19th Century Terms

When you come to one of our games (or maybe you’re a player), you may hear some of the terms below.  They are the early language that ball players used when the game first started.  Below you’ll see terms and their modern meanings under the year they were introduced.

1800         Round Ball                Name for various early versions of base ball

1817         Base Ball                   The game spelled with two words

1836         Bleacher Boards      Bench seating in the outfield

1840         New York Game       The style of baseball we see today

1845         Ace                              Score a run, reference to a gaming card

1845         Baulk                           Interuption of hurler’s motion

1845         Ball                               Round sphere used in the game

1845        Ball Club                       Baseball team

1845        Ball Club                       Baseball bat

1845        Base                              The bag to which a player must run

1845        Bat                                 Wooden stick used to hit the ball

1845        Behind                          Catcher

1845        Fair Foul Hit                  Ball first hit fair then goes foul-playable until 1876

1845        First Base                     To the right of and 90′ from home plate

1845        Foul                               Hit ball landing outside the diamond area

1845        Foul Strike                   Foul ball counted as a strike against the batter

1845        Foul Tick                        Foul Ball, Knickerbocker rules

1845        Four Aces                      Grand slam home run

1845        Hand                              A turn at bat, reference to card game hand

1845        Hand Out                      Out, Mid 19th century

1845        Inning                            Turn at bat

1845        Knickerbocker rules    Codified club rules that defined the NY game

1845        Lemon Peel                   Type of a baseball

1845        Match                             Game(s) between clubs

1845        On the Bound               Caught on one bounce for an out

1845        Out                                  Batter or baserunner retired, 3 outs to a side

1845        Pitch                                Underhand toss

1845        Runner                            Baserunner

1845        Score Keeper                 Official scorer and assistant to the umpire

1845        Second Base                   The middle base

1845        Strike                                To swing and miss, call by umpire

1845        Tallykeeper                     Scorekeeper, Knickerbocker rules

1845        Throw                               To propel the baseball

1845        Tip                                     A ball that glances off the bat

1845        Umpire                             Official in a baseball game, Knickerbocker

1850        Revolver                           Player who changes clubs frequently

1851        Whitewash                       Unable to score

1854        Center Field                      Middle of outfield

1854        Home                                Home Plate

1854        Left Field                            Left side of outfield

1854        Pitcher                               Hurler, Puts ball in play

1854        Right Fielder                     Right side of outfield

1854        Run                                     A complete circuit of bases

1854        Short Field                         Modern day shortstop

1854        Striker                                 Batter

1854       Striker to the Line              Batter Up

1854       Take                                     Refrain from swinging at a pitch

1854       Third Base                           Follows first and second bases

1855        Scout                                   Outfielder

1855        Silver Ball                            Game ball or special trophy given to the winner

1855        Short Scout                        Shortstop

1856        Batsman                              In baseball, the striker

1856        National Pastime              Common term applied to baseball

1856        Tie Game                            Equal score

1857        Bag                                      Base

1857        Spikes                                 Projection on player’s shoes to improve traction

1858        Base on Balls                     Walk, advance to first base

1858        Diamond                            Infield

1858        Double Play                       Two outs in one play off one ball

1858       Infield                                   Diamond

1858       Left on Base                        Runners still on base at the end of an inning

1858       Murder’s Row                     A lineup of power hitters

1858       NABBP                                 National Association of Base Ball Players (to 1870)

1858      Play                                       To field a ball

1858      Position                                 A player’s assigned place on the field

1858      Rally                                       A scoring splurge

1858      Rap                                        To hit a ball sharply

1858      Score                                     To touch home plate for a run

1858      Short                                     Shortstop

1858      Single                                     A base hit

1858      Tally                                        Score a run

1859      Arbiter                                    Umpire

1859     Muffins                                    Second rate team, worst players in club

1859     On the Fly                               Caught for an out

1859      Shortstop                              Player between 2B and 3B

1860     Athletics                                  Oldest continuous use of a baseball team name

1860      Fly Ball                                    Hit in the air

1860      Foul Ball                                 Ball hit outside of the fair area

1860      Ground Ball                          Ball hit that stays on the ground

1860      Grounder                              Ground Ball

1860      Grounds                                 The area where a club plays its matches

1860      Home Base                            Iron circular plate until 1869

1860      In the Field                             Team playing on defense, Possibly nautical

1860      Lick                                          A time at bat

1860     Manliness                               Term reserved for an efficient player

1860      Nine                                         A baseball team

1860      Picked Nine                            Local All Star or traveling club

1860      Portsider                                Left handed player or pitcher

1860      Put out                                    To cause a baserunner to be out

1860      Station                                     Bases, bags, playing position

1861      Batting                                     Up at bat

1861      Cover                                        To protect a base

1861      Drive                                        Ball hit hard between players

1861      Fence                                       Boundary surrounding the field of play

1861      Foul Tip                                   Ball glances off bat directly towards catcher

1861      Home Run                               A four base hit

1861      Loose Fielding                        Mistake, Poor fielding, Out of Control ball

1861      Passed Ball                             Pitched ball the catcher cannot handle

1861      Pitch                                         Delivery of the ball to the batter

1861      Relieve                                     Relief pitcher

1861      Sky Rocket                              Ball hit high in to the air

1861      Twist                                         Curve ball

1861      Whizzer                                     A fastmoving ball

1861      Wild Throw                              Lack of accuracy

1862      Air Ball                                      Hit a ball in to the air, fly ball

1862      Ballplayer                                 A base ball player

1862       Blank                                        Unable to score

1862       Catch Napping                        Runner picked off by surprise

1862      Fly                                              Outs not made on the bound

1862      Handle                                      End of the bat

1862      Hit                                              A battled ball allowing the batter to reach safely

1862      Muckle                                      Determination

1862      One Two Three                        Inning where first 3 batters are retired

1862      Over Pitch                                Pitch overhand or a wild pitch

1862      Peg                                             Long, powerful and accurate throw

1862      Second                                      Second Base

1862      Skunk                                        Shutout

1862      Skyer                                         High fly ball hit in to the air

1862     Steal                                           To achieve a stolen base

1862     Strike Out                                   An out made when a batter gets 3 strikes

1862     Up                                               Player at bat

1862     Work                                           To play in a game

1863     Arm                                              Player’s throwing arm

1863     Chaffing                                       To complain about an umpire’s decision, fine

1863     Cut Off                                         Field ball cleanly, relay ball in from outfield

1863      Go Out                                        To be credited with a hit

1863     Sky Ball                                         A ball hit very high

1863     Trap                                             To catch a runner between bases

1863     Turn                                              A time at bat

1864      Side                                              A team

1864     Stop                                             A defensive play on a batted ground ball

1865     Assist                                            Field ball cleanly, contributing to an out

1865    Ball Field                                       Playing area

1865    Base Ball Feaver                          Epidemic Spread of the Game

1865    Bring In                                          To score a runner

1865    Draw A Blank                               Unable to score

1865     Infielder                                        Defensive player

1865     One Hand Catch                          Fielder using one hand to catch the ball

1865     Outcurve                                       Curve ball

1865     Outfield                                         Playing the field most distant from the diamond

1865     Pace                                               Movement and speed at which a pitcher works

1865     Safe hit                                          A base hit

1866     Baby Hit                                         Bunt, not popular until 1876

1866     Ballist                                             Ball player

1866     Called                                             Game that has been stopped prematurely

1866     Daisy Cutter                                  Ground Ball

1866     Deliver                                            Pitch the ball

1866     Knock                                              The hit the ball

1866      Line                                                 Foul line, pitcher’s line, base line

1866     Lot                                                    Baseball park

1866     National Game                               Name for Base Ball at the end of the Civil War

1866     Play for the Grandstand               To showoff

1866     Regular Player                                 A player who participates in most of a club’s games

1866     Series                                                A set of scheduled games against 2 clubs

1866      Slide                                                 To avoid a tag by a baserunner on the ground

1866     Underhand                                      Pitch released below the belt

1866     Walk                                                  Base on balls

1867     Chance                                              An opportunity to perform well

1867     Corker                                               A good player

1867    Draw Game                                       A tie

1867     Fungo                                                Repetitive practice hits and fielding

1867     Goose Egg                                        Unable to score, zeros

1867     High Flyer                                         Sky high fly ball

1867     Host Team                                        Home club

1867     Hot                                                     Ball thrown very fast

1867     On Deck                                             Next batter,

1867     Pop Up                                              High ball close to the infield

1867     Punish                                               To hit a pitcher hard

1867    Red Hot Ball                                       A ball that is hit hard

1867    Rig                                                       Uniform, (cricket term)

1867    Support                                              Fielding aid to a pitcher

1867    Tripple Play                                        Three outs in on play off one ball

1868    Battery                                                Catcher and Pitcher

1868    Blinder                                                Shutout

1868     Chance of Pace                                change up

1868    Freeze                                                 Field the ball cleanly

1868    Grass Clipper                                     Ground ball

1868    Jupe Pluvius                                        Rain

1868    Life                                                      Another chance to bat

1868    Nip                                                       To retire a batter on a close play

1868    Playing The Points                            Skilled player

1868    Scrub Nine                                        A team of rookies

1868    Skimmer                                             Ground ball

1868    Stick                                                     Bat

1868     Stinger                                               Hard hit ball

1868    Stunner                                              Key base hit, hard hit

1868     Sucker                                                Blooper

1868     Team                                                 The entire uniformed membership

1868    Timber                                                Baseball bat

1868    Utility Player                                      Substitute Player

1869    Clubhouse                                         Team’s meeting room, locker room

1869     Dead Ball                                           A ball not in play

1869      Force                                                  To cause a base runner out

1869     Garden                                               Outfield

1869     Gate Money                                       Money collected from admissions

1869     Hammer                                             To hit well against a pitcher

1869     Hug                                                      First or third basemen playing close to the line

1869    Muff                                                       To make a mistake, error

1869    Purloin                                                  To steal a base

1869    Seventh Inning Stretch                       To stand up by spectators between halves of an inning

1869    Timothy Trimmer                                 Daisy cutter, grounder

1870     Atlantic Luck                                         Good fortune

1870      Chicago                                                 Shutout for 9 innings

1870     Grandstand                                         Main seating area at a park behind box seats

1870      Heavy Hitter                                        A player who strikes the ball hard

1870     Lively Ball                                             A ball that seems to have more response to it

1870     Round                                                    An inning

1870     Season Ticket                                       A pass good for admission to all games in a season

1870     Spalding Guide Player                         One who executes perfectly

1870     Three Sacker                                         Tripple

1870     Trimmer                                                 Ground Ball

1870      Willow                                                    Bat

1871    Polish Off                                                To defeat an opponent

1871    Ash                                                            Bat

1871    Back Stop                                                Screen behind home plate

1871   Liner                                                          Line drive

1871   Whip                                                          A championship pennant

1873    Gobble                                                     To field a ball

1873    Juggle                                                         Mistake

1873    Pound                                                       To hit a ball hard

1874    Ant Killer                                                  Ground Ball

1874    Bug Bruiser                                              Ground Ball

1874    Exhibition Game                                     Game that does not count in the standings

1874    Face                                                           To come to bat

1874    Foul Bound                                               Foul ball caught on the bounce for an out

1874    Gather In                                                  The field a batted ball

1874    Life                                                             Base on balls

1874    Muffer                                                        A rookie player

1874    Mug A Ball                                                 Mistake

1874    Retire the Side                                         Achieving 3 outs

1874    Sell Out                                                      To throw a game

1874    Spheroid                                                    The baseball

1874    Tip Foul                                                       A ball that glances off the bat and goes foul

1874    Wide                                                            A called ball

1875    Chin Music                                                  Arguing withe the umpire, snoring, pitcher hits batters jaw

1875    Pick Up                                                        The act of fielding a low hit ball

(more to come!….)

Many thanks to Rich D’Ambrisi for the research.  Primary source Dickson Base Ball Dictionary



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