Where Did the Term “Rhubarb” For a Baseball Fight Come From and What Does the Word Mean?

Legendary Brooklyn Dodgers broadcaster Red Barber first used rhubarb on-air to describe a baseball altercation in 1943.

He said he heard it from reporter Garry Shumacher, who picked it up from another reporter, Tom Meany, who learned it from an unnamed Brooklyn bartender.

The anonymous bartender used it to describe an incident in his establishment when a Brooklyn fan shot a Giants fan.

And that’s how rhubarb became baseball slang for a fight or argument.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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