A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 06, 2012
“No one wants to quit when he’s losing and no one wants to quit when he’s winning”

"No one wants to quit when he’s losing and no one wants to quit when he’s winning” is a sports philosophy taken from poker (gambling). No one wants to leave a game while at a loss; however, a winner doesn’t want to stop playing, either. The saying is associated with two sporting greats—baseball player Jackie Robinson (1919-1972) and NASCAR driver Richard Petty (born in 1937).

Carl Rowan’s book, Wait Till Next Year; The Life Story of Jackie Robinson (1960), is the earliest source of the Robinson quote:

“Robinson laughed as he said to himself: ‘Baseball is just like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.’”

Richard Petty’s quote was cited in a 1981 newspaper:

“No one wants to quit when he’s losing and no one wants to quit when he’s winning.”


Wikipedia: Jackie Robinson
Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American baseball player who became the first black Major League Baseball (MLB) player of the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. As the first black man to play in the major leagues since the 1880s, he was instrumental in bringing an end to racial segregation in professional baseball, which had relegated black players to the Negro leagues for six decades. Signs of racial discrimination in professional sports continued to decline over the latter half of the twentieth century. The example of his character and unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation, which then marked many other aspects of American life, and contributed significantly to the Civil Rights Movement.

Wikipedia: Richard Petty
Richard Lee Petty (born July 2, 1937) is a former NASCAR driver who raced in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Era and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. “The King”, as he is nicknamed, is most well known for winning the NASCAR Championship seven times (Dale Earnhardt is the only other driver to accomplish this feat),[1] winning a record 200 races during his career, winning the Daytona 500 a record seven times, and winning a record 27 races (ten of them consecutively) in the 1967 season alone. (A 1972 rule change eliminated races under 250 miles (400 km) in length, reducing the schedule to 30 [now 36] races.) Statistically he is the greatest driver the sport has ever seen and is one of the most respected figures in motorsports as a whole. He also collected a record number of poles (127) and over 700 top-ten finishes in his 1,185 starts, including 513 consecutive starts from 1971–1989. Petty is a member of the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Hall in 2010.

Google Books
Wait Till Next Year;
The Life Story of Jackie Robinson

By Carl Thomas Rowan
New York, NY:  Random House
1960
Pg. 274:
Robinson laughed as he said to himself: “Baseball is just like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.”

22 May 1981, The Register (Santa Ana, CA), “Vintage performers: older, better, richer, wiser—but faster?” by John Hall, pg. E1, col. 1:
Richard Petty, 43, still the king of the stock car road after winning the Daytona 500 this year, on hanging in: “No one wants to quit when he’s losing and no one wants to quit when he’s winning.”

Google Books
The Best Things Anybody Ever Said About Sports, Management, & Marketing
By Louis E. Boone and David L. Kurtz
Australia; United States: Thomson South-Western
2006
Pg. 176:
“No one wants to quit when he’s losing and no one wants to quit when he’s winning.”
Richard Petty (b. 1937)

Google Books
Baseball’s Greatest Quotations (Rev. Ed.):
An Illustrated Treasury of Baseball Quotations and Historical Lore

By Paul Dickson
New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers
2008
Pg. 455:
ROBINSON, JACKIE
“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.”
-- Quoted in Giants of Baseball by Bill Gutman

Google Books
Book of African-American Quotations
Edited by Joslyn Pine
Mineola, NY: Dover Publications
2011
Pg. 157 (Jackie Robinson):
Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.

Google Books
The Great Book of NASCAR Lists
By John Roberts
Philadelphia, PA: Running Press Book Publishers
2012
Pg. ?:
Richard Petty. “No one wants to quit when he’s losing and no one wants to quit when he’s winning.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Saturday, October 06, 2012 • Permalink