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Classic Boston

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Murray: The summit of hustlery

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Murray: A star is born

Murray: The Leader of the Pirates

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Wednesday, May 9
Updated: May 15, 6:34 PM ET
Look for a shot Series if Sacks win
By Jim Murray
Special to

Editor's note: This column originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times on October 9, 1975.

Well, hang a light in the old North Church. Mount up, Paul Revere.

Listen, my children, and you shall hear. 'Twas the seventh of October in '75. And many a man is now alive. The fate of a pennant was riding that night.

The Red Sox are coming.

Put down the rocks in Southie. Disarm the Combat Zone. Scrape the oysters down at Jimmy's. Straighten the napkins at Locke-Obers. Put away the stereopticons on Beacon Hill. Pick up a wrap at Filene's. Get the Cabots to tell God. Tell those Communists in the Harvard Yard to cool it. Shutter Bedford and Lowell, empty Framingham. Tell every Middlesex village and farm. And Hingham and Swampscott and Dedham and Natick, the shoemakers at Brockton, the Finns and Fitchburg. "It's the Sacks!"

A cultural collision is certain. The United States vs. the Commonwealth. The language barrier is total. Accordingly, we are going to attempt again today to bridge the social and communication barrier between the hub of all culture, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and everybody west of Concord. The pronunciation is uncommon. Here then are a few of the proper Bostonianisms together with their translation into everyday American. Just remember, anything ending in "a" is pronounced "er" ("Philadelphier" or "Cuber"), whereas anything ending in "er" is pronounced "a" ("worka" for worker, for example).

"Sacks" -- The name of the home team, the Boston Red Sacks.

"Pack" -- Where they play their home games -- Fenway Pack.

"Hat" -- Vital organ. Fount of courage. See, "You gotta have hat."

"Pat" -- What you do with your hair. Also, a portion of. As, "He pats his hair in the middle," or "He gotta pat of the ball."

"Fist" -- The ordinal that comes before "second." The prime thing to do as, "Before you get in the World Series, fist you gotta win the playoffs."

"Tin" -- What you have to do at a crossroads. In Boston, they saw the Sacks "were able to tin the corner (pronounced 'cawnah') when they beat the Orioles in a doubleheader. They tinned it all around."

"Match" -- The month before April.

"Data" -- Female child.

"Am" -- What you pitch with. As in "Bill Lee has a good am."

"Ham" -- Do injury to. Be hurtful. As in "Johnny Bench could ham the Sacks with his bat."

"Shot" -- The position between third and second. Long version is "shotstop."

"Bawdy" -- Torso. As in "Yaz had a good bawdy with strong ams."

"Had" -- Difficult. As, "It's had to bunt on Tiant."

"Gad" -- Watch out for. As "You have to gad against the bunt with Griffey, or gad the line against Rose."

"Wick" -- What you do at the office or in the factory. Or on the mound in a tough game as in "Rick Wise is a had wicker."

"Whack" -- Base on balls.

Well, just remember, East or West, Lynn is best, on Beacon Hill they will consider that the Reds have arrived in town by "airship," and "Hat-fit" is the capital or Connecticut, "Cawd" is a cape, and "Peabody" is pronounced "Peeb-dee." And God is from Boston. By way of Newton.

This column originally appeared in The Los Angeles Times. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Jim Murray, the long-time sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times, won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1990. He died Aug. 16, 1998.