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Picture of Kalleh
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There was an article about bullpens in the Chicago Tribune today, and apparently there are a few theories on how that word developed.

1) Often Casey Stengel is given the credit for coining the term. The story is that he banished relief pitchers from the dugout because they were "shooting the bull" during the games.

2) Moe Berg, whom the Tribune described as a late catcher, linguist and spy (quite a variety, huh?), claimed the name was coined in the 1920s when pitchers would warm up at a spot near the billboards for Bull Durham chewing tobacco.

3) The term goes back to 1877 with a Cincinnati Enquirer report that described pitchers warming up in an area where fans were herded like cattle before the game.

While the Tribune article didn't mention this, here is what etymology.com says: "Bullpen in the baseball sense is first recorded 1915, perhaps from earlier slang meaning 'temporary holding cell for prisoners' (1809)."

Does anyone know where it came from? The OED has the first citation from a 1924 Chicago Tribune article, but the etymology wasn't made clear, though they mention the temporary holding cell for prisoners.
 
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quote:
Does anyone know where it came from?

I don't even know what it is!

I have a ballpen - is that the same thing?


Richard English
 
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I don't even know what it is!

Here's the definition from the AHD (i.e., the American Heritage Dictionary.)

1. Baseball a. An area where relief pitchers warm up during a game. b. The relief pitchers of a team considered as a group. 2. A temporary holding area for prisoners, as in a courthouse. 3. An open area in an office with workspace for a number of employees.

Baseball is an American sport.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Baseball is an American sport.

I do recall this topic having been discussed previously. It seems that baseball is a kind of rounders ;-)


Richard English
 
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Mencken has nothing on 'bullpen'.
 
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etymology.com says: "Bullpen in the baseball sense is first recorded 1915 ..." ... The OED has the first citation from a 1924
Here's an earlier one. The quotation marks suggest that the term was then recent.
    Ira Thomas is the skipper of the pitchers. He corrects the faults of the youthful hurlers and takes them to the "bullpen" in the afternoon and keeps them warmed up.
    - Washington Post, Aug. 17, 1913, sports section p.2 col.2
 
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I'm sorry, but I don't believe any etymology which doesn't talk about bull fighting. The pen where a bull is kept looks awfully similar to the pen where pitchers warm up. If I had to guess, that would be my first. None of the above mention this remotely.
 
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I agree with you Sean . . . seems to me obvious.


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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And the corral where the cattle who pay money to watch others play a game FOR them instead of playing their own game is called what?
 
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I do recall this topic having been discussed previously.

Not "bullpen," Richard.
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I agree with you Sean . . . seems to me obvious.

I suspect the original reference is, indeed, from that. However, the stimulus to use that term in baseball in the first place may very well have been something different. That is, I doubt that someone said, "Hey...the place where the pitchers warm up looks just like the that pen where the bulls are kept, so let's call it a 'bullpen'." I suspect something happened to raise that discussion, and I just wondered what it was. This isn't an earthshaking question, that's for sure. Wink

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quote:
I do recall this topic having been discussed previously.


Not "bullpen," Richard.

I meant rounders (whoops, Baseball) :-)


Richard English
 
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