Posted by James Briggs on October 31, 2010 at 13:49
This saying is not widely known in the UK. However, today's Sunday Times published the following about the phrase's use and likely origin.
"Phrase meaning an easy catch. Appropriately enough, given that we are in the middle of the World Series, its origins tie in baseball. It was made popular by the Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken The Hawk' Harretson and the legendary baseball commentator Vin Scully. This Scully example from the 1950s places the phrase in context: 'On a 3-2 curve ball, Pee Wee Reese hit a pop fly [a ball that goes very high while not travelling very far laterally] into short right field — it's a can of corn.' The phrase originates in the 19th century and relates to a grocer's method of getting canned goods down from a shelf. Using a hooked stick, a grocer could tip a can so that it would fall for an easy catch in his apron. Why corn? One explanation is that in the early days of baseball, the outfield was called the 'corn field'. Another suggests that corn was considered the easiest 'catch' as it sold well and was stocked on the low shelves"