Dr. K

KI've mentioned several times the joy baseball brought me as a young man. I followed my Blue Jays religiously and could ring off their stats on demand. I also followed the other Major League teams and, like many my age, became enamoured with a young pitcher they called Dr. K.

Dwight Gooden was Dr. K and he burst on the scene with the New York Mets finishing 17-6 in his rookie season as a 19 year old. His major league-leading 276 strikeouts set a rookie record. I remember watching Mets games on TV when Dr. K was pitching as the fans brought out the big "K" after each Gooden strike out.

I always wondered why we score the strike out as a "K" but at the time I was so curious about it there was no Internet to surf so I could quickly find an answer. Going to a library and trying to find information of that nature was such a pain in the ass I never bothered. Now, with the world wide web at my fingertips, learning why a strike out is scored as a "K" is simple.

So, twenty years after I first pondered this question, I learned that we owe the "K" to an early sportswriter named Henry Chadwick. Chadwick already had "S" slated for "sacrifice." So a strikeout became a "K", after the last letter of the word "struck." The reason a strikeout isn't a "T" is because "struck" was the preferred term of the day.


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