Sports Another Reason I love Ichiro
posted by September 18 at 8:35 AMon
… is the way he brings back forgotten baseball players from the past as he breaks their records.
George Sisler was first, when Ichiro broke his single-season hits record in 2004. Now, Wee Willie Keeler is back in the news, as Ichiro tied his record of eight consecutive 200-hit seasons. Keeler was the originator of the famous hitting maxim, “Hit ‘em where they ain’t” and is the reason why a foul bunt is a third strike while other foul balls are not. He could simply hit anything, and he’d foul off so many bunts in a row that they changed the rules of the game to stop him. His famous quotation is also truncated: he said “Keep your eye clear and hit ‘em where they ain’t,” and is probably (though not definitely) a dig at the habit of some players to show up for games hung over, not exactly clear-eyed.
He also brings to mind another aspect of baseball history and language: rude nicknames. No longer would a short player be nicknamed “Wee,” or a deaf one “Dummy,” or a Native American one “Chief.” The most egregious of such nicknames, though, goes to Ki Ki Cuyler, who stuttered, and was known as “Kiki” because when asked what his name was, he’d respond “Ki … Ki … Cuyler.” But since his given name was Hazen Shirely Cuyler, perhaps it was for the best.
Now back to your regularly scheduled Election and Pit Bull Slog coverage…