Some Baseball Slang Terms Explained
Read below to find out what these baseball slang terms mean.
At 'em ball -- A ball hit right at a defensive player.
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.
Bases drunk -- Bases loaded.
Bazooka -- Strong throwing arm. "He's got a bazooka."
Big show -- The major leagues.
Bush league -- Lesser minor-league teams in small cities or
Catch napping -- To surprise a less than alert runner with the
result that he is picked off or suddenly caught between bases.
Chin music -- A beanball or knockdown pitch that passes close to
the batter's jaw.
Circus catch -- A spectacular catch, suggesting the moves of a
Crackerjack -- Term used to describe a first-rate or spectacular
player or team.
Curtain call -- The practice of a player coming out of the dugout
to acknowledge the call of the fans, usually after a home run.
Deuce -- The curveball, usually signaled from a catcher to a
pitcher by holding down two fingers.
Dying quail -- A batted ball that drops suddenly and
unexpectedly, like a bird that has been shot on the wing.
Fence buster -- A heavy hitter.
Free pass -- Base on balls.
Friendly confines -- Descriptive of many home ballparks, but most
often used to describe Wrigley Field.
Glass arm -- A sore throwing or pitching arm.
Golden Sombrero -- A batter who strikes out four times in the
same game is said to wear the golden sombrero.
Goose egg -- A zero on the scoreboard.
Gopher ball -- A pitch destined to be hit for a home run; one
that will "go for" a run.
Guess hitter -- Batter who tries to anticipate or out-guess the
pitcher based on the situation at hand.
"Hit 'em where they ain't'' -- Rallying cry for batters through
the decades since 1897, when Wee Willie Keeler hit .432. Asked
how a man of his size could put together such an average, Keeler
responded: "Simple. I keep my eyes clear and I hit 'em where they
Hot stove league -- Term for the gab, gossip and debate that
takes place during the winter months when baseball is idle.
Iron glove -- Sloppy fielding; prone to errors.
Lollipop -- A soft pitch or weak throw.
Mendoza line -- Figurative boundary in the batting averages
between those batters hitting above and below .215, Mario
Mendoza's career average.
Picasso -- A control pitcher; one who paints the black.
Platter -- Home plate.
Play by the book -- To play in accord with the conventional
wisdom of the game.
Pow wow -- A meeting on the playing field, usually involving
several players and a coach who has come on to the field to talk
Punch-and-Judy -- Said of a hitter who tends to hit well-placed
but weakly-hit balls for singles. The first reference was made by
former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Walter Alston when asked about
a home run by Willie McCovey of the San Francisco Giants. "When
he belts a home run, he does it with such authority it seems like
an act of God. You can't cry about it. He's not a Punch and Judy
Rhubarb -- A ruckus with the umpires; confusion; a fight between
Right down Broadway -- A pitch that is delivered in the middle of
the strike zone.
Room service -- Term describing a pitch or batted ball that comes
right to a defensive player.
Shoestring catch -- A catch made by a running fielder just before
the ball hits the ground.
Texas Leaguer -- A poorly hit ball that loops meekly over the
infield and lands for a hit.
Tools of ignorance -- The catcher's paraphernalia: shinguards,
chest protector, helmet, mask and glove.
Twin killing -- Double play.
Warning track power -- The ability of a batter with enough
strength to hit a ball to the warning track, but not enough to
hit a home run.
Whiff -- For a pitcher to strike out a batter.
Whitewash -- To shut out a team.
Worm burner -- Batted ball that moves across the ground hard and
Baseball Slang Terms Explained