for us.
- Phillies GM told Ryan Howard they’d be better off “not with him but without him” 83
- Trea Turner’s agent is unhappy his client is in limbo after trade to Nationals 47
- Nexen Heroes accept Jung-Ho Kang posting fee from unidentified MLB team 35
- Giants acquire Casey McGehee from the Marlins 16
- The Padres have given their fans something to talk about. Which is badly needed in San Diego. 64
- Justin Upton traded to the Padres for three prospects 79
- Bud Selig will get a $6 million a year pension. Which is obscene. 145
- Jake Peavy agrees to a two-year, $24 million deal to stay with the San Francisco Giants 26
- Bud Selig will get a $6 million a year pension. Which is obscene. (145)
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- Rays, Padres, Nationals agree to 11-player trade (97)
- Chase Headley signs a four-year deal with the Yankees worth at least $52 million. (95)