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A rookie is a person in the first year of activity in a sport, or someone new to a profession, training, or activity such as a rookie police officer, rookie pilot, a recruit, or occasionally a freshman.
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In some sports there are traditions in which rookies must do things, or tricks are played on them. Examples in baseball include players having to dress up in very strange costumes, or getting hit in the face with a cream pie; a traditional rookie's "hazing" procedure in American football involves taping players to a goalpost and dousing them with ice water, Gatorade, and other substances.
To qualify as a rookie in Major League Baseball, a player must not have exceeded 130 at bats or fifty innings pitched in the majors, and also fewer than 45 days on the active rosters of major league clubs (excluding time on the disabled list or any time after rosters are expanded on September 1) in their previous seasons. Major League Baseball awards the best rookie with the Major League Baseball Rookie of the Year Award, as voted upon by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
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The Oxford English Dictionary states that the origins are uncertain, but that perhaps it is a corruption of the word recruit. The earliest example in the OED is from Rudyard Kipling's Barrack-Room Ballads (published 1892): So 'ark an' 'eed, you rookies, which is always grumblin' sore, referring to rookies in the sense of raw recruits to the British Army. At least during the beginning of the 20th century, in the British Army the term "rookie" was typically used in place of "recruit" as exemplified in "Trenching at Gallipoli" by John Gallishaw (New York Century Co.:1916) and in "The Amateur Army" by Patrick MacGill (London,Herbert Jenkins:1915). Perhaps the expression is derived from "rook", whereby a "rookie" would be someone who is cheated or defrauded.
- NOTEBOOK: Panthers break camp - CarolinaGrowl.com
- "2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year". Jayski's Silly Season Site. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- "MLB Miscellany: Rules, regulations and statistics". Major League Baseball. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
- John Simpson and Edmund Weiner (editors): Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, Clarendon Press, 1989, ISBN 0-19-861186-2.