Skip to main content

Walk Off Origins

The magazine Mental Floss does a feature in which they find the inauguaral references to phrases within the New York Times. That seemed like a cool thing to do, so I did it for "walk-off."

The problem is that entering that phrase didn't guarantee the results I wanted, but it provided some interesting findings, which I'll share here...

Indians Calmly Walk Off
February 19, 1887 edition

The Jicarilla Apaches left their reservation in southern New Mexico for one in southwest Colorado. "Trouble between the Indians and the settlers is anticipated," the newspaper reported.

Headline: Gen Walkoff Resigns As Sofia War Minister
January 3, 1929 edition

Apparently the Bulgarian Minister of War, General Walkoff (first name not given, unless it's 'General') and the premier of Bulgaria had a disagreement regarding Walkoffs feelings about a group of Macedonian revolutionaries (Walkoff liked them, the premier didn't). In return, Walkoff was named Minister to Rome. A google search found no further mentions of this man, whom I'd like to know more about.

Robins 5 in Ninth Beat the Cubs, 6-5
Four Passes in Last Frame Enable Robbie's Men Literally to Walk-Off With Game
May 24, 1925 edition

The Robins, later to be known as the Dodgers did stage an epic comeback to beat the Cubs. However, this was only referred to as a "walk-off" because of the number of bases on balls. As it turned out, the Robins were the visiting team.

One funny excerpt from the end of the piece: "The news system of three umpires at all games is a great idea," remarked one fan. "Two burglars and a lookout."

Skidding Yankees Lose Fourth in Row, 5-2
Senators Simply Walk Off With Game As Beall Mixes 9 Passes With 6 Hits
August 13, 1926 edition

And you thought today's media was harsh. Here's the lead to this piece from James Harrison.

"Behind the grotesque efforts of Walter Beall..."

The story goes on to tell how Beall once balked by throwing to first base, with runners on first and second, not realizing that Lou Gehrig was not holding the runner on. Grotesque indeed.

There's also the tale of Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt being upset about being pulled from a poor pitching effort recently. Hoyt was fined for issuing "harsh and insubordinate words" towards manager Miller Huggins. "The rate was $200 a gesture."

Wrote Harrison: "Huggins, as a matter of fact, should have been fined $200 for leaving Waite in as long as he did."

----

The May 8, 2005 edition of William Safire's "On Language" column in the Magazine section notes the first intended usage. We've referenced it previously, but will note it here too.

Dennis Eckersley coined the term in an article from the Gannett News Service on July 30, 1988: "In Dennis Eckersley's colorful vocabulary, a walk-off piece is a home run that wins the game and the pitcher walks off the mound."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mets Top 100 Home Runs: From No. 76 (Alex Ochoa) to No. 80 (Dom Smith)

In 2009, I did a project for my website, Mets Walk-Offs and Other Minutiae, celebrating the best home runs in Mets history. I selected the top 60 regular season home runs and the top 15 postseason home runs. The reason I picked 60 was because it represented the top 1% of home runs in Mets history (and 15 just felt right for postseason, giving us 75 overall).
This was fun to do, but it was imperfect. I had one egregious omission. I tended to favor oddities.
It’s time to give that project an update. And why not do it as a top 100?
The Mets have hit 7,671 regular season home runs. The top 80 represent about the top 1%. And the top 20 postseason home runs get us to an even 100 to celebrate.
Come along for the ride. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the reminiscing. 
Hopefully you’ll find it Amazin’.
80. Dominic Smith’s season-ending walk-off 
(Sept. 29, 2019 vs Braves) True story: I pulled into a parking spot right in front of my apartment as Dominic Smith came to bat. Rather than stay and listen to the ra…

Mets Top 100 Home Runs: From No. 16 (Carl Everett & Bernard Gilkey) to No. 20 (Tommie Agee)

In 2009, I did a project for my website, Mets Walk-Offs and Other Minutiae, celebrating the best home runs in Mets history. I selected the top 60 regular season home runs and the top 15 postseason home runs. The reason I picked 60 was because it represented the top 1% of home runs in Mets history (and 15 just felt right for postseason).
This was fun to do, but it was imperfect. I had one egregious omission. I tended to favor oddities.
It’s time to give that project an update. And why not do it as a top 100?
The Mets have hit 7,671 regular season home runs. The top 80 represent about the top 1%. And the top 20 postseason home runs get us to an even 100 to celebrate.
Come along for the ride. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the reminiscing. Hopefully you’ll find it Amazin’. 


The rest of the list can be found here.


20. Tommie Agee reaches new heights 
(April 10, 1969 vs Expos) Tommie Agee set the tone for a new beginning in the first week of the 1969 season. Agee had a dreadful 1968 that began in spring t…

Cliff Notes

Alright, so it's 2 days later and the challenge for me now, after reading through about a dozen game stories and listening to talk radio, is to provide a fresh perspective on walk-off #324. If you're going to be a serious reader of this blog, you know what happened already, so let's look at what made this particular walk-off stand out.

It would seem that the place to start is with the idea that everything broke just right on both sides of the ball. Particularly, I'm talking about Carlos Beltran's catch in the 7th inning, where he went over the center field fence to rob Jose Molina of a home run. Every no-hitter seems to have one defensive gem that makes it possible and perhaps that's true of great walk-off moments as well (We'll be looking into that!)

Marlon Anderson's home run required a remarkable combination of events. It was only the sixth inside-the-park home run at Shea Stadium by a Met and the first since Darryl Strawberry in 1989. It required that…