I Should Have Been Born in 1870
I'll let the REA blog describe it further:
"Reading this document started out very drab for a sentence or two, but then quickly got our attention as the language used became very unexpected for an official Major League baseball document, let alone one devoted to demanding players not use "any indecent or obscene word, sentence, or expression." It turned "blue," and, well, got "bluer."
This piece is ironic as it provides many examples of exactly the kind of "brutal language" that was being outlawed. In fact, it is so over the top that at first we thought it was some type of a joke. But as we examined the paper, found that this language did exist in the 1890s, considered that general rowdiness and the use of obscene language by players were big issues in baseball in this era, and noted that the accompanying items were all from the same era, we soon realized that that this was not a joke at all.
This was actually a fascinating and historically significant baseball document, distributed to National League players, that captures an aspect of professional baseball from the rough-and-tumble single-League 1890s era that is not well documented. Granted, in terms of language, it is also the most offensive official Major League baseball document that we have ever seen.
That makes it all the more amusing to us, but we also recognize that maybe this is a piece that isn't for the entire family. Truck drivers, yes, sailors, yes, ballplayers in the 1890s, obviously yes. But probably not everyone."
The document begins with (and was apparently inspired by) the following anecdote:
"In a contest between two leading clubs during the championship season of 1897, the stands being crowded with patrons of the game, a gentleman occupying a seat in the front row near the players bench asked one of the visiting players who was going to pitch for them. The player made no reply. He then asked a second time. The gentleman, his wife who sat with him, and others of both sexes, within hearing distance, were outraged upon hearing the player reply in a loud, brutal tone, 'Oh, go fuck yourself.'"
That is fucking awesome.
Other outlawed phrases included: "You cock-sucking son of a bitch", "You prick eating bastard", "You cunt lapping dog," and a litany of others.
Just thought one or two other of my fellow baseball history dorks might find it interesting.
And, of course, I'd be remiss not to include a link to the most informative video on Olde Tyme Baseball ever produced.
(Also, if Rolen thought La Russa's letter was too rough, imagine if TLR would have said: "A dog must have fucked your mother when she made you." Olde Tymes sound awesome.)
[have a great winterly weekend, boys and girls. enjoy the x-mas parties and pugilistic exhibitions.]