Not long ago I received an email from Tetsuro Tanino, a staffwriter for a Japanese newspaper, the The Tokyo Shimbun. He was “in the process of researching baseball shortstop and learned that Daniel Adams was the world’s first shortstop.”
He had asked to use Doc’s picture and just recently sent a copy of the article (see below) with a note (translated by an AI translator). He said that, “The article is about 170 years ago, there was a wonderful man named Daniel Adams in the United States, and he was the first person to defend the shortstop in baseball. Baseball is very popular in Japan, and we thought Adams was an essential figure for an article introducing the history of baseball, so we asked him to appear in the article. The article began by questioning why only the shortstop is called differently, while the other players are called first baseman and second baseman. The fact that shortstop was first an outfielder and that Adams was the first player to be called that is what American baseball historian Paul Dixon’s Dictionary of Baseball has to say. I, and my readers, are very grateful for the opportunity to study what Adams did.”
He concluded with “I would be happy if you could remember that there is a reporter in Japan who appreciated Adams.”
We will remember Tetsuro Tanino and are extremely grateful for the help increasing awareness of Doc Adams’ contributions among the baseball loving fans of Japan!
The following translation was generated by the newspaper’s website translation; therefore, it is representative but not a perfect translation.
Baseball Mystery Solving Why is Short Short Called “Short”?
There are words in the world that we use every day, but when we think about it again, we don’t know what they mean. So do baseball shortstops. Why is the position that protects between second base and third base called “short” = short =? When I explored the origin of the slightly mysterious name, I arrived at the forgotten secret of the birth of baseball.
■ No official materials exist
The official name of the short is “Short Stop”. But why is it called “short stop”? In the other infields, first base is first, second base is second, and third base is third. In order to find out the mystery, I visited the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Bunkyo Ward.
The place that is most familiar with baseball in Japan. I thought I would find out soon enough, but unexpectedly, “I can’t find any official document describing the origin of the name.” Then I
asked the home of baseball, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in the United States, and they gave me the same answer. The investigation ran aground from the very beginning.
In such a case, it is better to review from scratch. I read through materials about shorts provided by both Japanese and American Hall of Fame museums. Then I discovered an
astonishing fact. Shortstop was originally an outfielder, not an infielder.
■ The birth of the fourth outfielder
A baseball dictionary supervised by American baseball historian Paul Dixon contains the story of Daniel Adams, who belonged to the Knickerbocker club in New York. Early balls were rougher, lighter, and didn’t hit as far. Therefore, it is necessary to relay the batted ball that flew to the outfield, and Adams created a fourth outfielder as an assistant. that was the short.
In September 1845, the Knickerbocker Club is a famous team that created official rules that lead to modern baseball, such as change between offense and defense with three outs”. However, baseball around this time was different from today, such asthe one who scored 21 points first wins” and “the pitcher throws underhand and is easy to hit”. It was still
rough and the number of teams had not even been determined. Therefore, it seems that the new position was possible.
Interestingly, the shortstop changed his defensive position depending on the hitter. According to another study, infielders in this era played above the bases, but shortstops played between the second and third bases when batting right-handed, and between first and second bases when batting left-handed. He must be thinking of the odds. Since then, baseball has become a trend of nine people, and it spreads while repeating modifications.
■ Improved ball quality
Now, let’s get back to the name mystery. No official evidence has been found, but American baseball reporter Andrew Bagherie (48) speculates as follows.”The first shortstop was a relay. I called it a shortstop because ‘a person who stopped a return ball from the outfield at a short distance and played it.’ Once I was able to do so, I was judged to be in a convenient position to prevent ground balls, so
I changed from an outfielder to an infielder.”
I never thought that such an epic story was hidden in the baseball terminology used without any doubt. Takashi Toritani (41), who has been active in Hanshin and Lotte and holds the record for the longest streak of 667 full inning appearances as a shortstop in professional baseball, said, “I’ve never heard of it. But relay play is extremely important for shortstops. I will,” he replied with surprise.
The World Baseball Classic (WBC) will be held next month. I’m looking forward to seeing home runs by Shohei Ohtani and Munetaka Murakami, but it’s also interesting to go back to the
origins of baseball and pay attention to shortstop play.
Written by Tetsuro TaninoThe Tokyo Shimun (Japanese, English)
We are extremely grateful to Tetsuro Tanino for helping spread the awareness of Doc Adams’ contributions to the baseball loving fans of Japan!