What is a Hot Stove?
By Sean Power with no S
The “Hot Stove Season” is just heating up. If I had to say, I’d called it a “Slow Simmer” as it stands right now; mostly just because the World Series ended less than a week ago.
This piece is primarily sparked for two reasons: one of which, is the need to fill my life baseball when there isn’t much of it right now. There is, however, the AFL (Arizona Fall League) and various other winter leagues about to kick off. The second was by Jessica soon-to-be-Power No S. She asked, “Where does the term “Hot Stove” come from exactly? So, those two actually tie in quite nicely to one another. Her question upon more research sent me way down the baseball term rabbit hole. Again, tying in nicely to the “how do I fill the baseball void?”
At first glance, it seemed to just be one of those silly baseball terms –beital, a little more self-explanatory then most-- like dying quall, can of corn, Texas leaguer, seeing eye single, golden sombrero, Mendoza line, and! my own personal favorite, the Merkle’s Boner. We’ll come back to those at a later date. Right now, this is dedicated to the term Hot Stove’s origins.
The term was first used in the early days of baseball when there actually was a “Hot Stove Season”. It was called the “Hot Stove League” and would pertain to players getting ready for the start of a regular season by getting into shape for it. Interestingly enough (and I don’t know why I didn’t realize this sooner, but it makes perfect sense) it is the term that predates “water cooler talk”. Most of what I’ve read the term’s origins is right around World War II. I did also learn that the term was used for “hockey chatter” in between periods on Canadian radio in the 1930s and then became a pre-game segment on CBC Television in 1959.
Nowadays, there is a TV show on MLB Network and the term mostly pertains to the happenings at what is known as the “Winter Meetings”; which only the hardest of hardcore baseball fans (such as we RRBC-ers) would pay any attention to whatsoever. This event is where I would say 60% of baseball’s offseason happenings take place; i.e. trades and free agent signings. This is mostly because it is the only time of year where every team is in one place at time via GM or rep of some sort.
But we digress! The term’s origins aren’t exactly known as far as being able to pinpoint any time in which the term was first used from what I’ve read. Some say baseball writers who, like myself, shared the obsessions with the game and wrote long winter columns about the sport. Needless to say, it is basically a term that means let’s get together and sports talk; the sports fan equivalent to gossiping.