vulture
 v.— «In 1959, baseball was knocked flat when Pirates reliever Elroy Face posted an 18-1 won-loss record, still perhaps the most impressive ever. But Holtzman was skeptical. He knew that many of those wins were, in today’s parlance, “vultured”—i. e., that they were games in which Face had become eligible for a win by surrendering some starting pitcher’s lead, and then benefited from a comeback by the Buc offence.» —“The tyranny of the save” by Colby Cosh National Post (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) Aug. 1, 2008. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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  1. Ben Zimmer says:

    Not so new…

    1985 San Francisco Chronicle 31 July 59 (Factiva) The pitcher of record was Howell, but as Howell likes to say, he “vultured” this one. As in coming in for an unattractive kill.

    A number of relief pitchers, including new Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, have been nicknamed “The Vulture” by teammates for picking up undeserved wins. Earliest I can find:

    1979 New York Times 5 July B11/1 A 1979 Yankee, Luis Tiant, hurled strongly until the eighth, and the save was picked up by Ron Davis, who claims his teammates called him “The Vulture” after he blew a couple of recent saves and took victories instead.

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