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.

Recent entries:
“I designed a website for orphans. There isn’t a home page” (6/21)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/21)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/21)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/21)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (6/21)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from May 27, 2012
“You can’t tell the players without a score card”

"You can’t tell the players without a score card/scorecard” is what baseball vendors yelled in the 1890s and 1900s to sell their score cards for a nickel. “You can’t tell the players without a score card” has been cited in print since at least 1894.

The saying has been used in both business and government, with a literal or figurative “scorecard” often needed to identify the “players” in a transaction or agency or company.


Wikipedia: Baseball scorekeeping
Scorecards
Scorecards vary in appearance but almost all share some basic features, including areas for:

. Recording general game information (date and time, location, teams, etc.)
. Listing the batting lineup (with player positions and uniform numbers)
. Recording the play-by-play action (usually the majority of the scorecard)
. Tallying each player’s total at-bats, hits, runs, etc. at the end of the game
. Listing the pitchers in the game

Usually two scorecards (one for each team) are used to score a game.

LA84 Digital Library
6 October 1894, The Sporting Life, “Baltimore Bulletin,” pg. 8, col. 4:
“You can’t tell the players without a score card,” and the players can’t have a “good eye” with their little stomachs.

12 June 1900, Cedar Rapids (IA) Republican, pg. 6, col. 3:
Score cards, 5 cents. You can’t tell the players without a score card.

Google Books
July 1910, Hampton’s Magazine, “Excess Baggage” by Bruce Farson, pg. 98, col. 2:
Above him in the stands he heard the shrill calling of the vendors:

“Here’s where you get your soda, gents! Right off the ice! Soda pop, and ginger beer, gents!”

“Blue Valley Creamery buttered popcorn! It’s fresh, gents!”

“Score card? You can’t tell the players without a score card!”

27 April 1914, Lexington (NC) Herald, “The Same Old Stuff,” pg. 5, col. 4:
We’re waiting for the opening day.

And then we’ll hear the mayor say:

“Score card! Can’t tell the players wiithout a score card! Who wants a ham sandwich? Cigars!”

OCLC WorldCat
You can’t tell the players without a scorecard: A typology of horse players
Author: John Rosecrance
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Deviant Behavior, v7 n1 (198601): 77-97
Database: CrossRef

OCLC WorldCat record
Foreign Investment Law and the United States: You Can’t Tell the Players without a Score Card
Author: T Weiler
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: INTERNATIONAL LAWYER, 37, Part 2 (2003): 279-304
Database: British Library Serials
Other Databases: ArticleFirst

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (1) Comments • Sunday, May 27, 2012 • Permalink


Thank you for sharing a little bit of history about baseball. I didn’t know about where the saying “You can’t tell the players without a score card” came from ‘til now.

Posted by Sydney Phone Cards  on  05/29  at  09:58 AM

Page 1 of 1 pages