Speed Merchant (Pitcher) (1897)

It is hard to understand how he escapes when the big league clubs hit him all over the lot. The trouble is that te players try to kill the ball. If they would try to meet it without any great force they would register more base hits off the speed merchant.Detroit Free Press, June 5, 1897, p6

  • This refers to Bill Hutchison of Minneapolis in the Western League. He had pitched several years for the Cubs in the National League and was with the Cardinals earlier in 1897.

Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
1ST USE. 1905. “The ‘speed merchants’ who wind up their ‘wings’ and take numerous swings before cutting loose to the batter” (The Washington Post, March 16; Peter Morris).