So what's this "Southpaw" thing anyway?
I know it sounds strange, but the term “Southpaw” really is another name for a left handed person. It also refers to any person who throws with their left hand, like a baseball pitcher and a boxer who has a left handed stance. Surprisingly, the term has actually been around for a while, dating back to the 1800s. So how did it start?
Some historians argue that the term “Southpaw” was used as a boxing term long before it was said on a baseball field. Boxers were often called Southpaws when they used a left handed stance, throwing jabs from the left in their own surprising rhythm. During an 1860 prize-fight, a reporter commented on a left handed fighter that he “planted his ‘south paw’ under [his opponent’s chin], laying him out flat as a pancake.” Even today, Southpaws carry a huge advantage in the sport of boxing because every move they make is delivered in the opposite way than a “Northpaw” is expecting. Wait, what’s a Northpaw? In case you hadn’t guessed, Northpaws are right handed people. Surprise, surprise.
So there's a brief history on the origin of Southpaws. Whether the term began on a baseball field or in a boxing ring, the meaning is the same. Southpaws are left handed people. Northpaws are right. Pretty straightforward.
Here is Rocky Balboa’s, (Sylvester Stallone), own thoughts on the word “Southpaw” in the 1976 classic: "You know where southpaw comes from? I'll tell ya. A long time ago there was this guy, maybe a couple a hundred years ago, he was fighting around, I think it was around Philadelphia, and his arm — he was left-handed — and his arm was facing toward New Jersey, you see? And that's south. So then naturally they call him south paw. You see? South paw, South Jersey, South Camden, south paw. You know what I mean?"
By the way, did you know that Sylvester Stallone is left handed? Check out our Famous Lefties page to discover other celebrities you might not have known were Southpaws.
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To see Funko POP of Southpaw baseball pitcher Clayton Kershaw, click here.