Informant: Matthew Henry McGeagh is my 19 year-old twin brother. He was born and raised in Pacific Palisades, California. His family history comes from Irish, Catholic, Jewish, German, and Swedish roots; with an emphasis on the Irish culture. He attended Catholic school from kindergarten until 12th grade and was raised Catholic by his family as well. He played many sports growing up and is very athletic. He now plays baseball at the University of Pennsylvania.
Matt said, ” If a pitcher is throwing really fast, then we say that the pitcher is throwing ‘Cheddar’ or that he is throwing ‘Gas’.”
My brother told me that “Cheddar” has come from from a long line of random verbal lore in the baseball community. Originally if a pitcher threw the baseball fast, people would say that he is “throwing hard.” That came from the idea that it is hard to hit a fast pitch. At some point in the creation of baseball’s array of sayings and word replacements, an announcer said that a particularly hard-throwing pitcher was “throwing the good cheese.” Where that came from is unknown, but it stuck and players would be caught saying “Man this guys is throwing cheese today,” and using it whenever it deemed appropriate. My brother said that when he entered high school was when he heard the adaptation of throwing cheese. This adaptation was “Throwing Cheddar” or “Tossing Ched,” simply using a specific type of cheese as a substitute. My brother said this one really stuck, and is one of the only terms that he or his teammates using to describe a really good fastball.
This type of baseball jargon allows for players and dedicated fans to separate themselves from those who only kind of know the sport, or from those who don’t at all. Most people would know what a fastball is just by the terms of the within the word, but very few would understand what “throwing cheddar” meant. This adds a little exclusivity to the game and those who really care and are involved in it.
- To see use of this particular speech, see bleow.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfLZIAgbE0I (:55- 1:05)