The “Pitch”

Today, the pitch is often understood as a high-pressure sales talk.  However, the origin of the word “pitch” was explained somewhat differently by Dr. N. T. Oliver, a 70-year-old ex-medicine-show star who published his memoirs in the Saturday Evening Post in 1929. Wrote Oliver: “The word ‘pitch’ and its derivative, ‘pitchman,’ come either from the pitch-pine torch under which he once worked by night, before the coming of the gasoline flame and electric light, or from the verb, as ‘to pitch a tent’.”