October 26, 2011
Pokey Reese, 1999 Topps
Today’s lesson from the Topps School of English & Grammar comes courtesy of Pokey Reese:
The oxymoronically-named Pokey
Let us, for a second, first assume, as I think this statement is implying, that “pokey” is a common baseball term for a player who hits singles and bunts a lot or something, as in:
Scout: Guy’s got decent speed, no doubt, but he’s a little pokey out there.
Normal person: “Pokey?” How do you mean?
Scout: Ya’ know … he pokes the ball around. Like, he pokes at it, with his bat, and it doesn’t go very far, which is bad.
Normal person: I have never heard of such a thing.
Player in question swings and misses, bat flies out of his hands and hits a popcorn vendor in the back.
Scout: Alright, he wasn’t pokey there, but you get what I’m saying.
Then, let us assume that Pokey Reese was not, in the traditional sense, very pokey at all! For example, instead of the “fact” that he hit 44 career home runs in eight years in the bigs, let us say that he hit 498 career home runs in only eight years in the bigs. Then, let us assume that “Reese” is French for “slugger,” in which case, yes—Pokey Slugger is indeed an oxymoron in the same way that jumbo shrimp is an oxymoron. Jumbo shrimp? Pfftt. That is crazy talk.
Wikipedia, anything to add?
Reese was nicknamed "Pokey" by his grandmother for his chubby infant complexion; she intended to call him "Porky", but Pokey stuck.
Grandma Reese: Look at that fat baby! I’m gonna call him “Pokey!”
Grandpa Reese: What in the heck does that mean, Louise? Pokey? He’s fat—not a baby who bunts all the time!
Grandma Reese: Oh, goodness! Did I say, “Pokey?” I meant to say, “Pokey!”
Grandpa Reese: Darn it, Louise!
Grandma Reese: I mean “Porky!”
Baby Reese: (From his crib) Po-key?
Grandpa Reese: Well, it’s too late now! We got ourselves an oxymoron!
This makes consecutive Porky-related posts, which ties the record for most consecutive themed posts (2), set back in February of this year when we explored hunted game. I mention this not to brag, but so that everyone knows how rare it is to witness so much Porky content in one place. What we're doing here ... it's kind of special.