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Thursday, November 11, 2004

Bingle Redux

Recently, I mentioned that in reading F.C. Lane's Batting I ran into the term "bingle". After having asked the eminent members of SABR about the origin of the term I posted the opinion that it was a contraction of the term "bunt single" and meant a slap hit, that being a style much in vogue in the deadball era. The term then became synonymous with "single" before dyeing out sometime in the 1950s.

Since then several more SABR members have chimed in. One thought that it was perhaps a blend of "bang" or "bing" and "single". However, now from Skip McAfee we have the following citations that seem to indicate that bingle was originally synonymous with single and perhaps later was used to refer to slap hits.

"Bingle is synonymous with 'base hit'. A player who bingles [note use as a verb] swats the ball safely to some part of the field where a biped in white flannel knickerbockers is not roaming at the immediate time" - Sporting Life, Dec. 15, 1900

"The big fellow grabbed three bingles in the afternoon contest, one of which was a smash over the fence that netted him a home run" - San Francisco Bulletin ,May 26, 1913

"Jack [Killilay] has dispensed eight bases on balls, hit one batter and permitted eight bingles, three of which were triples, in his stay on the mound" - San Francisco Bulletin, May 31, 1913

"In the third inning yesterday the first local batter up drew a bingle." - Youngstown Vindicator, July 29, 1898

And finally, to support the idea that bingle was used only later to refer to slap hits Walter K. Putney in Baseball Stories, the Spring 1952 issue noted that the term was "formerly the name for any kind of a hit", restricted the usage to a single of the "dinky" kind.

Also from 1913 Gerald Cohen's study of the San Francisco Bulletin noted the use of a) "bingle" as a verb (to hit or get a hit), b) "bingler" as a batter who gets a hit, and c) "bingling" as synonymous with "hitting".


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