The Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs will take to the field as the Jimmies for their annual Salute to Philly game next month. The moniker Jimmies is a much-debated regional term for what most of the rest of the country calls sprinkles, that crunchy confection often used as an ice cream topping.
“In the 15 years I’ve lived in the region, I’ve witnessed the debate between jimmies and sprinkles,” said IronPigs President and General Manager Kurt Landes on the team’s website. “This should settle it once and for all as we’ve decided to embrace ‘jimmies’ and forever forth make that the official name of the mini candies we love to include on our ice cream. We are celebrating this monumental decision by re-naming our team the ‘Jimmies’ this July 11th.”
The origins of the term Jimmies are the subject of some debate, to say the least. The Just Born Candy Company (of Peeps fame), which was founded in Brooklyn in 1923 and is now located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is most often credited with coining the term in 1930s. Various theories attribute the origin of the term to everything from the British slang term “jim-jam” to a charity called the Jimmy Fund to a Just Born employee named Jimmy.
Even within the greater Philadelphia area, some argue that the term only applies to the chocolate version of the ice cream topping, while the multi-colored iteration is called rainbow sprinkles. It’s notable that the IronPigs’ Jimmies logos all feature the rainbow variety.
On a personal note, I grew up in the Philadelphia area, and still call them all jimmies, regardless of the flavor, which I did as recently as four days ago in this tweet:
The IronPigs will take on the Worcester Red Sox—WooSox to friends—in the Salute to Philly game on July 11, appropriate because Boston is the only other part of the country where the term jimmies is commonly used.