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 May 27, 2012
“A win is a win” (sports adage)

“A win is a win (is a win)” is often said by the coach and players of a winning team, meaning that all that matters is the victory. If a heavy favorite pulls out an unexpectedly narrow victory over a deep underdog, that doesn’t matter—“a win’s a win.” If the victory was caused by extreme luck, that also doesn’t matter—“a win’s a win.” Occasionally, “a win’s a win” will be used to underplay a very important and impressive victory, but usually the saying is an excuse for a poorly played victory.
“A win is a win” has been cited in print since at least 1896 and “a win is a win is a win” has been cited in print since at least 1958. “A win is a win” appears to have been popularized in the sports vernacular in the 1950s. American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) wrote “Rose is a rose is a rose” as part of the 1913 poem “Sacred Emily,” which appeared in the 1922 book Geography and Plays. (“Rose” was the name of a person.)
The expression is also popularly used in politics and other fields. For example, when Mitt Romney barely won the Michigan Republican presidential primary in February 2012 (despite vastly outspending his opponents and despite that Michigan was a former home state), one headline read, “Mitt Romney Campaign: A Win Is A Win.”
21 May 1896, Daily Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), “The Great 20th Meet Over,” pg. 4, col. 1:
However, in this day “ifs” don’t count. A win is a win.
27 August 1896, The World (New York, NY), “Grannan’s Great Luck,” pg. 8, col. 1:
Hill’s idea is that a win is a win no matter how it is accomplished.
Google Books
The Testing of Diana Mallory
By Mrs. Humphry Ward
New York, NY: Harper & Bros.
Pg. 400:
Forbes hurried to the steps to greet the party. “Hullo, Oliver! A thousand congratulations, old fellow! Never mind the figures. A win’s a win!”
6 September 1912, Tulsa (OK) Daily World, “The Vermont Returns,” pg. 4, col. 2:
The regular republican vote was 168 per cent of the Roosevelt vote, and republicans could ask no better ratio throughout the country under all the circumstances and according to the comforting philosophy that a win is a win whether the margin is wide or narrow.
8 July 1914, Denver (CO) Post, “Ritchie and supporters have no howl, as Welch won on merits” by Otto Floto, pg. 12, col. 1:
A win’s a win, no matter how gained, if the referee announces it as such.
30 October 1922, Evening Tribune (San Diego, CA), “Bears Given Real Bad Scare By the Trojans” (Associated Press), pg. 16, col. 7:
Both teams came through their most severe tests so far this season with wins Saturday. Neither victory was especially impressive, but a win is a win.
5 October 1952, Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Dressing Rooms Quiet After Game,” Sports, pg. 3, col. 6:
As Senior Guard Frank Kush put it:
“I think we were all ready for a tough week of practice after a 14-14 tie when that first boot of Lekenta’s was wide. But we won and a win’s a win…it doesn’t make any difference if it’s the 17th or first.”
15 December 1958, Brownsville (TX) Herald, “Big 10 Cagers Out To Extend Streak” (UPI), pg. 6, col. 2:
True, Wisconsin, Iowa and Purdue didn’t win until the final minute—in fact, it took Purdue until the last second—but a win is a win is a win.
Google News Archive
18 January 1960, Eugene (OR) Register-Guard, pg. 1C, col. 1:
Beavers collapse, “but a win is a win”
Google News Archive
19 September 1960, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), “Twice over Lightly” by Harry Missildine, pg. 8, col. 1:
Cougars Lucky; But a Win’s a Win
A poll of the more than 22,000 who watched Washington State beat Stanford, 15-14, on Saturday night at Memorial stadium, likely would have come up with opinions like:
“The Cougars were lucky to win.”
4 June 1962 Evening World-Herald (Omaha, NE), “Twins Sock Senators, 7-5” (AP), pg. 18, col. 4:
The way most baseball managers figure it, “A win is a win; they all look alike in the standings.”
Google News Archive
18 January 1973, Nashua (NH) Telegraph, “Havlicek, Cowens Spur Celts to 117-99 Win Over Portland” (AP), pg. 20, col. 5:
“We’ve just been through five or six of these games against the bottom-rung teams, and it’s both a blessing and a curse, I guess. But a win is a win is a win…”
(Boston Celtics basketball coach Tommy Heinsohn—ed.)
Google News Archive
11 July 1973, Reading (PA) Eagle, “Castoffs Have Their Day; Tiant Puts Bosox Into 1st” by Fred Rothenberg (AP Sports Writer), pg. 46, col. 4:
Bahnsen doesn’t subscribe to the “win is a win is a win” philosophy. “It’s always great beating your former teammates” Bahnsen said after doing just that and knocking the Yanks down to second place.
Google News Archive
25 September 1978, The Ledger (Lakeland, FL), pg. 1D, col. 4:
Bucs’ Win
Not Pretty,
But A Win
Is A Win

Ledger Sports Editor
The Huffington Post
Mitt Romney Campaign: A Win Is A Win
By Jon Ward Posted: 02/27/12 02:06 PM ET |  Updated: 02/27/12 03:28 PM ET

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Sunday, May 27, 2012 • Permalink

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