December 3, 2007

Special Instructions To Players

In the late 1890s, the National League attempted to get its players to stop using obscene language during games. Here is a memo -- which also offers no less than nine examples of what fans often heard at the ball park. The document may be up for auction.

10 comments:

redsock said...

Over at YF/SF, Mark Lamster ("YF"): comments:
There is some discussion on the SABR 19th century committee's listserve that this is, in fact, a hoax. But I think it's real (as does the eminent John Thorn). I believe there is solid physical evidence that the document is from 1898, so the hoax issue goes only to whether or not it is an official league document. My feeling, not having studied it, is that it's precisely the kind of ridiculous, overbearing legislation that was the hallmark of John Brush, who instigated the movement to ban swearing "at any or whatever cost."

************

Lamster is the author of "Spalding's World Tour: The Epic Adventure that Took Baseball Around the Globe - And Made It America's Game" about the Albert Spalding's 1888 world tour.

L-girl said...

"A dog must have fucked your mother when she made you!"

Long, but creative!

Zenslinger said...

This does lend some credibility to Deadwood as well.

Amy said...

My initial reaction to this is that is was a joke. Why? I had no idea people even KNEW those words in the 19th Century! Shows how naive I am, I guess.

My second thought was, "Gee, Pedroia would be in BIG trouble."

Jere said...

""A dog must have fucked your mother when she made you!""

I bet this poor ballplayer hears that one a lot.

Mike said...

"Furthermore, the Committee will be imposing a costly fine (20 silver certificates!) on the dastardly player who uttered these impertinent missives, one Honus Blyleven. For shame, sir!"

s1c said...

This is one of those times when I wish my great-great grandfather was still alive. He would probably be able to tell me whether or not this would be legit.

johngoldfine said...

But no 'shit' words! Maybe those were the ones they didn't know, amy.

Seriously, amy, it's the modernity that's really shocking. How could they be so fluent, those fuddy-duddy oldtimers?

Colin said...

Wow guess someone forgot to tell Beckett about this little ditty.

Then again who cares outside of the language purists? I'd rather see gruff and 'curse like a sailor' Becks than clean and pristine Becks. I can only imagine what he's doing to poor Lester and Buchholz at Beckett Boot Camp for Prospective Pitchers (thanks Cursed to First!).

L-girl said...

I had no idea people even KNEW those words in the 19th Century!

And long before that, too. :)