A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 03, 2010
“Right down Broadway” (straight and true, said of a baseball pitch)

"Right down Broadway” was a baseball expression of announcer Arch McDonald (1901-1960), meaning a strike pitch right down the middle of the plate. Broadway, from the foot of Manhattan to the theatres in mid-Manhattan, is a famous, straight street. (Broadway above midtown Manhattan is less straight and less famous.) “Right down Broadway” escaped baseball usage to describe a football field goal straight through the uprights, or a golf ball driven straight down the fairway, or a bowling ball thrown straight down the lane.

The term “right down Broadway” is cited in print since at least 1939, although Arch McDonald is said to have used it on the radio a few years earlier in the 1930s. “Right down Broadway” is still spoken today, often slightly changed to “straight down Broadway.”

SABR.ORG: The Baseball Biography Project
Arch McDonald
by Warren Corbett
Arch McDonald was the first radio voice of the New York Yankees, New York Giants and Washington Senators, where he called games for 23 seasons.
McDonald made a signal contribution to pinstripe lore when he dubbed Joe DiMaggio “The Yankee Clipper” after the Pan Am Clipper, the first transatlantic airliner. But his stay in New York was short and unhappy. His low-key, down-home style simply did not play. McDonald had a repertoire of metaphors to rival Red Barber and his “catbird seat.” Runners on base were “ducks on the pond”; a perfect strike was “right down Broadway”; a double play was “two dead birds.” While fellow southerners Barber and Allen became institutions in New York, McDonald failed miserably. He could not match their vivid play-by-play descriptions. He was later called, perhaps sarcastically, “Master of the Pause.” He called the pitch, then waited silently for the next one.

Google News Archive
10 August 1939, Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), “From the Press Box” by John Lardner, pg. 12, col. 5:
The next pitch is right down Broadway.

Google News Archive
18 July 1941, Miami (FL) Daily News, “Riddle Rides Out Storm For 11th Straight Win” by George Kirksey, pg. B2, col. 6:
He fooled the veteran with fast ball right down Broadway.

Google News Archive
7 October 1941, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Owen Gets Blame, But Casey Should Share It For Fourth Game Defeat” by George Kirksey, pg. 11, col. 3:
Instead Casey came right down Broadway with a fast ball.

Google Books
The Broadcasters
By Red Barber
New York, NY: Dial Press
Pg. 106:
New York heard “the ducks are on the pond” (meaning men on base) and “right down Broadway” (a pitch across the center of the plate) a few times and resisted somewhat.
(Arch McDonald—ed.)

12 September 1971, New York (NY) Times, “How Mel Allen Started A Lifelong Love Affair” by J. Anthony Lukas, pg. SM73:
Arch McDonald, who started his broadcasting career in Chattanooga, was known as “the Old Pine Tree” because of his penchant for quoting a hillbilly ballad, “They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree.” His deep, slow drawl and few words also earned him the sobriquet “maste of the pause.” The phrases he used often had a tangy flavor: “the ducks are on the pond” meant runners were on base, and “right down Broadway” meant a pitch across the center of the plate. But, a bit too folksy for New York tastes, McDonald lasted only a year here.

21 February 1979, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Delicate Diplomacy” by jim Murray, pt. III, pg. E1:
Every shot was right down Broadway.
(A golf shot—ed.)

11 July 1990, Deseret News (Salt Lake City, UT):
“It was right down the middle of the plate, right down Broadway.’’ Dibble said.

19 July 1991, Newsday (Long Island, NY), pg. 182:
“It was a 2-0 fastball, right down Broadway.”

25 August 1991, Boston (MA) Herald, “Always happy to pitch in as Red Sox warm-up act” by Michael Ryan, magazine:
“I just throw it straight down Broadway and let ‘em whale away” is how Moloney describes his job.

Google News Archive
8 May 1994, Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), pg. C4, col. 5:
You shouldn’t have to throw the ball straight down broadway, belt high, to get a strike.

28 October 1997, Washington (DC) Post, “Do you feel like I do?” by Tony Kornheiser, pg. D1:
Obviously, the easiest way to beat the Redskins is to slap a helmet on some big moose, and run straight down Broadway on them.

Google Books
The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary:
A cyclopedic reference to more than 7,000 words, names, phrases, and slang expressions that define the game, its heritage, culture, and variations

By Paul Dickson
New York, NY: Harcourt Brace & Co.
Pg. 413:
right down Broadway Syn. of down the middle. 1. The term was coined by WJSV sportscaster Arch McDonald of Washington, D.C.

18 January 1999, Boston (MA) Globe, “Tempting Fate Gives Anderson Swift Kick” by Bob Ryan:
As for Anderson, whose own 38-yarder was right down Broadway, he said he was very calm.
(A football field goal—ed.)

Googel Books
Life after Baseball
By Ernie Harwell
Detroit, MI: Detroit Free Press
Pg. 22:
A pitch over the plate for Arch was “Right Down Broadway.”

Google Books
The Voice:
Mel Allen’s untold story

By Curt Smith
Guilford, CT: Lyons Press
Pg. 24:
It didn’t matter to Arch McDonald.

Since 1934, the Senators “Rembrandt of the Re-creation” had tied “right down Broadway” (strike), “ducks on the pond” (baserunners), and “There she goes, Mrs. Murphy” (Senators home run).

Napa Valley (CA) Register
Greg KihnBand plays rare Copia show
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Register Correspondent
Kihn’s also just finished writing his latest novel. “It’s a radio murder mystery — a fastball straight down Broadway,” he said. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Sunday, January 03, 2010 • Permalink