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Queer the pitch

Posted by Smokey Stover on March 29, 2006

In Reply to: Queer the pitch posted by Bob on March 29, 2006

: : I think to "queer the pitch" is; to hide (or to make queer) the way you hold a ball, which to a savy batsman, hints to the type of throw (or pitch). Either in cricket or baseball.

: In cricket, maybe. In baseball, no.

Hope I'm not queering anyone's pitch, but here's the OED version. "to queer the pitch: to interfere with or spoil the business (of a tradesman or showman) (cf. PITCH n.2 11a); now freq. to queer one's pitch (in more general use). Hence in similar phrases, as to queer the game, the job, etc.
1846 Swell's Night Guide 47 Rule iv... Nanty coming it on a pall, or wid cracking to queer a pitch. 1866 M. MACKINTOSH Stage Reminisc. vii. 93 The smoke and fumes of 'blue fire' which had been used to illuminate the fight came up through the chinks of the stage, fit to choke a dozen Macbeths, and{em}pardon the little bit of professional slang{em}poor Jamie's 'pitch' was 'queered' with a vengeance...."

The first two citations (of many) show that the expression was ancient by 1866, and probably by 1846 as well. To queer, the verb, means generally to spoil, to put out of order in some way. SS

See also: the meaning and origin of 'queer the pitch'.