Baseball gave us the word “jazz?” Cool.

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This is from a couple of weeks ago in the Boston Globe, but I’m just seeing it now via Baseball Think Factory. File it under Stuff You Never Think About But Which is Nonetheless Cool: A hundred years ago a minor leaguer basically invented the word “jazz.”

It happened when one Ben Henderson, a pitcher for the 1912 Portland Beavers, told a Los Angeles Times reporter that he had a new curve ball he called a “jazz ball.”  It hit the paper on April 2nd with the headline “Ben’s Jazz Curve.” And then:

In a relatively recent surprise for etymologists, the latest historical research has located his quote as the first known use of the word “jazz”–which in a few short years would bounce from West Coast ball fields to the nightclubs of Chicago and beyond. Ultimately, it would become the name for a distinctly American music–and a term so monumental in its impact that the American Dialect Society in 2000 named it the Word of the Century.

Ain’t that a kick in the head?

Indians sign Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal

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The Indians have signed free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league deal. The pact is pending a physical.

Cabrera, 33, went unsigned this past offseason after putting up a season of .285/.324/.423 with 17 homers and 85 RBI with the White Sox and the Royals.

Cabrera will report to Columbus once he passes his physical and, according to Paul Hoynes, there are no guarantees being made to him that he’ll get playing time. That said, the Indians aren’t getting much outfield production from anyone besides Michael Brantley, and Cabrera’s status as a switch hitter would give Terry Francona some flexibility, so it would not be shocking to see him on the big club after some reps in the minors.