All Right Sports Fans

I enjoy most sports and watch a lot of events. I know what rookies, journeymen, red-shirt freshmen, Prop 48, and utility players are. I am aware of the nuances of many sporting events. However, I am not aware of a consistent definition of the term “veteran” as it applies to an athlete.

Is there a certain number of years one must put in before reaching veteran status? Be on a championship team? Be voted to an all-star or similar event? Just be famous?

I have heard second-year players be referred to as veterans. What gives?

Souvenieeeeers, nov-elties, par-ty tricks

There is no hard and fast definition for “veteran”, as it applies to sports.
“Golden Glover”, “Hall of Famer”, “Cy Young Award winner” these types of adjectives apply to only the select few. As sportwriters continue to churn out columns day after day they start grasping for any descriptive term to fill up copy inches. “Veteran” can be disputed in certain cases, but if a player has played in at least one game, it seems OK to hang this monicker on him.

…or her!!

I apologize for the unintentional and “implied by ommission” sexism.

Veteran can also denote a certain attitude towards the game. A certain confidence or swagger for example.
A younger player would probably be exhibiting this attitude to be refered to as a veteran.
But yah, I assume that someone who has played one down could be considered a veteran technically.

As you have noted there is no concrete definition for veteran, but it is generally accepted to descibe a player who is older and more experienced than his teammates. He acts a leader, and teaches younger players. The discrepancy is the players label usually reflects the differences in the team. On a team wih several old players who take and active role will obviously labeled veterans. The conflict is that on some very young teams, and with some players who are particularly sucessful and developed after a couple of seasons the veteran role is stuck on them. The term veteran describes a role on a team more than a player, so if there is no 5,8,10 year player on the team to act as the leader they’l claim a younger player is a veteran.

Oh, but there is - at least in the large professional sports - a legal definition of ‘rookie’ and veteran. There has to be as a player’s status affects his/her pay and award eligiblility. The definition varies from sport to sport but is usually determined on a number of games played basis. In Major League Baseball, for instance, a player can be elected ‘Rookie of the Year’ even if he actually played the prior year, so long as he did not exceed X number of games.

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik