A description of the baseball player Arlie Latham, originally in the Boston Herald and reprinted in The Sporting Life of July 26, 1890:
He has an inexhaustible fund of wit, and is known among the fraternity as a ‘big card.’ how well he sustains this reputation can be seen by the large number of spectators who crowd the bleachers near third base and shout themselves horse when he is in particularly high spirits. He is rarely guilty of repetition, which is most remarkable when his volubility is considered. Every phase of the play suggests a new idea. His legs are no less active than his brain, and, when covering his position, he personifies what the boys call a ‘dancing jack.” He frequently gives expression to his feelings when an exceptionally fine play is made by his side, in throwing as clean a flipflap as was ever seen in a circus tent. He turns the most trivial incidents into mirth-provoking characterizations. He at all times preserves a remarkable equipoise, and was never known to insult a player or spectator, no matter what the provocation might be. His remarks to the umpire, from anyone else, would bring down upon him the stern reprimand of the autocrat of the diamond, but the cleverness with which he serves out his comments is never followed by a reprimand. If there is any of life in his club he will bring it out and make it show for all it is worth. He is an excellent third baseman, and a ball, coming into his territory invariably means that the batsman must retire to the benches.
The phrase often associated with Latham is “The Freshest Man on Earth.” By 1890 he had graduated to the status of being a character. This was not clear a couple of years earlier, when he was sometimes presented as being an ass. It is a fine line.
In any case, I mention this here for the peculiar use of “flipflap.” It clearly is related to “flip-flop” but I infer from broader context of other descriptions of Latham that here it means a back flip.