200+ Baseball Words: Slang, Jargon, and More

Baseball, America’s beloved pastime, is rich in unique terminology.

From the distinct jargon that players use on the field to the colorful slang fans shout from the stands, baseball language is an integral part of the game’s charm. As a writer with many friends and family members obsessed with baseball, I’ve encountered a wealth of terms that define this sport’s unique culture.

Mega List of Baseball Words

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When it comes to talking about baseball, there are some common categories of words we absolutely need to cover:

  1. Basic Gameplay Terms
  2. Fielding Positions
  3. Batting Terms
  4. Pitching Terms
  5. Base Running Terms
  6. Statistical Terms
  7. Slang and Expressions
  8. Equipment and Gear
  9. Strategy and Tactics
  10. Umpire and Rules

Basic Gameplay Terms

In baseball, understanding the basic gameplay terms is essential, whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro.

These terms lay the foundation of the game, explaining the rules and actions that occur in every inning. They’re the first words you learn as a kid playing catch in the backyard and stay with you throughout your baseball journey.

  1. Ball
  2. Strike
  3. Out
  4. Inning
  5. Home Run
  6. Double
  7. Triple
  8. Error
  9. Walk (Base on Balls)
  10. Hit
  11. Run
  12. RBI (Run Batted In)
  13. Foul Ball
  14. Fair Ball
  15. Bunt
  16. Sacrifice Hit
  17. Grand Slam
  18. Double Play
  19. Triple Play
  20. Flyout

Fielding Positions

Every position on the baseball field has its unique role, contributing to the team’s defense strategy.

From the pitcher, who initiates each play, to the outfielders, who guard against long hits, each position requires specific skills and awareness. Knowing these terms is crucial for understanding how the game unfolds.

  1. Pitcher (P)
  2. Catcher (C)
  3. First Baseman (1B)
  4. Second Baseman (2B)
  5. Third Baseman (3B)
  6. Shortstop (SS)
  7. Left Fielder (LF)
  8. Center Fielder (CF)
  9. Right Fielder (RF)
  10. Utility Player
  11. Relief Pitcher
  12. Closer
  13. Designated Hitter (DH)
  14. Pinch Hitter
  15. Pinch Runner
  16. Starting Pitcher
  17. Middle Reliever
  18. Setup Man
  19. Bullpen
  20. Bench Player

Batting Terms

Batting is an art in baseball, requiring skill, timing, and strategy.

Each term here describes a different aspect of hitting, from the type of swing to the outcome of the batter’s action. Understanding these terms not only enhances your appreciation of the game but also your strategic thinking as a batter.

  1. Swing
  2. Batting Average
  3. Slugging Percentage
  4. On-Base Percentage
  5. Strikeout
  6. Pop Fly
  7. Line Drive
  8. Ground Ball
  9. Home Run
  10. Grand Slam
  11. Bunt
  12. Sacrifice Fly
  13. Pinch Hit
  14. Leadoff Hitter
  15. Cleanup Hitter
  16. Switch Hitter
  17. Designated Hitter
  18. Walk
  19. Hit by Pitch
  20. Strike Zone

Pitching Terms

Pitching is a complex and critical aspect of baseball.

Each term in this category sheds light on the different types of pitches, the strategy behind them, and the role of the pitcher. Mastery of these terms is essential for any pitcher looking to dominate the mound.

  1. Fastball
  2. Curveball
  3. Slider
  4. Changeup
  5. Knuckleball
  6. Sinker
  7. Splitter
  8. Cutter
  9. Four-Seam Fastball
  10. Two-Seam Fastball
  11. Eephus Pitch
  12. Forkball
  13. Screwball
  14. Pickoff
  15. Balk
  16. Wild Pitch
  17. Passed Ball
  18. ERA (Earned Run Average)
  19. Win-Loss Record
  20. Save

Base Running Terms

Base running is about speed, agility, and strategic thinking.

These terms describe the various actions and strategies a player employs while moving around the bases, aiming to score runs for the team. Understanding these terms is crucial for both offensive and defensive gameplay.

  1. Stolen Base
  2. Leadoff
  3. Tag Up
  4. Sliding
  5. Home Steal
  6. Double Steal
  7. Triple Steal
  8. Base Running Error
  9. Pickoff
  10. Rundown
  11. Safe
  12. Out
  13. Extra Base Hit
  14. Pinch Runner
  15. Force Play
  16. Run Down
  17. Advance
  18. Retreat
  19. Score
  20. Home Plate

Statistical Terms

Baseball is a game deeply rooted in statistics.

These terms offer insight into a player’s performance and the game’s outcome. From batting averages to ERA, each statistical measure provides a nuanced understanding of the players’ skills and the game’s dynamics.

  1. Batting Average (BA)
  2. On-Base Percentage (OBP)
  3. Slugging Percentage (SLG)
  4. On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS)
  5. Runs Batted In (RBI)
  6. Earned Run Average (ERA)
  7. Wins Above Replacement (WAR)
  8. Fielding Percentage
  9. Win-Loss Record
  10. Saves
  11. Strikeouts (K)
  12. Walks (BB)
  13. Home Runs Allowed
  14. WHIP (Walks and Hits per Inning Pitched)
  15. Runs Scored (R)
  16. Total Bases
  17. Errors (E)
  18. Stolen Bases (SB)
  19. Caught Stealing (CS)
  20. Innings Pitched (IP)

Slang and Expressions

Baseball slang and expressions add color and character to the game.

These terms, often humorous and metaphorical, reflect the culture and history of baseball. They’re used by players, commentators, and fans alike, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to the experience.

  1. Can of Corn
  2. Southpaw
  3. Bush League
  4. Wheelhouse
  5. Painting the Corners
  6. Bleacher Bums
  7. Chin Music
  8. Golden Sombrero
  9. Goose Egg
  10. Heat
  11. In the Hole
  12. Meatball
  13. Mendoza Line
  14. Moonshot
  15. Pepper
  16. Rhubarb
  17. The Show
  18. Tools of Ignorance
  19. Uncle Charlie
  20. Yakker

Equipment and Gear

The equipment and gear in baseball are as iconic as the game itself.

Each piece, from the bats to the gloves, plays a critical role in the game’s execution. These terms describe the essential items that players use, impacting their performance and safety.

  1. Bat
  2. Ball
  3. Glove
  4. Batting Helmet
  5. Catcher’s Gear
  6. Cleats
  7. Batting Gloves
  8. Uniform
  9. Cap
  10. Catcher’s Mitt
  11. First Baseman’s Glove
  12. Outfield Glove
  13. Infield Glove
  14. Pine Tar
  15. Rosin Bag
  16. Batting Cage
  17. Bullpen
  18. Dugout
  19. Foul Pole
  20. Scoreboard

Strategy and Tactics

Strategy and tactics in baseball involve making decisions that influence the game’s outcome.

From positioning players on the field to deciding when to steal a base, these terms encompass the mental game of baseball, requiring insight, experience, and intuition.

  1. Hit and Run
  2. Bunt
  3. Squeeze Play
  4. Shift
  5. Double Switch
  6. Pinch Hitter
  7. Designated Hitter
  8. Relief Pitching
  9. Closer
  10. Setup Man
  11. Bullpen Management
  12. Stealing Signs
  13. Platoon System
  14. Intentional Walk
  15. Pitch Count
  16. Playing the Percentages
  17. Defensive Indifference
  18. Sacrifice Bunt
  19. Suicide Squeeze
  20. No-Double Defense

Umpire and Rules

Umpires enforce the rules of baseball, ensuring fair play.

Understanding the terms related to umpires and the rules is crucial for players, coaches, and fans. These terms explain the regulatory aspects of the game, including the roles of different umpires and key rules.

  1. Strike Zone
  2. Ball
  3. Strike
  4. Safe
  5. Out
  6. Fair Ball
  7. Foul Ball
  8. Balk
  9. Interference
  10. Obstruction
  11. Checked Swing
  12. Infield Fly Rule
  13. Ground Rule Double
  14. Tagging Up
  15. Force Play
  16. Appeal Play
  17. Batter’s Box
  18. Catcher’s Box
  19. Dugout
  20. Warning Track

Here is a good video about baseball words:

YouTube Video by Adam’s English LessonsBaseball Words

Baseball Word FAQ

Here are some common inquiries about baseball words and their answers.

What is the last batter called?

The last batter in the lineup is often referred to as the “anchor” or “cleanup hitter.”

This term, however, is more commonly associated with the fourth batter, known for their ability to “clean up” the bases by driving in runs. The last batter, typically the ninth in the order, is usually not as strong offensively.

Their position in the lineup is strategic, often providing a breather before the lineup turns over back to the stronger hitters.

What is the slang for hitting a homerun?

Hitting a homerun has several slang terms, one of the most popular being “going yard.”

This phrase implies the batter has hit the ball out of the ballpark, or “yard.” Other common terms include “dinger,” “round-tripper,” and “four-bagger.” These expressions capture the excitement and significance of one of baseball’s most thrilling events.

What is the slang for curveball?

In baseball slang, a curveball is often called “Uncle Charlie.”

This term is used to describe a pitch that curves dramatically as it approaches the batter, making it difficult to hit. The origin of this term is unclear, but it’s widely used among players and fans to refer to an effective, well-thrown curveball.

What are slang terms for hitting a baseball?

Slang terms for hitting a baseball include “swatting,” “smacking,” “blasting,” and “ripping.”

These terms often describe powerful and effective hits. “Swatting” implies a strong, quick hit, while “smacking” suggests a solid contact with the ball.

“Blasting” is usually used for particularly long or powerful hits, and “ripping” indicates a sharp, fast hit, typically for line drives.

What are baseball fans called?

Baseball fans are colloquially known as “baseball buffs,” “ball fans,” or simply “fans.”

In certain contexts, especially in the context of specific teams, they might be referred to by more specific names.

For example, fans of the New York Yankees are often called “Yankee fans” or “Bleacher Creatures,” a term specifically for the passionate fans in the bleachers of Yankee Stadium.

What are baseball outfits called?

Baseball outfits are commonly referred to as “uniforms” or “kits.”

A standard baseball uniform includes a jersey, trousers, shoes, a cap, and for some positions, specialized gear like gloves. Each team’s uniform has distinctive colors and designs, often including the team’s logo, player’s name, and number.

What are baseball scouts called?

Baseball scouts are simply known as “scouts.” They play a critical role in evaluating players’ abilities and potential.

Scouts are employed by major league teams to assess amateur and professional players, providing insights and recommendations on player acquisitions and draft choices.

They are the unsung heroes behind the scenes, shaping team rosters with their evaluations.

What does F mean in baseball?

In baseball scorekeeping, “F” stands for “flyout.”

This notation is used when a batter hits a fly ball that is caught by a fielder, resulting in an out. Flyouts are tracked because they provide insight into a pitcher’s effectiveness and a batter’s tendencies.

“F” is often accompanied by a number indicating the fielder who made the catch, such as F9 for a flyout caught by the right fielder.

Final Thoughts: Baseball Words

As a writer, I’ve learned that each word and phrase carries weight, shaping how we understand and play the game.

For anyone new to baseball or looking to deepen their knowledge, diving into this language is not just educational, but a way to connect more deeply with this timeless sport.

For more linguistic home runs, be sure to check out our other articles on words and their fascinating stories on our website.

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Sources

MLB.com (Major League Baseball)