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Wikipedia: Charley horse
Charley horse is a popular colloquial term in Canada and the United States for painful spasms or cramps in the leg muscles, typically lasting anywhere from a few seconds to about a day. It can also refer to a bruise on an arm or leg and a bruising of the quadriceps muscle of the anterior or lateral thigh, or contusion of the femur, that commonly results in a haematoma and sometimes several weeks of pain and disability. In this latter sense, such an injury is known as dead leg. In Australia it is also known as a corked thigh or corky. It often occurs in contact sports, such as football when an athlete suffers a knee (blunt trauma) to the lateral quadriceps causing a haematoma or temporary paresis and antalgic gait as a result of pain. Another term, jolly horse, is used to describe simple painful muscle cramps in the leg or foot, especially those that follow strenuous exercise.
Wikipedia: Joe Quest
Joseph L. Quest (November 16, 1852 – November 14, 1924) was an American professional baseball player from 1871 to 1892. He played 10 seasons in Major League Baseball (principally as a second baseman) for seven different major league clubs. His longest time with one team was with the Chicago White Stockings from 1879 to 1882, a stretch that included National League pennants in 1880, 1881, and 1882. He also appeared in parts of the 1883 and 1884 seasons with the St. Louis Browns and with the Detroit Wolverines in 1883 and 1885.
Although accounts vary as to the phrase’s origin, Quest is perhaps most remembered for reportedly coining the phrase “Charley horse” to describe a sudden leg cramp or sprain.
Quest has been credited in several accounts with coining the phrase “Charley horse” to describe a sudden leg cramp or sprain. In The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, baseball historian Bill James relies on an origin story set forth in multiple accounts published in 1906, and attributed to former outfielder Hugh Nichol. According to that version, Quest and several other members of the White Stockings spent an off day at a horse race on the south side of Chicago. The players had received a tip that a horse named “Charley” was a “sure thing” in one of the races. All of the players, except Quest, placed bets on Charley. The horse took an early lead in the race but pulled up lame around the final turn. Quest, who had been teased for not betting on the horse, reportedly yelled to the other players, “Look at your Charley horse now.” The next day, while running to second base, Chicago outfielder George Gore pulled up with a strain, much as the horse had done. The incident is reported to have prompted Quest to proclaim, “There’s your old Charley horse.” From that time, the players began using the term to refer to a sudden leg cramp or strain.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
Charley-horse | charley horse, n.
Etymology: Origin uncertain.
N. Amer. slang.
Stiffness or cramp in the arm or leg, esp. in baseball players.
1888 M. J. Kelly ‘Play Ball’ 21, I could dance in those days, because, you see, I never was bothered with ‘Charley Horse’.
1889 Cincinnati Comm. Gaz. 17 Mar. 15/1 Mac was affected with a ‘Charley-horse’ and that ended his ball~playing for 1888.
21 March 1886, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), “Base Ball,"pg. 10, col. 1:
“Ely is still suffering from a sore arm, and Reccins has what is knwon by ball players as “Charley Horse,” which is a lameness in the thigh, caused by straining the cord.
14 July 1886, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), pg. 6, col. 3:
SEVERAL years ago, says the Chicago Tribune, Joe Quest, now of the Athletics, gave the name of “Charlie horse” to a peculiar contraction and hardening of the muscles and tendons of the thigh, to which base ball players are especially liable from the sudden starting and stopping in chasing balls, as well as the frequent slides in base running. Pfeffer, Anson and Kelly are so badly troubled with “Charley horse” there are times they can scarcely walk. Gore had it so bad he had to lay off a few days, and is not entirely free from it now. Williamson, too, has had a touch of it.
(Reprinted in Chronicling America on July 29th.—ed.)
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
14 July 1886, The Evening Telegram (New York, NY), “Baseball Notes,” pg. 2, col. 5:
Several of the Chicago players have been suffering from contraction and hardening of the muscles of the thighs, which they call “Charlie Horse.”
23 July 1886, Wheeling (WV) Daily Intelligencer, pg. 2, col. 2:
Base-ballists have invented a brand new disease, called “Charley-horse.” It consists of a peculiar contraction and hardening of the muscles and tendons of the thigh, to which ball players are liable from the sudden starting and stopping in chasing balls. Pfeffer, Anson, Kelly, Gore, Williamson and others have been suffering from it more or less, some of them so badly that at times they couldn’t walk. Jack Glasscock is said to have originated the name because the way the men limped around reminded him of an old horse he once owned named Charley. At this rate, some imaginative bat-swinger will soon add “robust sow” and “trembling equine” to the list of diseases, probably because the way some of the players swill beer and booze reminds him of a “sow” he once owned and the delirium after-effects, of a horse with the blind staggers.
LA84 Foundation Digital SPorts Library
4 August 1886, The Sporting Life, pg. 4, col. 5:
Harry Stovey is suffering from “Charley-horse”—a contraction of the muscles—in both legs and can only run with difficulty. He is in poor condition and would be given a rest if the club could spare him.
8 August 1886, The Enquirer (Cincinnati, OH), “Notes,” pg. 10, col. 2:
STOVEY has the “Charley Horse.”
LA84 Foundation Digital Sports Library
18 August 1886, The Sporting Life, “New York Chat,” pg. 1, col. 6:
Roger Connor is again troubled with Charlie-horse, and is quite lame.
LA84 Foundation Digital Sports Library
5 November 1898, The Sporting Life, pg. 4, col. 2:
THE TERM “CHARLEY-HORSE”
Original With the Once Noted Player, Joe Quest.