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Tales from The Baseball Thesaurus: Muffins

There are plenty of great names for baseball superstars—meal tickets or cash cows—but the more interesting names are for the worst players, the muffins, as Jesse Goldberg-Strassler explains in this week’s Tales from The Baseball Thesaurus.

If you are a player, you don’t want to be known by these names: a KP (can’t play), an NP (non-prospect) or a JAG (just a guy), among an abundance of derisive monikers. Yet these players get signed, and once they are they are riders of the lonesome pine, benchwarmers, bench polishers.

A great term, however, is a muffin, a term created way back in 1868 by the legendary Henry Chadwick: a player who is both practically and theoretically unacquainted with the game. Under the early management of the game, however, the muffins would actually play: after the regular competition, there would be a muffin game, to the delight of all. And the impact of the muffins continued to this day: when an error is made on an easy play, the fielder is said to have muffed the play.

Goldberg-Strassler shares his insights on the colorful patois of America’s Pastime in this weekly podcast. You can find The Baseball Thesaurus at

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RELATED STORIES: Tales from The Baseball Thesaurus: Baseball Cap; Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for April 21, 2021; Tales from The Baseball Thesaurus: Relief Pitcher; Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for April 14, 2021; Tales from The Baseball Thesaurus: Doubleheader; Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for April 8, 2021; Tales from The Baseball Thesaurus: Purpose pitch; Ballpark Digest Broadcaster Chat for April 1, 2021

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