Baseball Names - and
How They Got That Way! Part XIII (F)
The words and phrases are spoken and written day after
day, year after year - generally without any wonderment
as to how they became part of the language. All have a
history, a story. For those of you who liked Part I,
Part II, Part III, X and all the others and wanted more,
here is more. As always, reactions and suggestions
F ROBBY ("THE JUDGE) Hall of Famer Frank Robinson played
for the Cincinnati Reds (1956-1965), Baltimore Orioles
(1966-1971), Los Angeles Dodgers (1972), California
Angels (1973), etc. His nicknames indicated an
abbreviation of his name and some deference to his
fallaway slide Used to avoid a tag, a slide to one side
of a base, catching the base with the foot of a bent
leg. (fall-away slide, fadeaway slide, fadeaway)
FATHER OF THE EMORY BALL Rookie right-hander Russ Ford
posted a 26-6 record with 8 shutouts, 1910
FENWAY PARK The Boston Red Sox moved into their new home
in 1912 on the property of the Fenway Realty Company at
Landsdowne and Jersey streets. Although it was rebuilt
in 1934, it is essentially the way it was at the time of
its birth. Its "Green Monster"--the 37-foot-high wall
extending from the foul pole in left field 315 feet from
home plate to the flagpole 388 feet from home well past
left-center--is its most distinctive feature.
FIREBALLER A fastball-throwing pitcher (HARD CHUCKER;
FIREMAN Johnny Murphy, the first great relief pitcher,
who put out fires. Joe Page picked up this nick-name
for his top relief work later on.
FIVE O'CLOCK LIGHTNING Back in the 1920s to attract
school kids and the Wall Street crowd, baseball games at
Yankee Stadium began at 3:30 P.M. At five o'clock, a
whistle from a nearby factory blew signaling the end of
the workday and often a typical late-inning home team
rally and triumph, earning the Yankees that colorful
FIRST TELEVISED SPORTS EVENT On May 17, 1939, over
station W2XBS, a 16-man NBC crew with equipment costing
$ 100,000 sent out the first televised sports coverage.
The subject was the Princeton - Columbia baseball game
from Baker Field in New York. A single camera was used,
and the total cost of transmittal was $3,000. There were
no close-ups of action. The players on the television
screen looked like white flies. The single camera was
stationed near the third-base line, and it swept back
and forth across the diamond. Instant replay, "slo-mo,"
split screen, Zoomar lens, hand-held cameras, instant
isolates, overhead blimps, graphics, Monday Night
Football, and Super Bowl were not even dimly perceived
by the average fan, but on June 5, 1939, an editorialist
for Life magazine showed some vision:
No fuzziness (in the telecast) could hide what
television will mean for American sports.... Within ten
years an audience of 10,000,000 sitting at home or in
the movie theaters will see the World Series or the Rose
Bowl game.... Thousands of men and women who have never
seen a big-time sports event will watch the moving
shadows on the television screen and become excited
FIRST WORLD SERIES Back in the 1880s for a period of
seven years there had been play-offs between the winners
in the National League and the American Association.
Once the play-offs went to 15 games - 1887 between St.
Louis and Detroit. Pittsburgh won its third straight
National League pennant in 1903. Boston won the brand
new American League title by 14 l/2 games over the
Philadelphia Athletics. The Pirates bragged about Honus
Wagner whose .355 average earned him the batting title.
Their swashbuckling manager Fred Clarke was runner-up
with a .351 average. Boston boasted about two 20-game
winners in Deacon Phillippe and Sam Leever.
The first modern World Series came about at the
suggestion of Boston owner Henry J. Killilea and
Pittsburgh's owner Barney Dreyfuss. It was called
"Championship of the United States" and it was a five of
nine games affair. The first game was October l, 1903 at
Boston's Huntington Avenue Grounds before 16,242. Deacon
Phillippe pitched Pittsburgh to a 7-3 win over Boston's
Throughout the game and the series Boston's rabid fans
serenaded Pittsburgh players with a popular song of the
day, "Tessie," but they substituted their own vulgar
words for the regular lyrics. The routine definitely had
a negative impact on the Pittsburgh players. "It was
that damn song that caused us problems," grumbled Buc
player Tommy Leach afterwards.
Deacon Phillippe won three of the first four games of
the series for Pittsburgh but then faltered. Boston then
swept the next four games. Bill Dinneen and Cy Young won
all five games for Boston in the series On October 13,
only 7,455 showed up - the smallest crowd of the series.
Phillippe pitched his fifth complete game of the series
but lost, 3-0 to Dinneen and Boston had the
Right after the game ended players from both clubs lined
up for a combination team photo. It was a remarkable
display of good sportsmanship considering the bitterness
that had existed between the junior American League and
senior National League.
An oddity of the World Series was that the losing
players received more money that than the winners. Owner
Dreyfuss put his club's share of the gate receipts into
the players' pool. Each Pittsburgh player netted $1,316
while each Boston player netted $1,182.
Deacon Phillippe - heroic in his efforts
in the series with five decisions and 44 innings
pitched, still World Series records, was given a bonus
and 10 shares of stock in the Pirates.
FLORIDA MARLINS Named after the large
fish, found off the Florida coast and also a minor
league AAA team, the Miami Marlins. It was H. Wayne
Huizenga, Blockbuster Video founder and owner of the
team, who chose the name. "I chose Marlin," he said,
"because the fish is a fierce fighter and an adversary
that tests your mettle."
FLYING DUTCHMAN Honus Wagner played for the Pittsburgh
Pirates for 21 years, winning eight batting titles,
collecting 3,430 hits, and establishing team records for
most doubles, triples, and extra-base hits. He played
every position except catcher, but he earned his fame as
a shortstop. Of Dutch origin, he was a speedy base
runner, leading the National League five times in stolen
bases and recording a career total of 722 stolen bases.
His speed and his Dutch heritage blended together to
form his nickname, the Flying Dutchman.
FORDHAM FLASH Former New York Giant
stalwart, Frankie Frisch, was all of that.
FORDHAM JOHHNY Ace former Yankee relief
pitcher Johnny Murphy attended Fordham University in the
FOUR HOUR MANAGER A negative slap at
former Yankee manager Bucky Harris, who put his time in
at the game and was finished.
THE FRESHEST MAN ON EARTH ("Clown Prince
of Baseball of 19th Century Baseball" Arlie Latham
played 17 fun-filled major league seasons beginning in
1880? He delighted in setting off firecrackers and
lighting candles in the dugout a signal to the umpire
of impending darkness
FRIDAY NIGHT MASSACRE On April 26, 1974, Yankees Fritz
Paterson, Steve Kline, Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, and half
the pitching staff were traded to Cleveland for Chris
Chambliss, Dick Tidrow, and Ceil Upshaw.