GRAND SLAM/SWEEP--Dickson's Baseball Dictionary doesn't give a date for

"sweep." OED cites Wentworth and Flexner and gives 1960. As stated before,

a "sweep" was originally a "grand slam."

The Sporting News, 12 October 1939, pg. 3, col. 1, "BOMBERS' FOURTH

TITLE IN ROW WON IN SECOND STRAIGHT 'SLAM'" by Frederick G. Lieb, states "the

Yanks have won four straight--what is known in baseball as the Grand Slam."

In TSN of 18 October 1950, pg. 7, cols. 2-4, we have "Ninth Series

Sweep Without Loss, Six of Them by Yanks." In TSN of 13 October 1954, pg.


BIRD DOG--Dickson gives 1950, and Random House HDAS copies this. Perhaps

slightly earlier this year is TSN, 10 May 1950, pg. 19, col. 2, "Scouts Wait

Turn to See Kids Now, Says Vet Bird Dog."

PUSH/SHOVE, PULL/TAKE--An earlier discussion here traced "when push comes to

shove" to African-American usage, although I didn't find it used in the

"Willie Cool" series that ran in the Amsterdam News. A contrast can be found

in The Sporting News, 24 November 1954, pg. 4, cols. 1-3, "More 'Pull' and

Less 'Take' Brat's First-Base Recipe."

SPITTER--The origin of the spitball is disputed. This information is never

given. From The Sporting News, 23 November 1949, pg. 6, col. 5:

Spitball Was Originated by an Outfielder in '02

Return of the spitball to the major leagues would revive an age-old

controversy: "Who originated the troublesome pitch?"

The argument was settled in 1940, when George Hildebrand, former major

league umpire, told THE SPORTING NEWS:

"In 1902, I was playing for Providence. I was warming up alongside of

Frank Corriden, a rookie who was getting ready to pitch. He threw his slow

ball by wetting the tips of his fingers. In kidding I took the ball and put

a big daub of spit on it and threw it up to Pat McAuley, who was catching.

The ball took such a peculiar hop that all three of us couldn't help but

notice it. Later, I wound up with the Sacramento club and showed the pitch

to Elmer Strickfeit, who introduced it into the majors."

And what kind of a pitcher was Hildebrand, the originator of the

spitball? No pitcher at all. He was an outfielder!