Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch
cbertsch

The Slider

I learned something a little while ago, though I probably should have learned it long ago. See, I'd been under the impression that the baseball pitch now called the "slider" wasn't consistently given that appellation until the days of Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton. But I was reading Ross Macdonald's 1956 Lew Archer mystery The Barbarous Coast today and came across the following passage:
Sammy caught his breath. He liked to talk. He liked anything that interrupted his work. "I hope this isn't one of your fast ones, Lew."

"You know better than that. I lost my fast one years ago. I'm down to my slider."

"So are we all, boy. With bursitis yet. See you.
While the idea that the slider is a pitch that players resort to when they are past their heat-throwing prime doesn't seem to correspond to a contemporary understanding of its utility, it seems pretty clear that Macdonald wants readers to understand that Archer is "pulling a fast one" here by promoting that idea. That is, he pulls a fast one by making his fast one curve, however slightly.
Tags: literature, sports
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