Editor’s note: Answer Line is on vacation. Today’s questions and answers are from the greatest hits file.
QUESTION: I’m watching A&M play baseball, and I’ve noticed over the years that whenever there’s a strikeout, it’s designated with a backward K. I know what it means, but why a backward K? (Originally answered March 31, 2018)
ANSWER: It’s a little bit of baseball scorekeeping evolution, from a standard set by Henry Chadwick.
Chadwick was originally from England, but moved to the United States in 1837. He was a cricket reporter for the New York Times in 1856 when he witnessed his first baseball game.
He would go on to become what the National Baseball Hall of Fame describes as the “preeminent writer on baseball for over half a century.”
He helped America follow baseball easily, without having to attend games.
“In 1859, Chadwick formulated his first modern box score, in which he documented statistics like runs, hits, put-outs, assists and errors for the dominant Brooklyn Excelsiors club. Additionally, Chadwick recorded the pitchers’ strikeouts, denoting them with the letter ‘K,’” information from the Hall of Fame says.
Chadwick went on to have a far-reaching effect on baseball in other ways.
He died in 1908 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame 30 years later.
Cassidy Lent, reference librarian at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, told me there’s no person the Hall of Fame knows of who can be credited with the first use of the backward K. (The forward and backward K are used to denote different kinds of strikeouts.)
“This might have to do with the fact that there are several different ways to record strikeouts, with a K being the only standard,” Lent said. “The backwards K is not used by all scorekeepers and it probably did just evolve with scorekeeping.”
Q: I have noticed a number of streetlights out as I drive around Longview at night, on main streets such as McCann and Judson. I think the city should pay an employee to drive around at night every couple of months and report the lights that are out to SWEPCO. (Originally answered June 23, 2018)
A: The city does employ a version of your suggestion, but asks that residents also help identify lights that aren’t working.
“SWEPCO is generally responsive to streetlights which are reported to them and generally have them done within a week,” Assistant Public Works Director Dwayne Archer told me in an email.
City employees have performed “sweeps” in the past, driving around at night to identify streetlights that aren’t working.
“Currently, the on-call utility workers will monitor major corridors when not responding to emergency after-hours calls,” Archer said. “With the number of streetlights within the city, we do rely on the citizens to help us monitor this as well.”
You can report nonworking streetlights in a couple of ways. Call the public works office at (903) 237-1240, use the City Send App or call AEP Southwestern Electoric Power Co. directly at (888) 216-3523. Provide as much detail as you can about the light’s location, including, if possible, the pole number located on an oval tag about 5 feet off the ground.