Now You Know

Why is the Cleveland baseball team called the Indians?

Controversy generally surrounds the choice of Native American names
for sports teams, but not in Cleveland. That city’s baseball team is
named in honour of one of their star players from the 1890s. He was
Alex Sophalexis, a Penobscot Indian so respected that in 1914, one
year after his death, Cleveland took the name “Indians” to commemorate
Alex and what he had meant to their team.

Why is the L.A. baseball team called the Dodgers?

Before moving to Los Angeles, the Dodgers were based in Brooklyn,
New York. The team had originated in the nineteenth century when,
because of the dangers of horse-drawn trolleys and carriages, the pedestrians
of Brooklyn called themselves “trolley dodgers.” Because most of
their working-class fans had to dodge traffic on their walk to the games,
the Brooklyn baseball team named themselves the “Dodgers” in their
honour. When the team moved to L.A. in the 1950s, they took the
name with them.

Why does the letter K signify a strikeout on a baseball scoresheet?

Early in baseball history, a man named Henry Chadwick designed the
system we still use for keeping score. Because his system already had an
overabundance of Ss scattered throughout his scoresheet — safe, slide,
shortstop, sacrifice, second base, etc. — he decided to use the last letter
of struck, as in, “he struck out,” rather than the first. And that’s why
K signifies a strikeout in baseball.

Why do we call someone who is left-handed a “southpaw”?

When the first baseball diamonds were laid out there were no night
games. To keep the afternoon or setting sun out of the batters’ eyes,
home plate was positioned so that the hitter was facing east, which
meant the pitcher was facing west. Most pitchers threw with their
right arm, but the rare and dreaded left-hander’s pitching arm was on
the more unfamiliar south side, and he was referred to, with respect,
as a southpaw.

Why is an erratic person called a “screwball”?

In baseball, when a pitcher throws a curveball, it breaks to a right-handers
left and a left-handers right. Early in the twentieth century, the
great Christy Mathewson came up with a pitch that broke in the opposite
direction and completely baffled opposing batters, who called it a
“screwball.” It became a word used to describe anything eccentric or
totally surprising — including some humans.

From The Book Titled "Now You Know" by Doug Lennox