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Baseball Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

    Ace - A baseball team’s best starting pitcher.

    Alley - The open space between the outfielders, also called the “gap.”

    Around the horn - A double play in which the third baseman throws to the second baseman, who then throws to the first baseman.

    Assist - A throw or deflection of the ball from one player to another that either results in a putout or would have resulted in a putout if an error had not occurred.

    At bat - An appearance by a player in the batter’s box that does not result in a base on balls, sacrifice, hit batsman, or catcher’s interference.

    Away team - A team playing at the home field of another team. The Away team bats in the top half of each inning, and plays defense in the bottom half.

B

    Backdoor - Refers to a breaking ball – usually a slider or curveball – that appears to be outside the strike zone, but deceives the batter by breaking over the outside corner of the plate for a strike.

    Backstop - The wall or screen behind home plate that stops wild pitches and passed balls, and keeps foul balls from reaching the stands. Backstop is also a slang term for a catcher.

    Balk - Term that refers to several illegal moves that can be made by a pitcher attempting to deceive a runner or batter while on the pitcher’s rubber. A balk can only occur when runners are on base, and when a balk is called, each runner moves up one base.

    Ball - This is called when the batter takes a pitch that the home plate umpire deems to have crossed the plate outside the strike zone.

    Bandbox - A small ballpark where a lot of home runs are typically hit.

    Base - There are four bases on the field (first, second, third and home plate). They are placed 90 feet apart, and a player must touch each base in order to score a run. When a runner is touching a base, he cannot be tagged out.

    Base coach - When a team is at bat, it is permitted to assign coaches to both first and third base. The base coaches must remain next to the bases in foul territory, and may offer instruction to the base runners and the batter.

    Base line - The base line is an area three feet to either side of the direct line that runs between the bases. Unless he must do so to avoid interfering with a fielder, a runner may not stray outside the baseline to avoid being tagged out.

    Base on balls - Occurs when the pitchers throws four pitches outside the strike zone to the same batter before the batter puts the ball in play or strikes out. On a base on balls, the batter is awarded first base.

    Basket catch - An unorthodox play that occurs when a defensive player catches a batted ball in the air, with his glove positioned at his waist and facing upward like a basket.

    Bat - The cylindrical piece of wood or aluminum with which the batter attempts to hit the pitched ball. The official rules state that a bat may not be longer than 42 inches, and may not be wider than two inches at its widest point. In virtually every level of baseball up to college, players are permitted to use aluminum bats. Only wooden bats are permitted in the major leagues.

    Batter - The offensive player who attempts to hit the pitched ball and reach base by some means.

    Batter's box - Designated areas on both sides of home plate in which the batter must remain throughout his at-bat.

    Battery - A term used to describe the pitcher-catcher combination.

    Batting Average - A traditional measure of an offensive player’s success. It is calculated by dividing total hits by total at-bats.

    Batting order - The predetermined order in which the offensive players for each team will bat. Substitutions are allowed, but the batting order may not change once a game has begun.

    Bleachers - Rows of metal or wooden stands on which fans sit at ballparks. The name comes from the fact that bleachers are traditionally uncovered, so fans would bleach in the sun.

    Breaking ball - Any pitch in which the pitcher manipulates the baseball’s seams in order to make the ball curve when he throws it. The term typically refers to a curveball or a slider.

    Brushback - A pitch – usually a fastball – that nearly hits the batter and “brushes him back.”

    Bullpen - The area designated for pitchers to warm up before they enter the game. Relief pitchers often spend the game in the bullpen, which is usually located on either side of the field in foul territory or beyond the outfield fence. The origin of the term in a baseball context is not universally known or agreed upon.

    Bunt - An offensive play in which the batter turns his body to face the pitcher and holds the bat out in front of him. The batter attempts to hit the pitch softly into the ground so that one of the infielders must run up and field it. The most common type of bunt is a sacrifice, which takes place with one or more runner on base. In this case, the batter bunts the ball so that the fielders only have time to record the out at first base, allowing the other runner(s) to advance.

    Bush league - Amateur or unsportsmanlike behavior.

C

    Can o' corn - A slang term for a routine fly ball.

    Catch - The act of a defensive player securing possession of a batted ball in his hand or glove while the ball is still in the air.

    Catcher - On defense, this player is positioned directly behind home plate and catches the pitched balls thrown by the pitcher. He wears protective gear and is the only player on the field permitted to use a more heavily padded glove.

    Catcher's box - The designated area behind home plate in which the catcher must remain while he awaits each pitch.

    Catcher's interference - A rare play that occurs when the batter’s bat makes contact with the catcher while attempting to hit a pitch. When this happens, the batter is awarded first base.

    Caught looking - Term for when a batter takes a called third strike.

    Centerfield - A position on the field that generally encompasses the middle third of the outfield.

    Change-up - A pitch that is intentionally made to move slower than a fastball, but is delivered with the intention of deceiving the batter into thinking the pitch will be faster than it is. A pitcher usually achieves this effect by gripping the ball with an extra finger and/or deeper in his hand.

    Cheese - Slang term for an especially good fastball.

    Chin music - A pitch (usually a fastball) that is high and inside, near the batter’s chin.

    Choke up - The act of a batter moving his hands slightly higher up on the handle of the bat. This allows him to control his swing better.

    Clean-up hitter - A term for the batter hitting fourth in the lineup. This refers to the frequent opportunities for the fourth batter to drive in runs when the players ahead of him reach base.

    Closer - A relief pitcher who is regularly used to get the final outs of a game.

    Coach's box - The designated area in foul territory next to both first and third base in which each of the base coaches must remain during play.

    Complete game - A pitching statistic that occurs when one pitcher pitches an entire game.

    Count - A running total of the balls and strikes during each at-bat. For example, if a pitcher has thrown two strikes and one ball, the count would be 1 and 2 (with balls always listed first).

    Curveball - A common off-speed pitch in which the pitcher manipulates the seams and throws the baseball with greater stress on his elbow and wrist in order to make the pitch break downward and to the side.

    Cut-off man - On most balls hit to the outfield, this is the infielder who presents himself as a target for the outfielder to throw the ball, usually in order to get the ball to the infield quickly.

    Cutter - A pitch similar to a fastball, except the pitcher holds the seams slightly different in order to make the ball move sideways. Although difficult to master, a cutter can be a very effective pitch.

    Cycle - Term for when a batter achieves a single, double, triple and home run in one game (in any order). Cycles are extremely uncommon at every level of baseball.

D

    Dead ball - Refers to instances in which the ball is not in play, meaning no action can take place. There are several reasons for a dead ball, including a time-out call or a hit batsman.

    Defense - The team occupying each of the nine positions on the field that attempts to prevent the opposing team from scoring.

    Designated hitter (DH) - A player that does not play in the field, but occupies a spot in the batting order in place of a teammate who only plays in the field – usually the pitcher. The DH was not originally used in baseball, but has become more common and is now utilized at many levels of the game.

    Deuce - Slang term for a curveball, which is often signaled by the catcher with two fingers.

    Dinger - A slang term for a home run.

    Dish - A slang term for home plate.

    Double - A hit that enables the batter to reach second base safely without the aid of an error or fielder’s choice.

    Double play - A single defensive play in which two outs are recorded.

    Doubleheader - When a team plays two games in the same day. At the professional level, doubleheaders are rarely scheduled and usually only occur to make up for a game that was previously rained out or postponed. At lower levels of baseball, they are fairly common in tournament play.

    Drag bunt - A bunt in which the batter intends to produce a base hit instead of a sacrifice. Typically, the batter bunts the ball at the last second and tries to aim the ball towards either the first- or third-base line.

    Dugout - The enclosed areas on either side of the field designated for players on each team to occupy while not playing in the field.

    Dying Quail - A batted ball that drops suddenly between the infielders and outfielders, like a bird that has been shot out of the air.

E

    Earned run - A statistic that refers to any run that is not scored as a direct result of an error.

    Earned run average (ERA) - A pitching statistic that measures the frequency with which a pitcher allows earned runs. It is defined as the ratio of a pitcher’s earned runs allowed to total innings pitched. ERA is presented as an average per nine innings.

    Eephus - A rarely used pitch in which the pitcher releases the ball overhand, but in a slow, high-arching lob.

    Error - A play in which a batter reaches base or a runner advances as the result of a defensive mistake. Players are changed with an error if the scorekeeper deems the play could have been made with routine effort.

    Extra base hit - A hit that has the batter safely reach at least second base (i.e. double, triple or home run).

    Extra innings - Occurs when a game is tied after the completion of the scheduled number of innings. Each extra inning operates under the same rules as the last inning until one team wins.

F

    Fair ball - A batted ball that lands within the designated foul lines and is therefore live. If the ball is in front of the base, it must come to rest or be touched by a defensive player in order to be fair. If the ball is behind the base, it must only land inside the foul line or stay to the inside of the foul pole.

    Fair territory - The area of the field within the designated foul lines, which extend from home plate through first and third base, respectively.

    Fall classic - A nickname for Major League Baseball's annual World Series.

    Fastball - The most common pitch in baseball, and, for most pitchers, the easiest pitch to control. Of all the pitches in a pitcher’s repertoire, the fastball usually has the straightest trajectory and the highest velocity.

    Fielder - A player occupying one of the defensive positions on the field.

    Fielder's choice - A play in which the batter reaches base as a result of the defense putting out, or attempting to put out, another base runner. The batter is not credited with a hit.

    Fielding percentage - A statistic that measures the frequency with which a defensive player successfully records assists and put-outs without making errors.

    First base - The base located along the right side foul line, and the first one a batter touches when running (counterclockwise) around the bases. First base is also a defensive position, in which the first baseman plays at or near the base.

    Fly ball - A batted ball that goes in the air with an arching trajectory.

    Fly out - A fly ball that is caught by a defensive player for an out.

    Force out - By rule, a base runner must run to the next base if a ball is put in play that touches the ground and there is another player on the base directly behind him. A force out occurs under these circumstances when the defense fields the ball and touches the base before the base runner can reach it.

    Forfeit - There are several reasons why a team would forfeit a game, including not having enough players. The result of this is the forfeiting team loses without playing or completing the game.

    Forkball - A predecessor of the split-finger fastball. A pitcher grips the ball with two fingers spread out wide outside the seams. The forkball functions as an offspeed pitch, intending to look like a fastball before tumbling downwards.

    Foul ball - A batted ball that lands outside the designated foul lines. The defense can catch a foul ball in the air to record an out, but once the ball hits the ground in foul territory, it is dead. Foul balls count as a strike against the batter. However, a batter cannot strikeout on a foul ball.

    Foul line - The two lines that extend out from home plate through first and third base, respectively, all the way to the outfield fence. Foul lines separate fair and foul territory and are typically marked with chalk or paint.

    Foul pole - The foul pole is effectively the end of the foul line. Foul poles are positioned at the outfield fence and are used to determine whether a ball that travels over the fence was fair or foul. A fair home run must hit or be inside the foul pole when it goes over the fence. Fields without fences typically do not have foul poles.

    Foul territory - The area of the field outside the designated foul lines.

    Foul tip - This occurs when a batter makes only slight contact with a pitch and tips the ball directly from the bat into the catcher’s mitt. When the catcher catches a foul tip, it counts as a strike and the ball is in play.

    Free pass - Another term for a base on balls.

    Frozen rope - Slang term for a line drive that is hit extremely hard, or an especially strong throw by a fielder.

    Fungo - A bat that is lighter, thinner and considerably longer that a normal bat. Fungos are illegal to use during the game, but are commonly used in practice to hit ground balls and fly balls because they are easier to handle than regulation bats.

G

    Glove - A leather piece of equipment that players wear on their non-throwing hands to catch the ball while playing in the field. Different leagues and levels of play have different regulations on glove sizes.

    Grand slam - A home run hit while runners are on each of the three bases.

    Ground ball - A batted ball that hits the ground and rolls before reaching a defensive player. When a ground ball is hit, the defense must tag or force out the batter in order to record a putout.

    Ground out - A ground ball that directly results in a putout.

    Ground-rule double - A batted ball on which the defense is unable to make a play because of a certain characteristic of the field or stadium. When this occurs, the play is ruled a double by the umpires. The most common occurrence of this is when a fly ball that lands in fair territory and bounces over the outfield fence.

H

    Heat - Slang term for an especially good fastball (also, "heater").

    Hit - To make contact with a pitched ball. Statistically, a hit is the result of any batted ball in which the batter reaches base safely without the aid of an error or fielder’s choice.

    Hit and run - A strategic play in which the base runner(s) attempt to steal the next base when the pitcher pitches the ball and the batter swings at the pitch to try to put the ball in play. This play is attempted with the intent of catching the defensive players out of position trying to cover the bases so they are unable to make a play on a batted ball.

    Hit by pitch - Occurs when a pitched ball strikes the batter on any part of his body or uniform while he is in the batter’s box. The batter is awarded first base.

    Home plate - Wider and flatter than the other three bases, home plate is 17 inches wide and serves as the guideline for the width of the strike zone.

    Home run - A batted ball that lands in fair territory and results in the batter touching all four bases and scoring a run safely. Home runs typically occur when a batter hits the ball over the outfield fence. This is an automatic home run, and the batter may jog around the bases.

    Home team - The team playing a game on their home field. The home team is on defense in the top half of each inning, and bats in the bottom half.

    Hot corner - A slang term for the third-base position. The term refers to the fact that the third baseman often plays very close to the batter and must therefore occasionally react to sharply hit balls.

I

    Infield - The area of the field contained within the baselines. On many fields, the majority of the infield is covered with grass.

    Infield fly - This is called by an umpire when there are runners on first and second base or the bases are loaded and there are less than two outs, and the batter hits a fly ball that stays inside the confines of the infield. When the call is made, the batter is automatically out and the base runners are free to advance, but face no risk of a force out regardless of whether the ball is caught.

    Infielder - A player whose defensive position is located on the infield. The term typically refers to first basemen, second basemen, third basemen and shortstops. However, the pitcher and catcher are considered infielders, as well.

    Inning - The means of breaking up a game. Depending on the level of play, games consist of a different, predetermined amount of innings (nine innings is the official standard). In each inning, both teams have a turn to play both offense and defense. Each half of the inning is completed when three outs are recorded.

    Intentional walk - Occurs when a pitcher intentionally throws four balls far outside the strike zone. This is usually done strategically when a base is open and/or when facing a particularly dangerous hitter.

    Interference - This is called when a batter or runner obstructs a defender from making a play on the ball (in which case, an out is called), or when a defensive player impedes a runner in the baseline (in which case, the runner is awarded the base).

J

    Junkballer - A slang term for a pitcher who throws an unusually high number of breaking balls and off-speed pitches, typically because he does not throw particularly fast. Therefore “junk” refers to slow breaking balls and offspeed pitches.

K

    K - The official scorekeeping shorthand symbol for a strikeout. In the scorebook, a backwards K designates a strikeout looking.

    Knuckleball - A pitch in which the pitcher places his fingernails on the seams and uses his knuckles to push the ball out of his hand. Ideally, knuckleballs do not rotate during their flight and therefore have an unpredictable trajectory. The pitch is uncommon and very difficult to master.

L

    Lead - Refers to the practice of base runners standing several feet off the base they are occupying in order to increase their chances of getting to the next base safely (in some cases, by stealing a base). Leads are also short enough so that the runner to can get back to the base if the defense tries to tag him out.

    Lead-off hitter - The player hitting in the first position in the batting order. Also the batter who bats first at the start of each inning is considered to be “leading off” the inning.

    Left field - The area of the field that constitutes the left third of the outfield. It is also one of the nine defensive positions.

    Line drive - A batted ball that is hit sharply and travels on a line. Line drives often result in base hits, unless they are directly at a fielder, because there is little time for the defense to react.

    Lineup - Another term for the batting order.

    Loss - The end result for a team that scores fewer runs in a game than its opponent. A loss is also a pitching statistic. A pitcher get a loss if he allowed the runs that ultimately caused his team to lose the game.

M

    Mendoza line - Term for a batting average of .200, which is not considered very good at any level of baseball. The term refers to former Major League player Mario Mendoza, whose batting average consistently hovered around .200

N

    No-hitter - Occurs when a pitcher pitches a complete game without allowing a single hit. No-hitters occur very rarely and are considered a tremendous accomplishment.

O

    Obstruction - Similar to interference, obstruction occurs when a fielder impedes the progress of a base runner while not in possession of the ball or in the act of fielding the ball. When obstruction is called, the base runner is awarded the next base.

    Offense - The team that is batting and has its players takes turns hitting in order to score runs before its opponent records three outs.

    On the screws - Slang term for when a batter hits the ball hard.

    Opposite field - Refers the side of the field opposite of where a batter typically hits the ball. The right side of the field is the opposite field for right-handed hitters, and the left side of the field is the opposite field for left-handed hitters.

    Out - The call made by an umpire when an offensive player is retired via a strikeout, tag out, force out or catch. The defensive team must record three outs each half inning. Outs can occur via strikeout, when the defense catches a batted ball, or when a runner is tagged or forced out.

    Outfield - The area of the field beyond the infield. It is usually covered in grass, and encompasses the largest amount of space on the field.

    Outfielder - A defensive player whose position is left, center or right field.

P

    Passed ball - A pitched ball that gets away from the catcher, allowing the runner(s) to advance to the next base. A Passed ball is ruled (as opposed to a wild pitch) when the scorekeeper deems that the catcher should have caught the ball with ordinary effort.

    Payoff pitch - A pitch that’s thrown on a full count.

    Pepper - A popular game often enjoyed by players before the start of a baseball game. Pepper is played with one person holding a bat, and two or more persons standing several feet away, pitching him the baseball. The batter attempts to continually hit ground balls back to the other players without swinging and missing or hitting a fly ball. The game is designed as a warm-up routine and helps sharpen fielding skills and hand-eye coordination.

    Perfect game - The term for when a pitcher retires every batter on the opposing team, not allowing a single baserunner for the entire game. Even more uncommon than a no-hitter, perfect games are considered an outstanding achievement.

    Pickle - Another term for a rundown, a play in which a runner is caught between two bases and two or more fielders attempt to chase him down and tag him out.

    Pick-off - A play that takes place with one or more runners on base, usually in order to prevent the runners from attempting to steal the next base. While a runner has a lead and the pitcher is on the rubber, the pitcher quickly steps off and throws to the base. Pick-off attempts do not frequently result in outs, as runners typically lead off the base only far enough so that they can get back safely if necessary.

    Pinch hitter - A player who is not in the original batting order, but is substituted in to bat in the place of one of the starters after the game has begun.

    Pinch runner - A player who is not the original batting order, but is substituted in to run in the place of one of the starters after the game has begun.

    Pitch - The act of the pitcher throwing the ball towards home plate. Effectively, play cannot occur until the pitcher pitches the ball.

    Pitcher - The player whose position is at the center of the infield diamond on top of the pitcher’s mound. The pitcher instigates the action by pitching the ball towards the batter standing at home plate.

    Pitcher's mound - The elevated dirt surface on which the pitcher stands. Mounds tend to come in different sizes, but official regulations stipulate that the mound be 18 feet in diameter, and no more that 10 inches high.

    Pitcher's rubber - The white slab of rubber located at the center and highest point of the pitcher’s mound. The pitcher’s foot must be in contact with the rubber – either in the wind up or the set position – before he delivers each pitch.

    Pitchout - A strategic play in which the catcher stands up as the pitcher delivers the ball, and the pitcher intentionally throws a fastball high and outside. This play is executed when the defense believes a base runner with try to steal a base, and is designed to give the catcher a better chance to throw out the runner.

    Pull - Term for when a left-handed batter hits the ball to the right side of the field, or when a right-handed batter hits the ball to the left side of the field. Pull is also a term used to describe a coach removing a pitcher from the game in favor of a reliever.

    Punch out - A slang term for a strikeout. It refers to the punching action some umpires make when calling strike three.

R

    Relief pitcher - A member of a team’s pitching staff who enters a game to replace another pitcher. Relief pitchers are typically used because of specific matchups or due to the starting pitcher’s fatigue or ineffectiveness.

    Riding the pine - Slang term that refers to a player who is sitting on the bench.

    Roster - A list of all the players on a team.

    Rubber game - The final and deciding game of a series.

    Run - The means of scoring in baseball. When a runner touches all three bases and home plate safely, it counts as a run. The team that scores the most runs wins the game.

    Run batted in (RBI) - A statistic that refers to any instance in which a batter directly causes another player to score a run by means of a hit, sacrifice or base on balls.

    Rundown - Occurs when a runner is caught between two bases and two or more fielders attempt to chase him down and tag him out. (See: Pickle).

S

    Sacrifice bunt - A bunt that takes place with one or more runners on base. The batter bunts the ball on the ground in fair territory so that the fielders only have time to record the out at first base, allowing the other runner(s) to advance.

    Sacrifice fly - Occurs when a runner is on third base with less than two outs. The batter hits a fly ball or line drive deep enough so that the runner on third base can tag up and score a run once the catch is made. The batter is credited with a run batted in.

    Safe - The call made by an umpire when an offensive player reaches a base safely without being tagged or forced out.

    Save - A statistic achieved by pitchers who record the final outs of a game. A pitcher is credited with a save if he pitches three or more innings to finish a game, or if he finishes a game in which his team leads by three runs or less, or if he finishes a game in which he entered the game with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck.

    Scoring position - Runners are considered to be in scoring position if they are on second or third base. The term is used because runners will typically be able to score a run from second or third base if the batter produces a base hit.

    Second base - Second base is positioned along a direct, imaginary line with home plate and the pitcher’s rubber. It is also one of the nine defensive positions on the field, and fielders who play the second base position typically play midway between first base and second base.

    Seeing-eye single - Slang term for a batted ball that’s not hit particularly hard, but that finds its way through the infield for a base hit.

    Senior circuit - Nickname for the National League, which has existed since 1876 (compared to the American league, which was founded in 1901).

    Set position - One of two legal positions in which a pitcher must be when he delivers a pitch. In the set position, the pitcher stands with one foot on the rubber with his non-throwing shoulder pointed towards home plate. This position is typically utilized when runners are on base, because it allows the pitcher to deliver the pitch more quickly than from the wind up.

    Shoestring catch - A running catch that is made just inches above the fielder’s shoes.

    Shutout - The term for a game in which one team prevents its opponent from scoring a single run.

    Single - The term for a hit in which the batter reaches first base safely without the aid of an error or fielder’s choice.

    Sinker - A fastball, usually gripped with two fingers on the seams instead of across the seams, that tails and moves downward more so than a typical fastball. Not a pitch used by all pitchers, sinkers are usually thrown by pitchers whose arm action during delivery causes the ball to sink naturally.

    Skipper - A slang term for the manager of a baseball team.

    Slide - When a runner approaches a base, he will often slide either head-first or feet-first to avoid being tagged by a fielder and avoid running past the base.

    Slider - A common pitch that is similar to a curveball, but breaks more sharply and at a higher velocity. A slider is thrown by placing two fingers on one of the seams and releasing the pitch with the arm and hand angled slightly sideways.

    Slump - Term for when a hitter produces no or few hits during an extended period of time.

    Snow cone catch - Term used to describe a catch that barely stays in the tip of the fielder’s glove. The top of the ball sticks out, resembling a snow cone.

    Southpaw - A slang term for a left-handed pitcher. It is generally agreed upon that the term originated in the early days of baseball, when stadiums were built with home plate pointing west, first base pointing south, second base pointing east, and third base pointing north. The reason for this design was, during games played in the afternoon and evening, the sun would set behind home plate, keeping it out of the batters’ eyes, as well as those of the fans sitting behind home plate. As such, when a left-handed pitcher stands on the mound, his left arm (and paw) is facing south, towards first base.

    Spitball - A pitch in which the pitcher uses saliva or a foreign substance (example: Vaseline, pine tar) to elicit additional break or movement on the pitch. The spitball was somewhat common in the early part of the 20th century, but was universally outlawed in 1920. Spitballs are still used occasionally, but the practice is illegal.

    Splitter - A pitch in which the pitcher grips the ball with two fingers spread out wide, outside the seams. It is designed to resemble a fastball, but sinks downward rapidly. (See: Forkball).

    Squeeze - A rare play that occurs with a runner on third base. The batter bunts the ball and the runner on third base attempts to score before the defense can make a play on the ball.

    Starter - A player who is in the starting lineup at the beginning of a game. Starter is also used specifically to refer to a team’s starting pitcher.

    Stolen base - The act of a runner advancing safely from one base to the next, before or while the pitcher delivers a pitch.

    Strike - This is called when a batter swings and misses at a pitch, or when a batter takes a pitch that the home plate umpire deems to have crossed the plate within the strike zone. After three strikes in a single plate appearance, the batter is called out. Foul balls also count as strikes, although a batter cannot strike out on a foul ball.

    Strike zone - By rule, the strike zone spans the width of home plate and extends from the batter’s knees to the bottom of his shoulders. The home plate umpire stands behind the catcher and rules whether each pitch is in the strike zone. As such, the strike zone tends to be somewhat subjective.

    Strikeout - This occurs when a batter has three strikes in a single plate appearance. The third strike must be either a called strike, a swing-and-miss or a foul tip.

    Submarine - An uncommon style of pitching in which the pitcher drops his elbow down so that his throwing motion is such that he releases the ball from below his waist.

    Suicide squeeze - A squeeze play (see above) in which the runner on third base runs towards home plate as the pitcher delivers the pitch. The suicide squeeze is rare, and is so named because, if the batter is unable to bunt the ball, the runner that was on third base is likely to be caught in the baseline and tagged out.

    Sweet spot - The contact point on the bat that creates the hardest hits.

    Switch hitter - Term for a batter that is able to hit both right handed and left handed. Typically, a switch hitter will bat left handed when facing a right-handed pitcher, and right handed when facing a left-handed pitcher.

T

    Tag - The act of a defensive player touching a runner with the ball or with his glove while in possession of the ball.

    Tag up - Base runners are not allowed to safely advance on a batted ball until the ball touches the ground or is caught by a fielder. A runner tags up when he waits for a fielder to catch a fly ball before attempting to advance to the next base.

    Take - Term for when a batter does not swing at a pitched ball.

    Team - A group of players. In baseball, teams must consist of at least nine players.

    The Black - A term used to describe the thin strip of black leather that runs along the circumference of home plate. A pitch that barely hits the edge of the strike zone is said to be “on the black.”

    Third base - The base located along the left side foul line, and the third one a batter touches when running counterclockwise around the bases. Third base is also a defensive position, in which the third baseman plays near the base.

    Tools of ignorance - Slang term for catcher’s equipment, used because of the physical punishment the catcher often endures.

    Touch 'em all - Slang term used when a batter hits a home run (as in, touch all the bases).

    Triple - A hit in which the batter is able to reach third base safely without the aid of an error or fielder’s choice.

    Triple play - A single defensive play in which three outs are recorded. Triple plays are very rare.

    Twin killing - Slang term for a double play.

U

    Umpire - The official of a baseball game. In most cases, multiple umpires are assigned to a game depending on the level of play. The umpire’s job is to rule on balls and strikes, force outs, tag plays and fair/foul balls.

    Uncle charlie - Slang term for a good curveball

    Unearned run - A run that occurs as the result of a defensive error.

W

    Walk - Another term for a base on balls. It occurs after four balls are thrown in a single plate appearance.

    Walk-off - Term to describe a run-scoring play that ends a game. Walk-offs occur when the home team scores to take the lead in the bottom of the last inning, ending the game, and leaving its opponent to “walk off” the field.

    Warning track - The dirt strip that runs along the length of the outfield fence beyond the outfield grass and in front of the home run fence. Warning tracks are used to let an outfielder tracking a fly ball know when he is approaching the fence.

    Wheelhouse - A batter’s power zone; the location where a batter wants the ball to be pitched.

    WHIP - A pitching statistic computed as (Walks + Hits) per Innings Pitched. It is used to measure how many base runners a pitcher typically allows.

    Wild card - Term used in Major League Baseball to describe a team that does not win its division or league, but qualifies for the playoffs on the strength of having the best record of the non-division winners.

    Wild pitch - A pitched ball that gets away from the catcher, allowing the runner(s) to advance a base. A wild pitch is ruled (as opposed to a passed ball) when the scorekeeper deems that the catcher could not have caught the ball with ordinary effort.

    Win - To be victorious in a game by scoring more runs than the other team in the designated number of innings. A win is also a pitching statistic. A pitcher earns a win if he is the pitcher of record when the game becomes official and his team takes a lead that ultimately leads to a victory.

    Wind up - One of two legal positions in which a pitcher stands before delivering a pitch. The pitcher stands on the rubber facing home plate and typically steps back with one foot, kicks his front leg into the air and projects his throwing arm forward. Pitchers usually use the wind-up with no runners on base, because it takes longer to deliver a pitch. Many pitchers are more comfortable pitching from the wind-up position.

Check out this Baseball glossary to find the sport-specific definitions for which you have been looking. From A to Z, we've got all the words covered.
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