Slang Terms for Baseball Players

101 Slang Terms for Baseball Players

Here’s a list of 101 slang terms for baseball players to use on the field.  Baseball is a sort of wacky sport, so it’s only fitting that it would have so many slang terms for players, equipment or game situations.

Slang Terms Used To Describe Individuals

  1. Five tool player: a playerhas exceptional running and fielding skills, has a strong throwing arm and can hit for power and average
  2. Battery: term for a pitcher and catcher
  3. Field general: catcher
  4. Backstop: catcher
  5. Hot corner: third base
  6. Southpaw: left-handed throwing player
  7. Punch and Judy hitter: singles hitter
  8. Slap hitter: term for a batter who doesn’t take a full swing
  9. Table setter: leadoff hitter or a hitter who gets on base before the best hitters
  10. In the hole: the batter behind the batter on deck
  11. Ride the pine: sitting on the bench
  12. Cup of coffee: spending a little time in the Major Leagues
  13. Blue: umpire

Slang Terms for Pitches or Pitchers

  1. Heater or bring the heat: fastball
  2. Ol’ number one: fastball
  3. Cheese: fastball that is hard to hit
  4. BB’s: when a pitcher is throwing hard to hit fastballs
  5. Cannon: term used when a player has a strong throwing arm
  6. Deuce: curveball
  7. Uncle Charlie: curveball
  8. Hammer: good curveball
  9. Pulled the string: more commonly known as a good change-up.  
  10. Eephus pitch: a low-speed junk pitch thrown to disrupt the hitter
  11. Chin music: a pitch that is thrown up around the batter’s head
  12. High and tight: a pitched ball thrown around the head of the batter
  13. Brush back: a pitch that moves the batter away from the plate
  14. Painting: when a pitcher is throwing on all corners of the plate
  15. Bean: when the batter is hit by a pitch
  16. Four fingers: intentional walk
  17. Free pass: intentional walk
  18. Payoff pitch: 3 balls 2 strikes pitch
  19. Backwards k: called third strike
  20. Stretch: when the pitcher is pitching with a runner on base
  21. Fireman: typically a team’s last or closing pitcher, but can also be a pitcher that comes into a game to stop the large amount of scoring from the opposing team
  22. Ace: team’s best pitcher
  23. Meat: an easy to hit pitcher
  24. Rubber arm: pitcher’s arm that never seems to get tired
  25. No-no: no hitter
  26. The hook: when a pitcher is taken out of the game

Slang Terms for Plays Made or Errors

  1. O’lay: when an infielder doesn’t get in front of a ball and misses it
  2. Through the wickets: when a ball goes through a players legs
  3. Draw him a map: when a defensive player has trouble finding the ball
  4. Barnum and Bailey: player has trouble fielding a ball and looks like he might be part of a circus act
  5. Airmail: when a player throws the ball way over the head of the intended player
  6. Boot: an error
  7. Shoestring catch: when a player makes a catch right before the ball touches the ground
  8. Pick: when a player catches a ball on a short hop
  9. Twin killing: double play

Slang Terms for Home Runs

  1. Round tripper
  2. Grand salami: grand slam home run, 4 runs
  3. Went yard
  4. Dong
  5. Tater

Slang Terms for Hits

  1. Pea rod: a ball hit on a line drive
  2. Frozen rope: a line drive hit
  3. On the screws: hard hit ball
  4. Bullet: hard hit ball
  5. Hot potato: hard hit ball
  6. Texas leaguer: a softly hit ball that falls in for a hit
  7. Gopher ball: a ball that takes an odd bounce as in hitting a gopher or gopher hole.  It was brought to my attention that “go for” ball can also mean home run.
  8. Dying Quail: a ball that falls into play as a hit
  9. Gapper: a ball hit between two outfielders
  10. Chopper: a ball hit that takes a hard bounce toward the fielder
  11. Knock: base hit
  12. Swing for the fences: when a batter swings hard to try to hit a home run
  13. Warning track power: when a batter almost hits a home run, but is either caught before going over the fence or falls in for a hit right before going out
  14. Seeing eye: when a batted ball seems to find a secret way to be a hit
  15. Suicide squeeze: when the runner from third base breaks for home and the batter tries to bunt the pitch
  16. Choke and poke: choke up on the bat and try to hit it through the infield
  17. Bagger: any hit, depending on how many bases the hitter gets; for example, two bagger would be a double
  18. Cycle: when a batter hits a single, double, triple and home run in the same game
  19. Ribbie: run batted in
  20. Wheelhouse: slang term for hitter power zone
  21. Sawed off: when the ball hits near the handle of the bat
  22. Can of corn: easy fly ball resulting in an easy out
  23. Mendoza Line: when a player has a batting average below .200

Slang Terms for Baseball Equipment or Field

  1. The bump: pitcher’s mound
  2. Rubber: the white piece of rubber on the pitcher’s mound
  3. Dish:home plate
  4. Leather:glove
  5. Gamer: glove
  6. Pill: a baseball
  7. Darth Vader mask: term for the protective cup a player wears
  8. Alley way: slang term for the area between outfielders in the outfield
  9. Yard: another name for the baseball field, exampleTropicana Field

Slang Terms for Other Baseball Events

Baseball Slang Terms: Pickle
cseward / People Photos / CC BY-NC-ND

  1. Small ball: when a team uses a lot of bunting and hit and runs
  2. Bush league: when a team does or says something negative towards the other team
  3. Rhubarb: a scuffle between teams
  4. Circle up: team stretching
  5. Around the horn: throwing the ball around from third base to second to first
  6. Slump buster: when a player is going through a rough patch, they try to find luck in something
  7. Ducks on the pond: runners on base
  8. Juiced bases: runners on all bases
  9. Hot box: fielders chasing a runner between bases
  10. Pickle: when a runner is caught in between two bases
  11. Free 90: either a walk or when there is a pass ball and the runner advances to the next base
  12. Goosed or goose egg: shutout or scoring no runs in an inning
  13. Golden sombrero: striking out four times in a game
  14. Hat trick: striking out three times in a game
  15. Whiff: when a batter swings and misses the ball
  16. Key holed: when an umpire is being very picky when calling a pitchers strikes

 Fans can now relate when they hear some of  the slang terms for baseball players used during the course of the season.


16 thoughts on “Slang Terms for Baseball Players

  1. Brendan Post author

    Great question! I’ve only heard the term “marble game” used twice in baseball.

    There is a baseball board game that is played with holes marking the different scenarios in baseball ie, home run, triple, double, single and outs.

    One way the term was used is when the team batting seems to find holes where the fielders aren’t. For example, there might be multiple hits during a game that fall between the left fielder and the shortstop. Just out of reach from both players, causing frustration for the team in the field. Like the marble falling into one of the holes on the board.

    The other way I’ve heard the term is just calling the baseball a marble. Like pearl or pea.

    I hope this helps.

    Thanks a lot for the question.

  2. K

    I was a 2 year single A pitcher. I am trying to prove to my wife the ridiculous sayings in baseball and noticed an incorrect statement. Pull the string is actually referring to a change-up not a good curveball. The process of “painting the fence” while throwing the change-up allows the ball to contact the fingers longer produces the “slow-down” perception hence pull the string.

    1. Brendan Post author

      K, very good call. I will add that to my description. The reference I made comes from when I was a kid and the movement of yo-yo tricks compared to curve.

      Thanks again for the reply.

  3. Brendan Post author

    I had a question about the term gopher ball and that it might mean home run or touching all four bases, “go four” instead of gopher. Merriam Webster might be correct, for a “go four” ball, but my experience is more for the rodent gopher. I played college ball and given it was only NAIA, some of my teammates referred to an odd bounce as hitting either a gopher or a gopher hole.

    I will do more digging on “go four”. No pun intended.

  4. w b stevens

    In Bull Durham Kevin Kostner has a speech listing a number tainted hits that would raise a hitter’s average from 250 to over 300. I was familiar with most but I think was a “garp” or something like that. Can you look up the phrases used and define them.
    PS was Ron Shelton accurate

  5. Brendan Post author

    W B,

    This is one of the classic scenes in Bull Durham. Crash, played by Kevin Costner, goes off about how a player can get lucky and make it to the Major Leagues.

    Just one more hit a week. Basically, he says if you can get 25 more hits in 500 at-bats, a batter can go from hitting .250 to .300. Hitting .300 would then send them to Yankee Stadium. The terms he used were, flair, gork, ground ball with eyes and dying quail. All four of the terms mean that the batter gets a lucky hit. The ball just seems to go where the defense isn’t with a little help from the baseball gods.

    As for the accuracy of Director Ron Shelton, I think he was pretty spot on the terms. If I not mistaken, I think Mr. Shelton had played some amateur baseball.

    Thank a lot for the question. I hope this helped.

  6. Trevor

    K mentioned “Painting the Fence” which reminds me of a good one, “Painting the Black”. This is when a pitcher is just barely catching the edges of the plate for strikes. If you look at home plate, the top is white, but it has small ridges on all sides that are black, hence, “Painting the Black”. Pitchers that paint the black regularly can also be termed as, “Living on the Edge” or “Living on the Corners”. I’ve always liked that one, because it reminds us all that it doesn’t just take sheer power to be a good pitcher, but finesse and good command can be equally, if not more effective…

    1. Brendan Post author

      Great question.

      Deuces wild is a term used for 2 out 2 strikes and 2 balls. There’s teams and/or players that see this count as a jinx, so they will have some sort of trick against it. Most teams (batting) will take their hats off (in the dugout) and shake them as the pitch is being thrown. If the count remains the same due to a foul ball, the team can/will place their hats back on their heads before shaking them again. Sort of a way of re-triggering the reverse jinx.

  7. Schadenfreudian

    I seem to have an irrational hatred for these terms, especially delivered by the Washington Nationals game announcers:

    – Center cut (why not just say “down the middle?”)
    – Slide piece (Bob Carpenter’s like so totally cool when he tosses in this term that no one else uses for a slider)
    – Tater (FP Santangelo’s favorite adolescent slang for home run)
    – Shtrike (uh, there’s no “h” for a pitch in the zone)
    – Features (the types of pitches thrown)
    – Offers (sometimes it’s a pitch, sometimes it’s a swing/check swing)
    – Uni (a uniform)
    – ‘ts good stuff (a term FP adds to a commentary that adds nothing to the commentary)
    – Game on! (well, if they’re still playing, I guess it IS on)
    – Knock (described above, FP appears to allergic to the old stand-by “base hit.” Perhaps the word “knock” establishes the announcer as being awesomely amazing)

    I wish announcers would just speak plain, succinct English…yet I know it’s hopeless to change them because being hip is more important than clear speech.

  8. baseball bro

    When you are fielding and you are trying to get someone out at base why and what do they mean when they yell out numbers

  9. Brendan Post author

    Baseball Bro,

    If there’s numbers being used at the play is unfolding, it’s most likely the position number. For example, 4-6-3 would be a double play involving the second baseman, shortstop and first baseman. Or, 1-3 would be play when the ball was hit back to the pitcher and he throws to first for the out. These numbers are also called station numbers and are used primary when keeping a scorecard during a game.

    Hope this helps!

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