Bull pen
Does anyone know where the phrase bull pen came from? I'm assuming it's related to baseball...?!
In baseball, the area used by relief pitchers to warm up is the bull pen. There are two theories I've come upon as to why. One is that they resemble the enclosures that hold cattle and the other is that they (or perhaps one in particular) used to be located near a billboard featuring an ad' for Bull Durham tabacco.
"Another, perhaps somewhat more likely, theory comes not from the use of relievers, but rather from late-arriving fans. In the 1870s, and perhaps earlier, after the game had started tickets would be sold at a discount. These late arriving fans with cheap tickets would be herded into a roped-off, standing-room-only area in foul territory. Because the fans were herded in like cattle, the area was known as the bullpen. In 1877 the Cincinnati Enquirer used the term to describe this practice. The name for this area of foul territory stuck, and later when relief pitchers became part of the game, they used this area of foul territory to warm up. After that, the term bullpen stuck to relievers.

And yet another explanation, not even directly associated with baseball, may be the origin. The term bullpen was used as early as 1809 to refer to a stockade or jail. By 1903, O. Henry was using the term to refer to any waiting area. Perhaps the generic term for waiting area simply became a more specialized term when applied to the sport.

Almond suggests that the origin came because a pitcher who had been knocked out of the box had been "slaughtered," and that reliever was just another bull to be slaughtered too. This explanation seems to be a reach.

Finally, no less than Casey Stengel weighed in on the subject. Stengel claimed that it was called the bullpen because that is where pitchers would sit and shoot the bull. This is probably more indicative of Stengel's opinion of relief pitchers than of the term's origin. "


Lewis Joplin II
Here's what one reference says on the subject:

BULL PEN - "There are a lot of theories about the origin of 'bull pen,' - including the obvious one based on the resemblance between the cages where relief pitchers warm up and the enclosures where bulls are kept before being sent charging into the bull ring. However, we discussed this some years ago with our friend Moe Berg, the only life member of the Linguistic Society of America ever to play big-league ball. Matter of fact, Moe played fifteen seasons in the majors, mostly in the American League, winding up with the Boston Red Sox in the late 1930s, when he doubled in brass as a panelist on the 'Information, Please' radio show...We go into all this background to show that it's safe to say that Moe spent more time in 'bull pens' than any other catcher of his era. As a brilliant student of language (a Princeton Ph.D.), he had plenty of time to think about the origin of the name 'bull pen' while he was warming up the second-string pitchers. It was Moe's conclusion that none of the highfalutin theories of the word's origin was even close to the mark. The true explanation, he told us, is that in baseball's early days the bull pen was usually located in left field and standard equipment in ball parks of the period was a large billboard on the left field fence advertising Bull Durham tobacco." "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).

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