Fun Facts

The National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum is located in Cooperstown, New York. It was created in 1935 to celebrate baseball’s 100th anniversary. 

Pittsburgh and Boston played the first World Series in 1903. Boston won the nine-game series 5 games to 3. 

Baseballs are stitched by hand with two straight needles – 108 stitches each! 

Years ago, American League baseballs were stitched with red and blue thread and the National League baseballs were stitched with red and black thread. 

Some say that the expression “southpaw” for lefties may have originated with baseball because a left-handed pitcher would end up facing south as he finished throwing the ball.  

Baltimore Oriole’s shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. didn’t miss a game in 16 years – he played in 2,632 games from 1982 to 1998.

If you are interested in the more serious aspects of baseball, a great reference book is The Physics of Baseball by Robert K. Adler.

Terms

1-2-3 INNING An inning in which a pitcher retires the batters in consecutive order.

ACE A team's best starting pitcher.

AHEAD IN THE COUNT A pitcher is ahead in the count when a pitcher has more strikes than balls in the count. A batter is ahead in the count when he has more balls than strikes in the count.

ALLEY The section of the outfield between the outfielders. Also called the gap.

AROUND THE HORN Any ball thrown between 3 or more infielders during or after a play.

ASSIST Help from a fielder in putting an offensive player out. A fielder is credited with an assist when he throws a baserunner or hitter out at a base.

AT BAT The offensive team’s turn to bat the ball. Each player takes a turn at bat until three outs are made. Each Batter’s opportunity at the plate is scored as an "at bat" for him.

BACKDOOR SLIDER A pitch that appears to be out of the strike zone, but then breaks from the opposite side of the plate that the hitter is standing.

BACK DOOR PICK The pitcher or catcher throws to a base that is not occupied by the lead runner to get the runner out.

BAG A base. Early bases were actually canvas bags.

BALTIMORE CHOP A ground ball that hits in front of home plate (or off of it) and takes a large hop over the infielder's head.

BASKET CATCH Outfielder catches fly ball with glove and hand (palm open) below the waist.

BATTERY Term referring to the pitcher and catcher combination.

BOX SCORE
The progression of the game as written in a series of boxes indicating hits, runs, errors and player substitutions of each inning played.

BREAKING BALL An off-speed pitch that curves.

BRONX CHEER When the crowd boos.

BRUSHBACK A pitch that nearly hits the batter (intended to move the batter back off the plate).

CALLED GAME A game suspended or ended by the umpire.

CAN OF CORN An easy catch by the fielder.

CAUGHT LOOKING When a batter is called out on strikes.

CELLAR  The team in last place is considered “in the cellar”.

CHANGE UP A deceptive pitch thrown with the exact arm action as a fastball, designed to disrupt the timing of the hitter by looking like a fastball out of the hand but coming in much slower.

CHECKED SWING A partial swing, that the batter holds up in an attempt not to have a striked called on him. The umpire can rule it a full swing, or strike.

CHEESE A good fastball.

CHIN MUSIC A pitch that is high and inside.

CIRCUS CATCH A misplayed ball barely caught for an out.

CLEAN-UP HITTER Player who hits fourth in the lineup.

CLOSER Relief pitcher who specializes in pitching the last few outs of a game.  

COMPLETE GAME Statistical credit to a starting pitcher for pitching the entire game.

COUNT The number of called balls and strikes on a hitter.

CURVE Pitch that moves down, across, or down and across, depending upon the rotation of the ball.

CUTTER (CUT FASTBALL) A fastball with a late break on it.

CYCLE When a batter hits a single, double, triple and homerun in the same game.

DAYLIGHT PICK A pitcher who picks to a base where the infielder was in position and leaves daylight between himself and the base. The infielder runs to the base with arm out calling for the ball.

DESIGNATED HITTER Player who bats in the pitcher’s spot in the line-up. The DH does not have a fielding position.

DINGER A homerun, also known as a bomb, ball out, or goner.

DONUT Circular shaped weight that slides over the bat. The weight is used when a player is loosening up in the on deck circle to hit.

DOUBLE A hit that enables a batter to reach second base.

DOUBLEHEADER Two games played back to back by the same teams.

DOUBLE PLAY Any defensive play that results in two base runners being called out.

EARNED RUN A run scored on a hit, walk or steal, without benefit from a defensive error on the play.

ERA      Earned Run Average. A measure of a pitcher’s performance computed by dividing the total number of earned runs allowed by the total number of innings pitched and then multiplying by nine.

ERROR Defensive mistake that allows a batter to stay at the plate or reach first base, or that advances a base runner.

FAST BALL A straight pitch thrown by the pitcher as hard as possible.

FAIR TERRITORY Part of the playing field within, and including the first base and third base lines, from home base to the bottom of the playing field fence and perpendicular upwards. All foul lines are in the fair territory.

FIELDER’S CHOICE Term used when a fielder can chose among base runners or throw or tag out.

FIREMAN A team's closer.

FLY BALL Batted ball that goes high in the air.

FORCE OUT An out created when a runner is forced to advance because there is another runner behind them, although they will be thrown or tagged out. The defensive player needs only to touch the base being approached by the runner with the ball in hand to record the out.

FORKBALL A pitch thrown by placing the ball between the first two fingers, usually resulting in a sinking ball.

FOUL BALL A ball that lands outside the first or third base foul lines.

FOUL LINE Lines extending from home plate through 1st and 3rd base to the outfield fence and perpendicularly upwards. These lines are considered in play.

FOUL TERRITORY Part of the playing field outside the first and third base lines extended to the fence and perpendicularly upwards.

FUNGO A long, slim, lightweight bat for hitting practice ground/pop-up balls during practice.

FULL COUNT Three balls and two strikes to hitter in count.

GAP The section of the outfield between the centerfielder and corner outfielders. Also called alley.

GOPHER A ball hit for a homerun.

GRAND SLAM A home run that is hit with a runner on every base. This hit scores 4 runs.

GREEN LIGHT Signal from the coach to hit the next pitch that is a strike, or a signal to a base runner that gives the runner the authority to decide when to attempt a steal.

HEAT (HEATER) A good fastball.

HIT AND RUN Play-action situation in which the batter must swing at the pitch while the base runner attempts to steal the base.

HOME PLATE Where batter stands when batting, also known as the "plate" or "dish".

HONEY A line drive or ground ball hit up the middle of the field close to 2nd base.

HOME RUN A ball hit out of the playing field in fair territory. A home run scores the batter and any base runners.

HOT CORNER Third base.

IN & OUTS Infield and outfield practice before a game.

IN THE HOLE 1.Shortstop makes a play deep to his right.  2. Batter has a count of 0-2 (no balls, 2 strikes).

INTENTIONAL WALK Four balls thrown on purpose to a batter advancing the hitter to first base. Generally, executed when 1st base is empty to set-up a force play.

KNUCKLE BALL A pitch thrown by gripping one of the seams on a ball with fingernails and/or knuckles of the forefinger and middle finger with the thumb underneath the ball. The ball is pushed out of the hand by the two fingers to keep the ball from rotating, causing the ball to move in an unpredictable manner, almost like the ball is floating.

LEAD OFF HITTER The first batter in the line-up.

LINE DRIVE A ball hit in the air at a low trajectory directly to a fielder or through the infield.

LINE-UP A team’s batting order and fielding positions.

MENDOZA LINE A batting average of around .200. Named after Pirate shortstop Mario Mendoza.

MOUND Hill the pitcher stands on while pitching.

NO HITTER A game in which a pitcher does not allow the opposing team to reach a base via a safe hit.

NONO No runs or hits allowed in a game pitched by a single pitcher.

ON DECK A term used to refer to the next batter up in the inning. This person stands in a designated circular area and warms up before batting.

OUT IN ORDER Retiring the first 3 batters in an inning.

OUTFIELD Area between the back edge of the infield and homerun fence.

OUTFIELDER A fielder who occupies a position in the outfield, which is the playing field most distance from home base.

PASSED BALL A pitched ball missed by the catcher, allowing a runner to advance.

PEARL A baseball, typically a new white ball.

PERFECT GAME A game in which a pitcher does not allow any batter of the opposing team to reach base.

PFP's Pitchers' Fielding Practice

PICK OFF An attempt by the pitcher to get a base runner out by throwing to a base before the pitch.

PINCH HITTER A hitter who is a substitute in the line-up for a another player. The original batter can’t return to the game, so the pinch hitter or a third person takes over the defensive position as well.

PINCH RUNNER A player entering the game to run for someone already on base.

PITCHOUT When a pitch is thrown wide of the strike zone on purpose. A catcher will signal for a pitchout if they think that a runner is trying to steal.

PITCHING ROTATION The order in which the starting pitchers of a team take turns starting games, usually with three to five days rest between starts.

PULL HITTER A batter that generally hits to the same side of the field that he bats. (eg. righthanded pull hitter hits to the left side of the field).

PUTOUT Any fielder who tags a runner out or touches a base with the ball to get the runner out.

RELIEF PITCHER The pitcher replacing the starting pitcher. The relief pitcher can win, lose, save, or not be involved in the game’s decision.

RUBBER The pitching plate on the mound. The pitcher must have one foot connected to the plate while pitching to the batter. The rubber is located 60’ 6" (19.5 meters) from home plate.

RUN Score obtained when a base runner safely crosses home plate.

RUN DOWN A played used by fielders to tag out a runner caught between bases.

RUN BATTER IN (RBI) Statistics which shows how often a player has made it possible for his/her team mates to score while at bat. A player who has 30 RBI’s has caused 30 runs to be score. A batter is not credited with an RBI if he hits into a double play or if the run is scored because of an error.

RUNNER An offensive player who is advancing toward, touching, or returning to any base.

SACRIFICE BUNT A bunt designed to advance a runner although the batter will be thrown out.

SACRIFICE FLY Fly ball out that scores a runner from third base.

SAVE A relief pitcher can be credited with a save if they can keep the team’s lead while the opponent’s tying or winning runs are on base, or if they pitch 3 or more innings without allowing the opponents to tie the game.

SCORING POSITION Runner on second or third base.

SHORTSTOP Defensive player positioned between second and third bases.

SHUT OUT A game in which one team doesn’t score any runs.

SINKER A fast pitch that breaks downward as it reaches the plate.

SLIDER A pitcher that appears to the batter as a fastball until it reaches the plate, then breaks sharply on a level plane. The ball is held similarly to the curveball, but the wrist is kept straight, like a fastball, and broken downward.

SPIT BALL Illegal pitch which a foreign substance (most commonly spit or grease) is applied to the ball causing it to react in an unpredictable manner.

STARTER The pitcher who beings the game and pitches until he finishes the game or is replaced by a relief pitcher.

STEAL Attempting to advance a base between pitches without the batter hitting the ball or getting a base on balls.

STOLEN BASE Successfully advancing a base between pitches without the batter hitting the ball or getting a base on balls.

STRIKE ZONE The area over home plate between the batter’s armpits and knees when the batter is positioned to swing. Any pitch that is delivered through this area is called a strike.

SQUEEZE PLAY A play in which a runner on third breaks toward home on the pitch and the batter’s responsibility is to bunt the ball allowing the runner to score.

SUICIDE SQUEEZE PLAY A play in which there are two strikes and a runner on third breaks toward home on the pitch and the batter’s responsibility is to bunt the ball allowing the runner to score.

SWITCH-HITTER Player who is able to bat left-handed or right-handed. A switch-hitter will bat from the opposite side in which the pitchers throws.

TAG 1. An action runners must perform before they can advance on a fly ball. Runners must touch the base they occupy after the ball is caught before they can try to advance. Runners can leave their base before a ball it hit, but must return and touch the base if the ball is caught. 2. An action executed when a defensive player touches a runner with the ball in an attempt to get them out.

TATER A homerun.

TEXAS LEAGUER A bloop hit that drops between the infielder and outfielder.

TRIPLE PLAY A defensive play that records 3 outs.

UNCLE CHARLIE A curve ball, also known as a hammer or bender.

UTILITY PLAYER A player who fills in at many positions.

WHEELHOUSE A hitters power zone.

WHIFF A strike out.

WILD PITCH A pitch so far from the strike zone that the catcher cannot catch or block it, permitting any base runner to advance a base.

YAKKER A curve ball.

 

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