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 November 20, 2019
Ballpark Figure (Ball Park Figure; Ball Park Estimate)

A “ball park (ballpark) figure”—also called a “ball park (ballpark) estimate”—is a rough guess, usually at the cost of something. The dimensions of a ballpark are known. During a baseball game, the ball usually stays within the ballpark. The lengths of long home run shots are often measured and compared.
The expression “ball park figure” has been used since at least the late 1950s, usually by the Pentagon (United States Department of Defense) and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)—two government agencies that spent lots of money at that time on various projects. “Pentagon language continues to produce new bafflers. One of them is ‘a ballpark figure,’ meaning a very rough estimate which doesn’t do much more than indicate that a given program is going to cost somebody an awful lot of money” was printed in the Des Moines (IA) Register on June 24, 1957. “A question of, oh, to give you a ‘ball park figure,’ 100 million dollars” was a space agency answer printed in the Chattanooga (TN) Times on October 26, 1958.
“Ball park estimate” was printed in an Associated Press story on April 23, 1959.
“Can someone give me a rough idea of how much a ball park would cost?” is a joke on the “ballpark figure” term.
Wiktionary: ballpark figure
Perhaps from the fact that, although baseballs are seldom hit out of the ballpark, they may still land anywhere within a large area.
ballpark figure
(plural ballpark figures)
1. (chiefly US, idiomatic) An educated guess or estimation within acceptable bounds.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
Of a figure, estimate, or the like: approximate; within a reasonable range of accuracy.
1960   Galveston (Texas) Daily News 8 Sept. 2/2   No ‘ball-park’ figure is available on the exact dollars and cents hike which would be required to earn this percentage.
1969   San Francisco Examiner 23 June 2/6   A ‘ballpark estimate’ put the cost of such a plan at possibly £20 billion the first year.
1976   Offshore Platforms & Pipelining 72/2   This technique..gives only ‘ball park’ types of answers.
24 June 1957, Des Moines (IA) Register, “Washington Memo,” pg. 16, col. 6:
CODE: Pentagon language continues to produce new bafflers. One of them is “a ballpark figure,” meaning a very rough estimate which doesn’t do much more than indicate that a given program is going to cost somebody an awful lot of money.
26 October 1958, Chattanooga (TN) Times, “Von Braun Evaluates Space Race, its Problems and Potentials” by Henry Brandon, pg. 19, col. 3:
(German and later American aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun.—ed.)
VON BRAUN: Yes. The development of such a new engine today—until it can be flight-certified, which means you’d be willing to put a man into a rocket powered by such an engine—is a question of, oh, to give you a “ball park figure,” 100 million dollars.
23 April 1959, Roanoke (VA) Times, “Cause Sought For Big Blaze At Richmond” (AP), pg. 34, col. 4:
Andrew J. Asch Jr., Recony president, emphasized that it was a “ball park estimate, but a half-million-dollar damage figure is about as good as we can do pending further investigation.”
29 January 1960, The Evening Star (Washington, DC), “Ten-Year Space Program Slated to Top $15 Billion” by William Hines, pg. A-5, col. 5:
Replying to reporters’ questions later, however, the two officials conceded some remaining cuts in programs, even after restoration of what Dr. Dryden said was “a ball-park estimate of $100 million.”
31 January 1960, The Sunday Star (Washington, DC), “Payloads in Craft TO Take Huge Sums” by William Hines, pg. A-5, col. 2:
So the “ball-park” estimate here is exceedingly broad—somewhere between $12 and $50 million for the Saturn launch vehicle alone.
12 December 1960, The Press (Binghamton, NY), “Capsule’s Radiation Checked Today” (AP), pg. 12, col. 2:
Dr. George W. Crawford, a nuclear physicist at the School of Aviation Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, said he expects to have a “ball-park estimate” of the amount of radiation encountered by the capsule by this afternoon. He said a more accurate estimate could be made by midweek.
27 August 1961, Sunday World-Herald (Omaha, NE), “New Men, New Policies” by John Jarrell, pg. 1, col. 1:
American ground strength in Europe comprises five divisions—three infantry, two armored—and the Pentagon supplies what it calls “a ball park figure” of 250 thousand men.
13 May 1963, The Globe and Mail (Toronto, ON), “The Language Of No Go Men” by David Spurgeon, pg. 7, col. 8:
INTERVIEWER: Now, sir, there have been some criticisms of the cost of the space program. I have seen figures that total, I think to about $100 billion….
NASAPRANG: That’s just a ball park figure.
1 August 1963, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Financial Shorts,” pg. 25, cols. 1-2:
He indicated full-year profit at about $11.6 million or $2.50 a share “is a good ballpark figure.”
17 May 1964, Washington (DC) Post, “President Closets Himself With Aides To Draft Viet Proposals for Congress” by Warren Una, pg. A1, col. 2:
Yesterday, Administration officials called this a “ball park figure never considered binding.” But they did draw attention to McNamara’s White House press conference on Thursday.
OCLC WorldCat record
Finding the best ballpark figure
Author: Dominic Jones
Edition/Format:   Article : English
Publication: Airfinance journal. No. 196 (June 1997)
OCLC WorldCat record
Ballpark estimate of retirement financial needs
Author: Kathy Prochaska-Cue; University of Nebraska—Lincoln. Cooperative Extension.; University of Nebraska—Lincoln. Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Publisher: Lincoln, Neb. : Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1998.
Series: NebFact, no. NF 98-379.
Edition/Format:   Computer file : Document : State or province government publication : English
OCLC WorldCat record
Give me a “ball park figure” : creating civic narratives through stadium building in Newark, New Jersey
Author: Laura T Troiano; Rutgers University. Graduate School—Newark.
Publisher: 2017.
Dissertation: Ph. D. Rutgers University 2017
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
I came to this project interested in the question, what can narratives about baseball stadiums reveal about the development of Newark, NJ spanning the twentieth century? From this question arose an exploration of narratives that offered insight into competing interests within the city, definitions of civicness, the employment of nostalgia as an argumentative strategy, and how urban development plans are constructed and sold to citizens. The primary focus of this history is centered on two baseball stadiums in Newark, NJ, Ruppert Stadium, built in 1926 and demolished in 1967 and Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium, completed in 1999, sold in 2016, and is now slated to be replaced with mixed use retail space and condominiums. The narratives fashioned to support both stadiums construction and maintenance are strikingly similar. For both stadiums, for over a century, Newark mayors, councilmen, successful businessmen, community organizers, newspaper columnists and reporters, and local citizens all craft, repurpose, and used these civic narratives to further their own varied agendas. It is through these crafted narratives about these stadiums that I explore the competing views of the city and the competing visions for its future.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Wednesday, November 20, 2019 • Permalink

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