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.

Recent entries:
“The ball will find you” (baseball adage) (10/21)
“Catchers make the best managers” (baseball adage) (10/21)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/21)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/21)
“A goaltender is a team’s best penalty killer” (hockey adage) (10/21)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from March 04, 2014
“We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher”

"We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher” is a child’s rhyming baseball chant. “We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher!” has been cited in print since at least 1971.

“We want a catcher, not a belly scratcher” is often added to the chant and has been cited since at least the 1990s.


8 August 1971, Billings (MT) Gazette, “Winky Ryatt” comic strip by Jack Elrod, comics section, pg. ?:
WE WANT A PITCHER, NOT A BELLY-ITCHER!

30 May 1977, Saint Charles (MO) Journal, “The Silly, Funny Sounds of Summer,” pg. 21, col. 2:
“We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher.”

4 April 1988, Springfield (MA) Union-News, “In the Bleachers” (comic strip), pg. 33, col. 4:
“I admit he shows some talent. But we want a pitcher, not a belly itcher.”

Google Books
A Short History of the Long Ball
By Justin Cronin
Tulsa, OK: Council Oak Books
1990
Pg. 9:
Here is also how we played: with whoops and jeers (Hey batter batter swiiiiing), absurd derogatory rhymes (we want a pitcher not a belly itcher), with the absolute, tireless enthrallment of children who have latched onto a working solution.

Google Groups: alt.roundtable
Rob
Rich G.
11/7/02
(...)
Ayup… which is why baseball is such a hetero sport. They’re always screaming “We need a pitcher not a belly itcher” while if it were a gay sport they’d need catcher’s too… oh wait, they yell “We need a catcher not a booty scratcher!” too don’t they? Dammit! I thought there was a funny joke in there somewhere.

Museum Victoria (Australia)
Play and Folklore, September 2003, pg. 8:
Gender differences show up in playground rhymes. Boys prefer gross-outs, ‘gotcha’ and ball field banter – “We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher! We want a catcher, not a belly-scratcher!” ….. Girls go for more complicated cheers, hand slapping chants, dances and jump rope rhymes. (Helms, 1995, p.2)

Google Books
From Abba to Zoom:
A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century

By David Mansour
Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Universal Company
2005
Pg. 264 (KIDDIE CHANTS):
“We need a pitcher, not a belly-itcher / We need a catcher, not a belly-scratcher.”

Urban Dictionary
belly itcher
In baseball, a lousy pitcher. Comes from “We need a pitcher, not a belly itcher!”
The Detroit Tigers are a great offensive team, but they don’t stand much chance of post-season play. They have too many belly itchers.
by brie_46902 July 27, 2010

Twitter
GarbageMystic
‏@GarbageMystic
we want a pitcher not a bellyitcher. we want a catcher not a belly scratcher. we want a jeter not a pussy eater
9:08 PM - 30 Dec 2013

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Tuesday, March 04, 2014 • Permalink