keep the position warm (1914/1976)

“Malone, a man who showed up in class style last season, and Hance will keep this position warm until the return of Capt. Farrell.” “Baseball at St. Thomas,” Minneapolis Tribune, March 15, 1914, Sports Section, p2

“He [Chuck Scrivener] was merely keeping the position warm for Tom Veryzer, until Tom is ready to play.” Jim Hawkins, “Utility Tiger Scrivener . . . ‘Hey, That Kid Can Play,'” Detroit Free Press, March 24, 1976, p1-D

“Meanwhile, the Tigers are now thinking in terms of trying to trade for a second baseman, possibly Lenny Randle or Doug Griffin, who can at least keep the position warm until minor league flash Sweet Lou Whitaker is ready.” Jim Hawkins, Detroit Free Press, “Free Agent Situation a Can of Worms,” November 28, 1976, p6-E

NOTE: The 1914 citation about the baseball team at St. Thomas College in Minnesota refers to a position being kept warm until another player returns from illness. Hawkins of the Detroit Free Press revived the term in 1976, first in March, in reference to one player holding a position until another returns from injury, and then, in November, in the sense listed in the Dictionary of holding a position while waiting for a prospect to be ready. There was one use of the term in that same sense in football in 1960.

No earliest use given in 2009 Dickson Baseball Dictionary