Why Is It Known as A ‘Charley Horse’?

Why Is It Called A 'Charley Horse'?
Why Is It Known as A Charley Horse

Any time I have experienced the displeasure of enduring just one of those distressing leg muscle spasms recognized as a charley horse, I have normally questioned why it’s referred to as that (and also, “Why does this hurt so damn much?”).

Admittedly, the soreness is the dominant imagined, but even now, I’ve been left inquiring, “Who is Charley? What was the deal with his horse?”

It turns out there are a number of theories on the origin of the time period, but most lead to baseball.

In the 1880s, numerous publications referred to the term “charley horse” (normally capitalized as “Charley horse” or spelled “Charlie horse”) as something acquainted to baseball gamers, who reportedly utilized it to describe specific muscle mass accidents or pains. Two ballplayers, Jack Glasscock and Joe Quest, are each individual credited as the originator of the phrase.

A variation of the Glasscock tale seems in a July 1886 situation of a West Virginia newspaper known as the Wheeling Each day Intelligencer:

Base-ballists have invented a brand new ailment, referred to as ‘Charley-horse.’ It is composed of a peculiar contraction and hardening of the muscle tissues and tendons of the thigh, to which ball gamers are liable from the unexpected starting up and stopping in chasing balls … Jack Glasscock is said to have originated the name for the reason that the way the guys limped all around reminded him of an aged horse he when owned named Charley.

Other accounts suggest Glasscock adopted this phrase from his father, who took treatment of Charley. When the dad observed his son limping thanks to this type of leg injuries, he supposedly remarked, “Why, John, my boy, what is the matter you go just like the previous Charley horse?”

The Quest tale has a couple variants as nicely. Outfielder Hugh Nicol advised the Chicago Tribune in 1906 that Quest coined the phrase in 1882 although actively playing for the Chicago White Stockings.

Seemingly, the teammates used an off day viewing horse races on the South Side. According to a suggestion they’d gained the past night, a horse named Charley was basically confirmed to gain.

“The idea was touted as a cinch, it merely could not lose, and we all acquired on,” Nicol recalled, noting that every person positioned bets on Charley besides for Quest. The other players teased him for his option.

But Quest acquired the last laugh. Though Charley had a sizable guide from the beginning, he eventually stumbled and wounded himself heading around the final turn and shed. Quest allegedly advised his teammates “Look at your previous Charley horse now!”

Per Nicol’s account, he held up the ribbing the subsequent working day and even exclaimed, “There’s your old Charley horse ― he’d manufactured it all proper if it hadn’t been for that previous Charley horse” when a teammate strained himself in a identical way though jogging to next base.

An additional principle is similar to the Glasscock story. In June 1889, the Grand Rapids Day-to-day Democrat noted:

Many years back, Joe Quest was used as an apprentice in the equipment shop of Quest & Shaw in Newcastle, his father, who was 1 of the proprietors of the organization, had an old white horse by the title of Charley. Accomplishing use in pulling significant loads had stiffened the animal’s legs so that he walked as if troubled with strained tendons. Later on, when Quest became a member of the Chicago club, he was troubled, with many others, with a peculiar stiffness of the legs, which introduced to his thoughts the ailment of the previous white horse Charley. Joe reported that the ball gamers troubled with the ailment hobbled accurately as did the aged horse, and as no just one seemed to know what the issues was, Quest dubbed it ‘Charley horse.’

It is value noting that “charley horse” initially seemed to refer to far more major athletic accidents, rather than the painful but limited-lived spasms persons normally practical experience in the middle of the night. As a January 1887 write-up in the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York, famous, “Let a male endure from a legitimate attack of ‘Charley horse,’ and he is fortunate if he gets over it in a season, though it could cling to him by way of life.”

Yet another name origin principle is that charley horse comes from an aged horse named Charley that dragged machines at the White Stockings ballpark. Seemingly injured players would review their limping to Charley’s gait and known as a leg muscle mass injuries a charley horse.

Some have theorized that it was Quest particularly who manufactured that comment in reference to the horse whilst playing for the White Stockings.

Nonetheless an additional principle is that “charley horse” referred to pitcher Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn, who skilled terrible cramps though enjoying in the 1880s. The Washington Post posted this anecdote in 1907:

Just as Charley passed 3rd base a little something appeared to crack in his leg, and he arrived down to the home plate limping, and evidently in pain. [A teammate named] Nova, who had sprung from the players’ bench in exhilaration, rushed up to him. ‘What’s a mattah wit you, Charley Hoss?’ he shouted, combining Charley’s specified identify and nickname. ‘My leg is tied up in knots,’ reported Charley. And from that day to this lameness in baseball gamers has been identified as ‘Charley Hoss,’ or ‘Charles Horse.’

Others have presented an even less difficult rationalization. In accordance to a July 1887 version of the Boston Globe, “The name is claimed to owe its origin to the actuality that a participant troubled with it, when making an attempt to operate, does so a great deal after the fashion of a boy astride of a picket horse, in some cases known as a ‘Charley horse.’”

Though we could hardly ever know the genuine origin of the expression “charley horse,” just one detail is specified: They harm like hell, so stay hydrated and keep in mind to extend.

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