Thursday, November 18, 2010


The person who pitches is called the pitcher. The person who catches is called the catcher. The person who manages is called the manager. So why do we say "coach" and not "coacher"?

Full disclosure: I didn't just think of that. I was looking at old articles from the 1920s and earlier and noticed they did call them coachers. At some point, they shortened it. Why we don't say "manage," "pitch," and "catch" as nouns, I don't know.

Oh, and in one of those articles, I found this, from January 1921:
Runners missing third was "often the case"? What's up with this? Could it be that it was common to purposely go inside the bag to get home faster, hoping no one noticed? The article is about how "coachers" can play a key role in games by noticing things like this--so it's not like people were less likely to watch for it back then. I'm stumped. Maybe the runners often couldn't see the dirty base and would miss it--since everything was, you know, in black and white...

Could be cutting the bag. There were only two umps per game back then. Cannot recall off the top of my head went they went from 1 to 2 umps (certainly well before 1921).

Quick Google: "A three-umpire system, suggested in 1885 and actually used in the World Series that year, was an aberration, but a two-umpire system was much discussed in the 1880s and 1890s. Although the Players League of 1890 employed two umpires and in 1898 the two-umpire system was sanctioned in the rules, club owners continued to resist the expense of a second arbiter. After Johnson added a fifth umpire in 1902, the use of two arbiters became frequent, common, and then standard--an umpire-in-chief to call balls and strikes and a field umpire to make decisions on the bases. Again, the National League followed apace and in 1912 both leagues had ten-man staffs--two umpires per game and two replacements in reserve."
Wow--I see now that it wasn't until 1952 that the four-umpire crew was established. So I guess players could get away with a lot more back in the day. Imagine what Jeter could get away with if there was only one ump on the field!! He'd be putting out instructional videos on how to appear to round the bases without actually moving!
At least half the Jeter instructional video would be quick clips to the dugout showing Jeter clapping. But perish the thought.

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