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Muffin Matches--Low Skills, High Comedy

Salience Noteworthy
Tags Ball in the Culture, Newspaper Coverage
Location Greater New York City
City/State/Country: NYC, NY, United States
Game Base Ball
Immediacy of Report Contemporary
Age of Players Adult

[A] "THE MUFFIN MATCH.-- The match between the muffs of the Putnam and Excelsior Clubs, of Brooklyn...was, as we anticipated, an extraordinary affair, and productive of much amusement...People who can hold a ball (except by accident) when it is thrown to them, reflect upon their associate muffs, and don't deserve to have a place...we may mention one striking tableau...(Clark), having struck the ball, set out with all his might and main for the first base, which was carefully guarded by the ever-vigilant Andriese. Clark overran the base, and the ball overran Andriese; each, however, ran for the object of his pursuit, and Clark picked up the base...and held it aloft as a trophy of victory; while Andriese, quickly grabbing up the ball from the ground, turned a double somerset, and landing on one leg, projected the hand which held the ball gracefully toward the base, high in air, and called for judgment. Inasmuch as Clark, though under the base, had two fingers and a thumb over it, the umpire decided that he 'had the base', and wasn't out."

[B] "Muffin" was evidently new slang: 

"'MUFFIN.'-- Base Ball...bids fair to enrich the copious vocabulary of the English language by a new term-- the word 'muffin'. A 'muff'  (is)...a ball-player noted for catching anything but the ball...'Muffin" is an elongation of the word, and 'the muffins' is understood to be a collection of individuals, whose fingers are pretty much all thumbs-- in other words a collection of muffs...The word will find its way into more general acceptance and may hereafter puzzle some future philologist."


[A] New York Sunday Mercury, July 1, 1860

[B] Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug. 22, 1860


Interclub muffin matches were an occasional feature, mostly before the Civil War, between the larger clubs.

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Submitted by Bob Tholkes
Submission Note 3/21/2014


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