K is for Strike-Out

                                        … A-Z Blogging in April
By Jeff Salter 

            As sometimes happens these days, when I saw my next letter was ‘K’ … I drew a blank.  In fact you might say that I struck out.  LOL.
            One of the most notable K words I know is not even a word.  Just the letter ‘K’ … and it means the batter is out on strikes. 

K is for Strike-Out
            But I didn’t know why ‘K’ meant the pitcher struck out the batter.  So I checked.  Several sources had much the same information.  ‘K’ is credited to Henry Chadwick (“one of the first newspaper journalists to take a literary interest in baseball”) who, in the late 1850s, “built upon a scoring technique devised by fellow New York journalist M. J. Kelly”.  [Interestingly, Chadwick is also considered the originator of the box score and the baseball scorecard.  Furthermore, Chadwick was the first to use numbers to designate player positions (e.g., shortstop = 6).]
            The most pertinent info is from Wikipedia:
            The letter ‘S’ was used for ‘sacrifice’ so Chadwick decided to use ‘K’, being the last letter in ‘struck’ [which was then in more common use than the term ‘strikeout’]. 
            Those unaware of Chadwick’s contributions have speculated that ‘K’ was derived from the 19th century pitcher Matt Kilroy’s last name. Kilroy did much to raise the prominence of the strikeout, setting an all-time record of 513 strikeouts in 1886, only two years after overhand pitching was permitted. Kilroy’s record, however, is forever confined to [the] era [when] the pitcher’s mound * * * was only 50 feet from the batter [rather than its current distance of 60.5 feet]. The modern record (1901–) is 383 strikeouts, held by Nolan Ryan [which is] one better than Sandy Koufax’s 382.

K is for KA-BAR
            Formerly a single product line of Union Cutlery, KA-BAR has since become the company’s name.  The knife which made that company most famous was introduced in 1942 as the USMC Mark 2 Combat Knife and the USN Mark 2 Utility Knife.  During WW2, three other companies manufactured the Mark 2, including Camillus (making over one million), Robeson, and Pal.
            I’m indebted to Wikipedia for an explanation why a Mark 2 from ANY of those companies would likely be called a KA-BAR:
            “Of the four wartime manufacturers, Union Cutlery Co. was the sole wartime knife manufacturer to stamp all Mark 2 Combat/Fighting Utility knives they made for the military with their proprietary trademark – ‘KA-BAR’ – on the blade’s ricasso, and was second only to Camillus in terms of production, producing about 1 million knives during the wartime contract. Because of this prominent trademark, Marines as early as 1944 began universally referring to their new combat knife as the KA-BAR, regardless of manufacturer.”
            The Mark 2 also saw service during Korea and Vietnam and (since WW2) has been manufactured by Ontario, Conetta, and Utica.  Even Case finally marketed the knife, though their Mark 2, introduced in 1992, was actually manufactured by Ontario.

Other ‘K’ Words
            Kiss is a very nice K-word.  One of the best advertising slogans belongs to Kay Jewelers, with their ad’s signature, “Every Kiss Begins With K…”
            What’s so ‘special’ about Special K cereal?  It’s a ‘K’ word … kinda.  [Not very tasty, though.]
            My wife loves our Keurig hot beverage system, so an article about ‘K’ words could not be complete without citing those expensive ‘K-Cups’.
            ‘K’ is often used in texting as an abbreviation of ‘okay’ or ‘OK’.

 Question:  What are some ‘K’ words which popped into your mind?

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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41 Responses to K is for Strike-Out

  1. Tonette says:

    Very creative, Jeff…Kind of reminds me of the line from the show”Monk” where the police lieutenant was spelling something out to the captain and said, “T, as in tsunami”.( Ithink I might try that when spelling out my name;I’m tired of saying “Tom”).
    However, “Kindness” and “Kindred” comes to mind right away, which are traits I have seen a great deal of here, at this blog… kindness and kindred spirits.


  2. You’ve educated me today, Jeff. And my K word *has* to be kids, LOL. Most days I feel like I’m trying to navigate a disturbed anthill with all these young ‘uns under foot!


  3. jeff7salter says:

    In the interest of full disclosure, let me add this bit about the baseball term:
    A different source maintains that Chadwick OFTEN used the final letters of baseball terms for his abbreviation system. [Many of those terms have dropped out of MLB vocabulary, and are virtually unknown today]. That source goes on to say, “The common view that the K was used because the S was taken (by Sacrifice, Stolen Base, or Single) appears to be erroneous.”


  4. K is a tough one because a lot of the words with the “K” sound actually start with C. But at the risk of being censored, my favorite is KICKASS. I took a writing class on Kickass Heroines and loved it. Strong women as main characters interest me so much more than the helpless, simpering maiden. One of my least favorite is KNOCKOUT. Growing up as a nerd, the term was never used to describe me and I tended to avoid girls who had that label. KETCHUP is my husband’s favorite vegetable. And the females in my family each have a KIMONO to remind them of their heritage.


  5. Fun, Jeff!
    I’m very partial to the letter K as it is the start of my name and my sister’s name. As kids, my mom would get us confused and call out, “K…K!” before she figured out which one she wanted.

    Kittens are pretty cute too.


  6. Lee Sloan says:

    HEY Jeff- How ’bout the now generic “Kleenex”. A trademarked brand name of Kimberly-Clark (there it is again-that pesky “K”), yes, but it has become THE term for all tissue of this type, regardless of manufacture…& an absolute necessity during this alergy season…LOL
    -Lee Sloan


    • Lee Sloan says:

      “allergy”, actually…this blog needs a ‘spel-chek’ ;-D


    • jeff7salter says:

      Right you are, Lee. Kleenex is to tissue as KA-BAR is to military knives.
      And Xerox is to photo-copying.
      But I thought of you when I was writing about baseball…since you were bat boy for Tulane’s team. Many seasons ago, of course.


  7. Cara Cooper says:

    Hi Jeff, K is a pretty difficult letter – I play Scrabble with my aged Mum and my heart always drops when I pull out a K. How about knot as in love knot which always reminds me of the Elizabethan knot gardens where box plants traditionally are cleverly pruned using topiary to create fabulous patterns. Apparently they were inspired by needlework patterns. I like Kitten, made me smile! We also have chocolate bars in the UK, don’t know if you have them in the US called Kit Kats which are delicious and reflect my obsession with chocolate at present as I’m on a diet!


  8. lisa orchard says:

    Very interesting post! I would have to agree with Sarah though, K is for kids. It seems I’m always chasing them, feeding them, or cleaning them, or cleaning up after them!! LOL! Also the K for strikeout brought me back to my Highschool Softball days!! They were fun!! 🙂


  9. What a fun idea to blog using the letters of the alphabet! Inmy genre of books, I’d have to bring up the word KILL- it’s what a lot of my characters do when they’re not busy falling in love. HA! Jennifer might like a guy in a kilt and you might be attracted to a women in a kimono! K is a challenging words and the only other two I can think of is keystone comedy and the KKK- although I’d rather only think about them as bad guys ina novel!


  10. jbrayweber says:

    Kinley, my daughter’s name. Kinky, because that explains some of my love scenes. Kill, because someone has to die in my books. Knight, Kangaroo, Kool-Aid (don’t drink it!) come to mind, too.



  11. jbrayweber says:

    And yeah, I like guys in kilts. :-0


  12. Sug Grant says:

    I like getting “k’s” when playing scrabble or words with friends as in Words it is worth 5 points. Love putting that “k” on a triple letter or triple word score. I think the fruit kiwi has such a neat name for a plain on the outside fruit, but so pretty on the inside. K is the first letter of many other strange things such as kangaroo, knickknack, knock-knees, knitting, kosher, kooky, ka-bob. An then there is Kickapoo Indians, kidney which is hard to live without, a Kitkat candy bar which makes life better and knowledge which we all need,


  13. Tonya Kappes says:

    K for KAPPES!! Can’t go wrong with that!!! BUT since I write mystery. . .knifing, Kabam!, karate (bc my heroine loves to chop people!), keyhole (bc my heroine sneaks around looking in things), KLUES (or is that with a c?), kickbox, Kid (bc I have a million at home in real life), kidnapper, should I KEEP going?


  14. Tonette says:

    Sue,Jeff, I actually knew a woman who was half-Kickapoo.She had known Geronimo at Ft.Sill when she was a child.
    Sarah,KIDS! It’s been Spring Break here for two weeks…Grandma hasn’t gotten much accomplished, (except the Easter spread).


  15. Sherry Gloag says:

    Interesting Jeff, I chose 3 for ‘K’ Know, Knot, and Kernal, and still haven’t a clue about tomorrow’s letter.


    • jeff7salter says:

      Hey, those are super K words, Sherry.
      I have two good ones for tomorrow, but Friday belongs to Lynn. Ha.
      If you promise not to tell Lynn, my words are Library & Literacy. And I’ve worked in both.


  16. Anne Kemp says:

    I have to jump on the K train with a “K for Kemp!!” I love the letter the K! Fun blog post using this letter 🙂



  17. crbwrites says:

    Speaking of Kilroy–remember all those Kilroy was here symbols? In the era before gang signs? What was that about?


    • jeff7salter says:

      Good one, Chris.
      There’s a dozen versions of the origin of Kilroy’s symbol. The one I believe is that a Mr. Kilroy was a shipyard inspector who checked the welds and other joinings inside the bowels of ships as they were being built. As he ‘signed-off’ on each one, he’d scrawl his name “kilroy” somewhere on the interior bulkhead of that particular space /compartment / area. Most of those places were later covered by the interior of the ship and were not visible until sailors began making repairs at sea. They’d go into those dark recesses and find Kilroy’s name. So the buzz became “Kilroy was here”. It spread to the other branches of military. I don’t know when the face was added, but that sounds like an Army addition to me. Soon, military guys EVERYWHERE were scrawling that face and slogan on walls all over Europe and trees all through the pacific.


    • Tonette says:

      Yeah, it started as an inspection thing and then just went on as a joke all over during and right after WWII… it got very tiresome, according to my mother, who worked in a war plant.(I had asked “What the heck was that all about ” when I was a kid). You stirred up a memory or two. One of my friends had very conservative parents,(of course, for the most part, early 1960’s suburbia was pretty uptight, at least, superficially), but among all the things in their curio cabinet was a little plastic figure of a very pregnant woman with the phrase, “Kilroy was here”. It took me a while to get it; then it shocked me, then I was bemused.


      • crbwrites says:

        How funny! In the 60s, they frequented public restrooms. I think the symbol came back via TV as Tim Allen’s neighbor–the one over the fence whose full face was never seen.


  18. Big fan of K-cups. Not so much the Kay Jeweler’s tag line. LOL!


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