Baseball Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand  

Paul Nyhart
10.6k votes 715 voters 18.7k views 60 items

List Rules Vote up the items that are the most unique to the game and what you believe TRUE baseball fans should be familiar with.

These are the most timeless sayings and phrases popularized by the game of baseball. Some of these sayings have trickled their way into the mainstream as everyday metaphors, others are about as inside baseball as it gets.

This is the proverbial list that divides the casual baseball observer from the true fan who understands the nuances of America's pastime. 


list ordered by
1
305 31
Squeeze is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Squeeze
A sacrifice bunt with a runner on third base. The batter bunts the ball, expecting to be thrown out at first base, but providing the runner on third base an opportunity to score.
2
343 48
Balk is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Balk
An illegal motion made by a pitcher that may deceive a base runner and which is penalized by advancing the runner(s) one base.
3
335 56
Bush-League is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Bush-League

Another way of saying pitiful, below average. Not cool. 

Examples include bunting to get on base to break up a no hitter or stealing a base when you're up by 8 or more runs. 
4
220 24
Around the Horn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
stuthehistoryguy added Around the Horn

An informal ritual where the infielders throw the ball around the diamond after an infield out when there are no runners on base.

5
293 50
Walk-Off is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Walk-Off
Scoring the winning run in the bottom of the 9th or extra inning which ends the game.
6
227 34
Southpaw is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Southpaw
A left-handed pitcher: based on the orientation of early baseball fields to the same points of the compass, such that the pitcher's left arm was on the “south” side of his body.
7
264 48
Knuckler is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Knuckler
Short for "knuckleball" - a pitch thrown with no rotation or spin on the ball causing it to have an unpredictable trajectory.
8
213 34
Hanger is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Hanger
A breaking ball with very little movement, resulting in it "hanging" over the plate (and usually hit very hard.)
9
241 44
Backdoor Breaking Ball is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Backdoor Breaking Ball

When a pitcher breaks a ball from the opposite end of the batter's box to hit the outside corner.

Frontdoor breaking ball is when it breaks over the inside of the plate, hence going through the player's "front door." 

10
267 59
Pepper is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Pepper

A game that features several players casually tossing a ball to a hitter who lightly hits the ball back to them.

A warm-up that often is described as "playing pepper."
11
277 67
Mendoza Line is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Mendoza Line

When a player's batting average is below .200.

Derived from the Mexican shortstop from the 1950's Mario Mendoza, even though Mendoza had a career batting average of .215...
12
229 51
Can of Corn is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Can of Corn
When a outfield catches an easy, lazy fly ball. Originated from grocers who used to knock a can of corn off the top shelf and catch it easily with their aprons. 
13
233 54
In The Hole is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
In The Hole
The batter who proceeds the man on-deck. Named as they usually stand on the first step or the "hole" of the dugout.
14
183 34
Five-Tool Player is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Five-Tool Player
A position player who excels in every aspect of the game: running speed, throwing arm strength, defensive ability, hitting for a high average and power (typically homeruns.)
15
140 21
Warning Track Power is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
damian-p- added Warning Track Power
A batter who has enough strength to put a charge into a fly ball, but not enough to get the ball over the fence. An almost-slugger.
16
178 37
Charging the Mound is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Charging the Mound
A batter assaulting the pitcher after being hit by a pitch, usually followed by a brawl involving all the players.
17
194 46
Bloop is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
analise.dubner added Bloop
A weak fly ball that is not caught.
18
161 32
Rubber Arm is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Rubber Arm
A pitcher who can throw many pitches without tiring and pitch consecutive days with the same effectiveness.
19
152 29
Beanball is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Beanball
A pitch intentionally thrown to hit the batter if he does not move out of the way, especially when directed at the head (or the "bean" in old-fashioned slang.)
20
189 52
Pulled the string is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Pulled the string
When a pitcher throws a slow pitch after a series of fastballs. Pulls the string as if "winding the player up" and then letting go of or "pulling the string." 
21
139 28
Four Bagger is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Four Bagger
Home run.
22
140 30
Bullpen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Bullpen
A designated area outside of the playing field or in foul territory where pitchers warm-up before entering the game.
23
167 49
Cheese is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Cheese
Another word for a fastball. Derived from the belief that cheese/cheddar is "the good stuff." 
24
121 25
Hurler is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Hurler
A pitcher.
25
141 42
Ground Ball With Eyes is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
analise.dubner added Ground Ball With Eyes
A routine ground ball that finds the hole in the infield.