This Week in Milford

June 26, 2014

Get to the Chopper!

Filed under: actual action, baseball, Gil Thorp, hideous scar faces, Marty Moon — teenchy @ 4:43 am

June 26, 2014


Baseball history lesson for today:  A ball batted sharply downward on or in front of home plate to produce a high bouncing grounder is often referred to as a “Baltimore Chop.” Ideally, a Baltimore Chop will bounce so high that the batter can leg it out for an infield single before the ball comes down and can be fielded. The Baltimore Chop was named because it was a favorite weapon of the Baltimore Orioles – not the American League/Memorial Stadium/Camden Yards/Natty Boh Orioles of today but the National League Orioles of the 1890s. Those O’s, a team packed with future Hall of Famers, raised the Chop and “small ball” (it was the deadball era after all) to an art form. Having very hard ground in front of the plate made a successful Chop more likely, so the Orioles supposedly had their groundskeeper mix the infield dirt around home plate with hard clay, pack it down tightly, and leave it unwatered.

While the Chop became part of a bag of tricks that led the Orioles to two NL championships during the decade, it didn’t keep them from being disbanded when the league contracted from 12 to 8 teams after the 1899 season.

Baltimore Chops are usually deliberate; given Conrad’s flashes of power over the course of the season I’m guessing this one is not. Of course if this results in a Milford win Lucky will be all “I meant to do that” in best Pee-Wee Herman fashion. What is deliberate is Lucky’s lovingly drawn crotchal area in P1 – shades of Luann camel toe there. Breaking the bat over his shoulder? Probably not deliberate either but holy crap, is that bat taped way up or what? Maybe it’s a special just-for-bunting bat.

Up in his crate, Marty gets taken by the Chop with such surprise that he, like Mia before him, has given himself a nasty shaving cut. I think Marty uses a Gillette Fusion but not a styptic pencil.




  1. Given the angle of reflection of that chopper, the catcher shouldn’t have too much trouble getting Lucky at first. This is Lucky we’re talking about, though. I’m at the edge of my seat waiting for the outcome.

    Comment by nedryerson — June 26, 2014 @ 6:40 am

  2. Looks like “Romero” will be the last new name introduced this season. Not bad…

    Comment by billytheskink — June 26, 2014 @ 7:11 am

  3. Love the parentheses under the ball in p2, indicating that (all evidence to the contrary) the ball, like the plot, is actually in motion. That’s the kind of artistry we’ve come to expect from Chief Whigham.

    What’s next? My guess is that the catcher wings the ball over the first baseman’s head, Lucky’s safe on the error and the winning run scores, and Lucky claims full credit for the whole schnozzle.

    Comment by John S. Walters — June 26, 2014 @ 8:00 am

  4. Nice history lesson on the Baltimore chop . Hawk Harrelson just talking about that in a recent Sox- Orioles game. Lucky will be safe but other team will argue he was running out of the baseline.

    Comment by Jive Turkey — June 26, 2014 @ 8:13 am

  5. Nice explanation of the Baltimore Chop indeed (next, the “Texas Leaguer.”) Baltimore baseball knew it had a good name in “The Orioles” and was not about to let it go. Yes, the League contracted and the Oreos were out, but the Baltimore team in the newly formed American League took the name in 1901. They played in Baltimore for two years then moved to New York and became the Highlanders and later the “Yankees” or something. The Baltimore Orioles thus went out existence until the early 1950s, when the St Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and changed their name, becoming the present franchise…

    By one pitch a day, golf draws near. Unfortunately the ball is now in play and golf is likely just around the goddamn corner.

    Comment by vaganova — June 26, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

  6. Thanks, JT and vaganova. I didn’t want to get bogged down in the AL Orioles (I) -> Highlanders/Yankees and Browns -> Orioles (II) histories, nor did I want to list all the HOFers on that 1890s NL Orioles squad. Now let’s go visit the Land of Pleasant Living and knock back a couple of Bohs with a guy who usually sells us breakfast cereal.

    Comment by teenchy — June 26, 2014 @ 4:30 pm

  7. Can’t resist: if we can have ads for Boh’s, we can celebrate New York’s Rheingold. Not to the tune of “Buffalo Gals” but to Waldteuffels’ “Estudiantina Walz.”

    Comment by vaganova — June 26, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

  8. Ah, Rheingold, the Mets’ beer. We’re gettin’ a very ’69 World Series vibe going here.

    Comment by teenchy — June 26, 2014 @ 6:37 pm

  9. Babe Ruth was signed by the Baltimore Orioles out of reform school from that area, which is where he grew up. They were a minor league team for 50 years in the International League as well, explaining how they were around in 1914, when he was old enough to play pro ball.

    Comment by robmize2013 — June 26, 2014 @ 6:54 pm

  10. I learned more from this post than I learned from years of reading GT. In fact, I think that reading this strip makes me dumber.

    Comment by Stevo — June 26, 2014 @ 10:19 pm

  11. Ah, the International League: Baltimore Orioles, Newark Bears, Rochester Red Wings, Montreal Royals, Havana Sugar Kings…

    Comment by vaganova — June 27, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

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