Baseball Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand  

Paul Nyhart
6.7k votes 508 voters 15.1k 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
171 23
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
208 37
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
208 44
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
102 12
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
177 39
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
174 39
Pepper is listed (or ranked) 6 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."

7
185 49
Mendoza Line is listed (or ranked) 7 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...

8
125 24
Southpaw is listed (or ranked) 8 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.

9
148 35
In The Hole is listed (or ranked) 9 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.

10
158 42
Knuckler is listed (or ranked) 10 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.

11
120 25
Hanger is listed (or ranked) 11 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.)

12
144 37
Backdoor Breaking Ball is listed (or ranked) 12 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." 

13
140 42
Can of Corn is listed (or ranked) 13 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. 

14
104 26
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
122 36
Pulled the string is listed (or ranked) 15 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." 

16
118 37
Bloop is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
analise.dubner added Bloop A weak fly ball that is not caught.

17
92 23
Rubber Arm is listed (or ranked) 17 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.

18
102 30
Charging the Mound is listed (or ranked) 18 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.

19
84 21
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
69 15
Warning Track Power is listed (or ranked) 20 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.

21
104 37
Cheese is listed (or ranked) 21 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." 

22
82 27
Golden Sombrero is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Golden Sombrero

When a player strikes out 4 times in the same game. 

Platinum sombrero is 5 times. 

23
86 31
Texas Leaguer is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
Texas Leaguer A pop up that barely clears the infield and falls into the shallow outfield for a base hit. As if aided by the "Texas wind".

24
86 32
Ground Ball With Eyes is listed (or ranked) 24 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.

25
79 28
Tablesetter is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Phrases Only True Baseball Fans Understand
muzziac added Tablesetter A player placed high in the batting order for his tendency to get on base and steal bases.