Baseball Terms Glossary
(Starting with "H")
Become a member of TranslationDirectory.com at just
$8 per month (paid per year)
Use the search bar to look for terms in all glossaries, dictionaries, articles and other resources simultaneously
This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms,
phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, and their
definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.
- To swing awkwardly at the ball. "As his son stood in the batter's
box and hacked away, Wolpert came up with the idea of opening his own
batting cage in Manhattan."
Sometimes said of an aggressive hitter who would swing at any pitch
within reach, whether high, low, inside, or outside. "An unrepentant
free swinger who hacked at anything in the same area code as the strike
zone, Puckett drew just 23 walks that year."
Hall of Fame
- The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Abbreviated HOF.
- To hit the ball hard, typically for extra bases. "Aaron hammered that pitch."
- The nickname of Henry Aaron — Hank "The Hammer" Aaron — second all-time in
Major League career home runs.
- A curve ball, usually of the 12 to 6 variety.
- A hard-hit ground ball that bounces directly at an infielder may be difficult
for him to get his hands up in time to grab. He may appear to be
handcuffed in that situation.
- A pitch thrown high and inside may handcuff a batter because he can't get
his hands far enough away from his body to swing the bat.
- Often it's said of a player who has not fielded a batted ball cleanly that
he "couldn't find the handle on it." This suggests the fanciful notion
that the baseball would be easier to hold onto if there were a handle
attached to it.
- A breaking ball that does not break, and so is easy to hit. A
- A pitcher may be hung with a loss if he is responsible
for his team falling behind in runs and the team never recovers
- A runner may be hung up if he is caught in a rundown.
- A runner may be hung out to dry if he gets picked off at
first base, or if a hitter misses a hit-and-run sign and the runner
is easily tagged out at second base. A player may be hung out to
dry if his team treats him in an unexpected or disappointing way.
(Story: "The Mets got what they needed from pitcher Al Leiter yesterday.
Unfortunately, Leiter was hung out to dry again, done in by his
team's anemic offense.")
- When a pitcher uses a particular type of pitch so much that he becomes
less effective, he's sometimes said to be "happy" with the pitch – fastball
happy or curveball happy, for example. "This article is a response,
in part, to a Boston Globe sports rumor asserting that Josh Beckett
has become 'Curveball Happy' and has changed his release point".
- A tendency to mishandle fielded balls. Also stone fingers.
- Baseball, as opposed to softball.
- To strike out three times. Used jokingly, as the same term means to
score three times in hockey and other sports.
- Hit By Pitch.
head of lettuce
- The event when a player breaks their bat after hitting the pitch, that results
in the main portion of the bat (the barrel) to land within the infield.
The broken portion can be intact or splintered into many pieces. If
the main portion of the broken bat lands either in foul territory or
outside of the established infield, as determined by the base path between
1st & 2nd and 2nd & 3rd bases, it is not considered to be a
"Head of Lettuce". This term pays homage to other great food related
baseball terms such as "Can of Corn", "High Cheese", "In a Pickle",
etc. The original use of the term dates to 2006 at a Greenville Drive
game where Joshua Githens first noted after such an event the likeness
to striking a head of lettuce with the bat. "That bat exploded like
a head of lettuce!' said Josh Githens, 10 May 2006.
- A pitcher who has a reputation for throwing beanballs.
heart of the plate
- Middle of home plate. "Looking to go up the ladder, Hughes instead
missed right over the heart of the plate just below belt high with a
95-mph fastball. As good hitters do, Guerrero made him pay with a single
up the middle".
- Also heater. A fastball.
- A power hitter. A player who hits a lot of home runs or other extra
base hits. A batter with a high slugging percentage. A slugger. A term
shared with the sport of boxing, referring to a fighter who scores a
large number of knockouts.
help his own cause
- Said of a pitcher who knocks in runs as a hitter, thereby helping
himself to earn credit for a win.
- A pitcher with an unusual or awkward wind-up or motion, as if he's not in full control of his legs and arms, may be said to have a herky-jerky motion.
- A pitcher who pauses in his wind-up, perhaps at the top of the wind-up, may
be said to have a hesitation pitch. If this is part of his regular motion,
it may be effective in throwing off the timing of the batter. If it's
an occasional motion and used when there are runners on base, the pitcher
is at risk of being called for a balk.
- A very rare feat in which a fielder has the ball and hides it from
a runner, trying to trick him into believing that some other fielder
has it or that it has gotten away from them. One example would be if
the pitcher throws to first to force a runner back to the base, and
the first baseman pretends to throw the ball back to the pitcher. If
the runner starts to lead off again right away, he could be tagged out.
Another example would be for the fielder to spin around, "looking" for
a hit or thrown ball that has "eluded" him, while actually carrying
it in his glove. There is no rule against this kind of deception. The
exception is that once the pitcher toes or stands astride the rubber,
he must have the ball in his possession, or else a balk will
be called. Any baserunner victimized by a hidden ball trick play is
liable to be ribbed endlessly by his teammates for having been caught
high and tight
- A location pitch thrown above the strike zone and close to the batter.
- A fastball thrown high in the strike zone.
high hard one
- A fastball thrown high in, or above the strike zone.
- A strike thrown high in the strike zone.
- The pitcher's mound.
- The act of safely reaching first base after batting the ball into
fair territory. Abbreviated as H, this meaning is synonymous with
base hit. See also single, double, triple, home run, extra base
hit, error, fielder's choice.
- The act of contacting the ball with the bat. "The batter hit the
ball right at the second baseman."
- When a batter is touched by a pitch. See hit by pitch
- The term sacrifice hit is used by scorekeepers to indicate
a sacrifice bunt. It is typically an out, not a base hit (unless
the batter beats the throw to first).
hit a bullet
- To hit the ball very hard, typically a line drive.
hit and run
- An offensive tactic whereby a baserunner (usually on first base) starts
running as if to steal and the batter is obligated to swing at the pitch.
Contrast this to a run and hit, where the runner steals, and the batter
(who would normally take on a straight steal) may swing at the pitch.
- After a batter has attempted but failed to lay down a bunt, or in
a situation in which he might ordinarily be expected to bunt, he may
instead make a normal swing at the ball on the next pitch. In such a
case he is said to "hit away" or "swing away." "Smoltz
swung away, fouling it off for strike one. Knowing that the bunt had
been given away on the first pitch, Braves manager Bobby Cox took off
the bunt sign this time."
hit behind the runner
- An offensive tactic where the batter intentionally puts the ball in
play to the right side with a runner on second. The intent is to advance
the baserunner to third, where a sacrifice fly by the next hitter can
score a run.
hit by pitch
- When a pitch touches a batter in the batter's box, the batter advances
to first base. Abbreviated as HPB. Colloquially, a batter who is hit
by a pitch may be said to be plunked, drilled, nailed, plugged, or beaned.
If the pitch is a strike or hits him while he is swinging at the pitch,
it is considered a strike and the batter is not awarded a base. In addition,
if the umpire feels that the batter didn't make an effort to avoid getting
hit by the pitch, the umpire can simply call the pitch a ball and not
award the batter the base.
hit 'em where
- Said to be the (grammatically-casual) response of turn-of-the-20th-century
player Willie Keeler to the question, "What's the secret to hitting?"
in which "'em" or "them" are the batted balls, and
"they" are the fielders.
hit for average
- Contrary to what might be literally implied, a player who "hits
for average" is one who achieves a high batting average.
hit for the cycle
- When a given player hits a single, double, triple and home run in
the same game. To accomplish this feat in order is termed a "natural
cycle." Hitting for the cycle is a rare enough occurrence that
Major League Baseball keeps special statistics on it.
it where the grass doesn't grow
- Hit the ball into the stands for a home run.
hit on Christmas Day
- When a player seems to have a natural aptitude to get hits in all
situations. “Magglio can hit Christmas Day,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland
said. “It’s an old saying, and he’s one of those guys who can. There’s
nothing fancy. He sees it, hits it and does it pretty damned good".
hit the ball on
- To hit the ball even center with measured force, often resulting in
a loud crack of the bat. A slumping batter might be comforted by "hitting
the ball on the screws" when not getting a hit. The phrase apparently
derives from golf, referring to "a well executed shot. In the good
ol' days, when woods were made of wood, club makers fitted a plastic
insert into the club face as a safeguard against premature wear. These
inserts were fastened to the club with screws. When a golfer would hit
a good shot, he would say, 'I hit it on the screws'."
hit the deck
- When a batter drops or dives to the ground to avoid being hit by a
pitch. "The third kind of pitch is the one that is coming right at your
head. This one you don't even have time to think about. Some part of
you sees the ball as it leaves the pitcher's hand, and something about
the fact that the ball is coming straight toward your eye makes it almost
disappear into a blind spot. You hit the deck before you even know you've
hit the dirt
- To slide. Sometimes used also as equivalent to hit the deck.
hitch in his swing
- When a batter does not swing the bat in a single motion – perhaps
he lifts the bat or moves his hands or hesitates before swinging – he
may be said to have a "hitch in his swing." Having a hitch may slow
down how quickly or powerfully he swings at the pitch. "All winter,
Green worked on eliminating a hitch from his swing. He did it by setting
up a video camera at a batting cage near his home in Irvine, California,
taping swing after swing, and comparing it with video from his days
with the Los Angeles Dodgers."
- When a batter is way ahead in the count (3-0, 3-1, 2-0) he's likely
to anticipate that the next pitch will be thrown down Broadway — in
the middle of the plate. See count.
- A baseball park in which hitters tend to perform better than average.
This may be a result of several factors, including the dimensions of
the park (distance to the outfield fences, size of foul territory behind
the plate and down the lines), prevailing winds, temperature and relative
humidity, and altitude. Whether a park is a hitter's park or a pitcher's
park (in which hitters perform worse than average) is determined statistically
by measuring Park Factors, which involves comparing how well hitters
perform in a given park compared with how they perform in all other
parks. This measure is regularly reported and updated for Major League
Baseball parks by ESPN.com. Baseball Reference and other baseball research
organizations also report park factors for major league parks. Baseball
Prospectus and other baseball researchers calculate park factors for
minor league parks to help in adjusting the statistics of baseball prospects.
- Whether a park is a hitter's park or pitcher's park may change from day to
day. For example, when the wind is blowing "out" at Wrigley Field, it
is typically rendered a "hitter's park", and double-digit scores for
one or both teams are not unusual.
- A hold (abbreviated as H) is awarded to a relief pitcher if he enters
in a save situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game without
having relinquished that lead. To receive a hold, the pitcher must not
finish the game (thus becoming the closing pitcher) or be the winning
- Unlike saves, more than one pitcher can earn a hold in a game. It
is also not necessary for the pitcher's team to win the game in order
to achieve a hold; they merely have to be in the lead at the time the
- The hold was invented in 1986 to give credit to non-closer relief
pitchers. Holds are most often accredited to setup pitchers, as they
usually pitch between the starter and the closer. Holds are not an official
Major League Baseball statistic, but are recognized by the MLB in its
hold the runner on
- When a runner is on first base, the first baseman might choose to stand very close to first base rather than assume a position behind first base and more part-way toward second base (a position better suited to field ground balls hit to the right side of the diamond). When he does this he's said to "hold the runner on (first)" because he's in a position to take a throw from the pitcher and thereby discourage the runner from taking a big lead-off.
hold up on a swing
- When a batter begins to swing the bat at a pitch but stops swinging before the bat makes contact with the ball or the bat passes the front of the plate, he may be said to "hold up on his swing".
- One of the 9 places in the batting lineup. The lead-off hitter in the first inning is the player in the "one hole." In the four hole, the cleanup hitter is hoping to get to the plate in that inning.
- Also see in the hole.
hole in his glove
- A tendency to drop fly balls, usually after they hit (and seem to go through) the fielder's glove.
hole in his swing
- A scouting report phrase describing a batter who can't hit strikes
in a particular location. "Howard became a star after fixing a
hole in his swing."
hole in the lineup
- A team that has one or more weak hitters in its 9-person batting order
has a "hole in the lineup" that opposition teams can take
advantage of. "There are no holes in that lineup, so to say you're
going to pitch around one batter might not be the best thing."
"If the team that Shapiro has constructed is going to overtake
the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees or any of the other contenders
in the American League, it can’t afford another season with a hole in
the middle of the lineup that Hafner was from May through the playoffs
- Home plate. For a runner to reach home safely is to score a run. Getting a
runner who is on base home is the goal of any batter.
- When a player for the home team gets a favorable or generous call
from the official scorer, the players may refer to the scorer's
call as "home cooking." For example, the scorer may credit a batter
for a base hit on a batted ball that a fielder bobbled briefly and
then failed to make a putout.
- "Home cooking" is sometimes used synonomously with home
field advantage". The reference may be to the home team having
the advantage of living at home, not just to being able to play
in its own stadium.
home field advantage
- Teams playing home games have a small advantage over visiting teams.
In recent decades, home teams have tended to win about 53.5% of their
Because teams play the same number of games at home as they do away
during the regular season, this advantage tends to even out. In play-off
series, however, teams hope to gain from home-field advantage by having
the first game of the series played in their home stadium.
- A game played at the home stadium or ballpark of a baseball club.
When the Yankees play in Yankee Stadium, they're playing a home game.
The team that is hosting the game is referred to as the home team. In
rare instances, the home team plays in a stadium that is not their own.
In 2005, the Houston Astros played a "home" series against
the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park in Milwaukee, home of the Brewers, because
their home stadium, Minute Maid Park, was rendered temporarily unusable
because of Hurricane Rita. In 2010, the Toronto Blue Jays played a "home"
series against the Philadelphia Phillies at the Phillies' home park,
Citizens Bank Park, because of security concerns due to the G-20 summit
being held in Toronto. Despite being in Philadelphia, the Blue Jays
wore their home white uniforms and batted last. Also, despite Citizens
Bank Park being a National League field, the designated hitter was used
in the series.
- The second or bottom half of the inning, in which the home team is
at bat. See inning.
- See plate.
- A home run (or homer) is a base hit in which the batter is able to circle
all the bases, ending at home plate and scoring a run himself.
- A series of home games. See also road trip.
- The "home team" is the one in whose stadium the game is played against the
"visiting team." The home team has the advantage of batting in the second
or bottom half of the inning. In case a game is played at a neutral
site, the "home" team is usually determined by coin toss.
- A home run.
- Also, a derisive term for a dedicated, almost delusional, fan.
Especially used for a broadcaster, in any sport, whose team "can
do no wrong". Johnny Most of the Boston Celtics was a notorious
"homer". In a somewhat more humorous example, Bert Wilson
used to say, "I don't care who wins, as long as it's the Cubs!"
A common "homer" saying is, "My two favorite teams
are (my team) and whoever's playing (my team's rival)."
- When a manager leaves the dugout with the obvious intention of
replacing the pitcher with a reliever, he may be said to be carrying
a hook. "Here comes Sparky, and he's got the hook." Such
a usage may have come from the large hooks that were sometimes used
in Vaudeville to yank unsuccessful acts off the stage if they were
reluctant to leave on their own. When he was manager of the Cincinnati
Reds, Sparky Anderson's heavy reliance on relief pitching earned
him the nickname "Captain Hook", a reference both to the
standard usage and to the Peter Pan villain.
- A pitcher is said to be "on the hook" when he leaves the game with his team
behind because of runs that he gave up — a hook on which he may
be hung with the loss.
- When the batter pulls the ball down the line, starting fair but ending
foul, resulting in a foul ball. See also slice foul.
- A batted ball that takes several bounces in the infield or perhaps just a
single "high hop" after it hits the ground just in front of home
plate. Also see "short hop".
- The ball (a baseball) used in the game of baseball.
- The leather cover on the baseball (which is now usually made of cowhide, not horsehide). A slugger may be said to "knock the horsehide off the ball." Horsehide was the cover of choice for decades, as it was less prone to stretching than cowhide. This was necessary in part because in the early days, they tried to play the entire game with a single ball, or as few as possible. That became moot in the 1920s, but horsehide continued to be used until the 1980s or so, when horsehide became prohibitively expensive and cowhide was finally adopted as the standard cover for a baseball.
- A strong arm, said typically of an outfielder. To "be hosed" is to be thrown out on the bases, typically from the outfield.
- A batter who is having a hitting streak or a team having a winning
streak is said to be "hot." "'Today was pretty impressive,'
Scioscia said. 'Hitters, they have their times. When they’re hot, they’re
hot. You can’t do anything about it'."
- The area between two fielders during a rundown.
- The area around third base and the third baseman, so called because
right-handed batters tend to hit line drives down the third base line.
The third baseman is sometimes called a "cornerman."
Hot stove league
- An old fashioned term for a "Winter league" with no games,
just speculation, gossip, and story-telling during the months between
the end of the World Series and the beginning of Spring training, presumably
conducted while sitting around a hot stove. One of Norman Rockwell's
well-known baseball paintings is a literal illustration of this term.
- A very strong arm. A cannon. A gun. Usually applied to an outfielder.
Named after the Howitzer artillery piece. Headline: "Roberto Clemente:
A Howitzer for an Arm, An Ocean for a Heart".
human rain delay
- A derisive term for a player who is very deliberate in his play, such
as a pitcher who takes a long time between pitches or a batter who constantly
steps out of the batter's box. "The Seattle Mariners will announce
a new manager today — Mike Hargrove. Hargrove bears a great nickname
—“ The Human Rain Delay.” [A]s a player, Hargrove would take about 15
minutes for every plate appearance. He would step out of the batter’s
box, fidget with his gloves, his helmet, his pants. He drove the pitcher
nuts, but that was his plan."
- A term frequently used to describe a ball hit deep in the infield that has a trajectory in between that of a fly ball and a line drive. They would often fall in for hits, but the extra topspin on the ball makes them take a dive before they can get to the outfield. While not the hardest hit, these types of balls can be hard for infielders to get to if they are not in double-play depth.
- A pitcher.
See all sports glossaries:
Published - February 2011
free glossaries at TranslationDirectory.com
free dictionaries at TranslationDirectory.com
to free TranslationDirectory.com newsletter
more translation jobs from translation agencies? Click here!
agencies are welcome to register here - Free!
translators are welcome to register here - Free!
your glossary or dictionary for publishing at TranslationDirectory.com
Please see some ads as well as other content from TranslationDirectory.com: