… 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?