Glossary of baseball (T)
- A pitch that has a little extra on it to make it fast
- a player placed high in the batting order for his tendency to hit for average and steal bases is said to "set the table" for the power hitters behind him in the lineup.
- an unexpected event early in a ball game, such as a defensive error or a hit batsmen, can be called a "tablesetter" for the outcome of the game.
- To hit the ball hard, typically for an extra-base hit. "Yanks Tag Price but Rays rally with five-run 6th".
- A tag out, sometimes just called a tag, is a play in which a baserunner is out because he is touched by the fielder's hand holding a live ball while the runner is in jeopardy. "Helton was tagged out at second" implies that a defensive player touched him with the ball before he reached second base.
- When a batter hits a ball that is caught before touching the ground, he is out and all base runners must retreat back to their original base. The act of touching their original base is called "tagging up" after which, they may legally advance to the next base. If a runner fails to tag up before he or his original base is tagged by a fielder with the ball, he is out on appeal.
- A catcher's butt. In the phrase, "he didn't keep his tailgate down", a baseball announcer means that a pitched ball that was very low or even hit the dirt went through the legs of the catcher. The analogy is to a latch at the bottom of a gate on the back of a truck or van, which if it's left open might allow things to fall out of the back of the vehicle.
take a pitch
- When a batter decides not to swing at a pitch, he "takes the pitch". He may do this following the instruction of a coach who has given him a take sign.
- A sign given by a coach to a batter to not swing at the next pitch—to "take" the next pitch. Sometimes when a new pitcher or a reliever comes in, batters are given a general instruction to take the first pitch. Most often, they are told to take a pitch when the count is 3–0. Poor hitters are often given the take sign, while better hitters much less often.
take something off the pitch
- To throw an off-speed pitch or to throw a given pitch slower than the pitcher usually throws it. "When Washburn took something off a fastball and left it out over the plate, Bonds lined an RBI double that rolled to the wall in right field, and the rout was on."
take the bat out of his hands
- To issue an intentional walk. By doing so, a pitcher reduces the potential damage from allowing the batter to swing at and hit a pitch. "Buck Showalter took the bat out of Barry Bonds' hands with an unheard-of strategy – a bases-loaded intentional walk. Amazingly, the Arizona Diamondbacks manager got away with it."
take the crown
- To win the championship -- remove the current champions from the throne.
take the field
- When the defensive players go to their positions at the beginning of an inning the defense takes the field. The pitcher goes to the pitcher's mound or takes the hill.
take the hill
- When a pitcher moves to his defensive position on the mound he is said to "take the hill".
- A slide performed for the purpose of hampering the play of the defense. A runner from first to second base will often try to "take out" the fielder at the base to disrupt his throw to first base and "break up the double play". Although the runner is supposed to stay within the base-paths, as long as he touches second base he has a lot of leeway to use his body. Runners in this situation usually need to slide in order to avoid being hit by the throw from second to first; but whether they do a "take-out slide" or come into the base with their spikes high in the air depends as much on their personal disposition as it does the situation. The title of a biography of Ty Cobb — "The Tiger Wore Spikes" — says something about how he ran the basepaths.
- To hit a slow or easy ground ball, typically to the pitcher: "Martinez tapped it back to the mound." A ball hit in this way is a tapper.
tape measure home run
- An especially long home run. The term originated from a 1953 game in which Mickey Mantle hit a ball out of Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. The distance the ball flew was measured and the next day a picture of Mantle with a tape measure was published in the newspaper. A play-by-play announcer may also call a long home run a tape measure job. Although fans have always been interested in how far home runs may travel and in comparing the great home runs of the great and not-so-great home run hitters, the science of measuring home runs remains inexact.
- A home run. The term started to appear in the 1970s, specifically as "long tater". The ball itself has been known as a "potato" or "tater" for generations. A long ball is thus a "long tater", shortened to just "tater" for this specific meaning.
- To hit the ball very hard, figuratively to put a tattoo from the bat's trademark on the ball.
- A deep fly ball which has a chance to become a base hit or home run. Said of Brett Lawrie's inside-the-park home run on 25 June 2016 when the ball was still in the air with its fate not yet certain.
- Conference on the mound, involving more players than just the pitcher and catcher, and sometimes coaches and managers. Also a pow wow.
- Easily hittable pitches are likened to stationary baseballs sitting on batting tees (or possibly golf tees, since this term is also part of the lexicon of golf), and therefore batters hitting such pitches are said to be 'teeing off'.
- A pitcher's sending unintentional signals to the hitters about what kind of pitch is about to be delivered. See tipping pitches. Headline in Houston Chronicle: "Lidge Was Telegraphing His Pitches."
- A pitcher’s “out pitch” (usually his best pitch; as a result, it is the pitch upon which he relies to get batters out). Made famous by the movie Major League II.
- A Texas Leaguer (or Texas League single) is a weakly hit fly ball that drops in for a single between an infielder and an outfielder. These are now more commonly referred to as flares, bloopers, or "bloop singles". Most colorfully called a 'gork shot'. See blooper.
- The term is said to have originated when Ollie Pickering, a popular Texas League player, made his major league debut and proceeded to run off a string of seven straight bloop hits, leading fans and writers to say, "Well, there goes Pickering with another one of those "Texas Leaguers".
third of an inning
- Line stat credited to a pitcher retiring one out of a full inning. For convenience in print, however, a pitcher who goes 4 and one-third innings might be shown in the box score as completing 4.1 innings, as compared with a pitcher who goes four and two-thirds innings for whom the box score would show 4.2.
- A triple.
- A triple.
three true outcomes
- The three ways a plate appearance can end without fielders coming into play: walks, home runs, and strikeouts. Baseball Prospectus coined the term in homage to Rob Deer, who excelled at producing all three outcomes. The statistical result of the three true outcomes on a player's slash line is a low batting average, as well as an unusually high on-base percentage relative to the batting average. Traditionally, players with a high percentage of their plate appearances ending in one of the three true outcomes are underrated, as general managers often overestimate the harm in striking out, and underestimate the value of a walk.
three up, three down
- To face just three batters in an inning. Having a "three up, three down inning" is the goal of any pitcher. Unlike in a 1-2-3 inning, batters are permitted to reach base so long as only three batters are faced by the pitcher. For instance, a single, then a strikeout, then a double play is a three up three down inning, but not a 1-2-3 inning. See also: side retired, 1-2-3 inning.
through the wickets
- When a batted ball passes through the legs of a player on the field (most commonly an infielder) it's often said, "That one went right through the wickets." The term refers to the metal arches (called wickets) used in the game of croquet through which balls are hit. Letting the ball through his legs makes a baseball player look (and feel) inept, and the official scorekeeper typically records the play as an error.
throw a clothesline
- When a fielder throws the ball so hard that it hardly appears to arc at all, he may be said to "throw a clothesline". Akin to a batter's line drive being described as a rope or frozen rope.
throw him the chair
- Striking out a batter, causing him to sit down in the dugout.
- A pitcher who throws the ball hard in the direction of home plate but without much accuracy or command. Distinguished from a "pitcher", who may or may not throw the ball as hard but who has command and is likely to be more successful in getting batters out. "However, what was special about Martinez during his heyday was that he wasn’t just a thrower, someone blessed with a great arm who could miss bats all day. Martinez was a pitcher, someone who changed speeds and had four good pitches that he could locate and could think his way through an at-bat, an inning, and a game as well as anyone this side of Maddux."
throwing seeds/throwing the pill
- When a pitcher's fastball is so good it seems as though the baseball is the size of a seed (or pill), and just about as hittable.
tie him up
- Getting a pitch in on the hitter's hands, making it impossible for him to swing.
- A game. A face-off between competitors, as in a joust. Headline: "Myers, Phillies beat Mets in key NL East tilt".
- A run can be scored on the same play as the third out, but only if the third out is not a force out, and is not made by the batter before reaching first base. In order for the run to count, the runner must reach home plate before the third out is made elsewhere on the field, so the play is known as a "time play".
- A poor fielding (defensive) player is often said to have a "tin glove", as if his baseball mitt was made of inflexible metal.
- When a pitcher is giving inadvertent signals to the hitters concerning what kind of pitch he's about to throw, he's said to be "tipping his pitches" or "telegraphing his pitches". It may be something in his position on the rubber, his body lean, how he holds or moves his glove when going into the stretch, whether he moves his index finger outside his glove, or some aspect of his pitching motion. Akin to what is called a tell in poker: a habit, behavior, or physical reaction that gives other players more information about your hand. A case in point: "Turns out Maine, who was 0-2 with an 8.24 ERA in September, had been tipping his pitches all month, subtly curling his glove as he went into his windup for a curveball."
- Coaches as well as players on the bench make a habit of watching everything an opposing pitcher is doing, looking for information that will allow them to forecast what kind of pitch is coming. When pitchers go through a bad spell, they may become paranoid that they're tipping their pitches to the opposing batters. A pitcher and coaches are likely to spend a lot of time studying film of the games to learn what the pitcher might be doing that tips his pitches.
- Pitchers will try to hide their grip even while delivering the ball. Rick Sutcliffe used to wind up in such a way that his body concealed the ball from the batter almost until the moment of release. In contrast, relief ace Dennis Eckersley, playing a psychological game, would hold the ball up in such a way that he purposely showed off the type of grip he had on it, essentially "daring" the batter to hit it.
toe the slab
- To take the mound; to pitch. Sometimes expressed as "toe the rubber". Literally, to put the toe of his shoe on the rubber.
took the ball out of the catcher's glove
- When a batter swings a bit late, perhaps hitting the ball to the opposite field, a broadcaster may say he "took the ball out of the catcher's glove" (just before the catcher was able to catch it).
took the collar
- Went hitless. See collar.
- To hit a high pitch, perhaps one that's out of the strike zone, so that the batter may appear to be swinging downwards as if his bat is a tomahawk. "Things started well for the Blue Jays in their first at-bat when Stairs tomahawked a Matsuzaka pitch on one bounce into the stands behind Fenway Park's famed Pesky's Pole for a ground-rule double."
- Kirby Pucket when asked by broadcaster Jim Kaat about his walk-off home run which won Game six of the 1991 World Series, "I just tomahawked that ball, Kitty!".
Tommy John surgery
Main article: Tommy John surgery
- A type of elbow surgery for pitchers named after Tommy John, a pitcher and the first professional athlete to successfully undergo the operation. Invented by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974 and known medically as an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction.
- Tools are a position player's abilities in five areas: hitting for average, hitting for power, running, fielding, and throwing. Baseball scouts evaluate prospects based on their current skills and likely further development in each of these areas. The scouts also make an overall judgment of a player's tools, and they assign an Overall Future Potential (OFP) score to each player; but the OFP is not computed in any formal way from numeric assessments of the players in the specific skill areas. An analogous scouting assessment of pitchers refers to a variety of pitching skills as well as to the pitcher's OFP. The OFP scale for pitchers and position players ranges from 20 to 80. A player with an OFP of 50 is thought to have the potential to play at an average major league level. A score of 60 is also called a "plus", and a score of 70 is also called a "plus-plus"; thus, plus and plus-plus players are viewed as having the potential to become above-average major leaguers. This language can also be applied to the specific tools of a player, as in: "He still projects as a plus hitter with plus power and plus-plus speed." Or "Verlander came into his rookie season with a plus change-up, a plus curve, and a plus-plus fastball."
- Also see 5-tool player.
tools of ignorance
- A catcher's gear. The coining of the phrase is attributed variously to catcher Muddy Ruel and to Yankee catcher Bill Dickey.
- A player with a lot of tools who hasn't yet developed into a mature player: "Granderson is not just a toolsy player trying to learn how to convert his excellent tools into usable baseball skills. He's already well down the road of converting them."
- A tongue-in-cheek term for when a baserunner commits a blunder that leads to him being tagged or forced out. It stands for "Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop."
top of the inning
- The first half of an inning, during which the visiting team bats, derived from its position in the line score.
top of the order batter
- A batter who has speed and a propensity to get on base, and who thus may be suited to be the lead-off or second hitter in the line-up. "I think Brett Jackson looks a lot more like a top of the order guy right now than a middle of the order guy, and he seems like a viable leadoff hitter based on his performance as a professional".
- When a pitcher has reached a point where he's at risk of being pulled and replaced by another pitcher, the manager may be standing at the "top step" of the dugout, ready to go immediately to the mound after the next pitch.
tore the cover off the ball
- Hit the ball so hard that the batter figuratively tore the cover off the ball. Also used in Ernest Thayer's famous "Casey at the Bat" poem:
"But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
- When a player or manager is ordered by an umpire to leave a game, that player or manager is said to have been "tossed". Usually, this is the result of arguing a ruling by the umpire. Similar to being "red carded" in the game of soccer. See ejected.
- The sum of the number of bases advanced by a batter/runner on his own safe hits over a specified period of time, where a single = 1 base; double = 2 bases; triple = 3 bases; home run = 4 bases. The quotient of total bases divided by at-bats is slugging average, a measure of a given hitter's power. It could be argued however, that it's not truly total bases as it does not count walks, hit by pitch, or stolen bases.
touch all the bases
- To "touch all the bases" (or "touch 'em all") is to hit a home run. (If a player fails to literally "touch 'em all" – if he misses a base during his home run trot – he can be called out on appeal).
- A pitcher who gives up several hits may be said to have been "touched up". Headline: "McGraw's Star Pitcher Touched Up for Fourteen Hits."
- A seven-run difference, derived from six points for a touchdown in plus the extra point in American football. For example, a team up 10-3 is said to be "up by a touchdown". Obviously this term is only used in exceptionally high scoring games. See slugfest.
- Throws right; used in describing a player's statistics, for example: John Doe (TR, BR, 6', 172 lbs.)
- To field a ball, typically a ground ball that a fielder has to travel some distance to stop or a fly ball that an outfielder has to run far to catch. "Mike Cameron, Milwaukee Brewers, can track down flies with the best centerfielders in baseball today."
- When a fielder attempts to catch a batted baseball in the air but the ball hits the ground just before it enters the fielder's glove, the fielder is said to have "trapped the ball". Sometimes it is difficult for the umpire to tell whether the ball was caught for an out or instead trapped. "Any outfielder worth his salt always makes the catch of the sinking line drive by rolling over and raising his glove triumphantly. It does not matter if he trapped the ball. It does not matter that the replay shows he trapped the ball. What is important is the success of the deception at that moment so that the umpire calls the batter out".
Main article: Triple (baseball)
- A three-base hit.
Main article: Triple crown (baseball)
- In baseball the term Triple Crown refers to:
- A batter who (at season's end) leads the league in three major categories: home runs, runs batted in, and batting average.
- A pitcher who (at season's end) leads the league in three major categories: earned run average, wins, and strikeouts.
Main article: Triple play
- When three outs are made on one play. This is rare. While a typical game may have several double plays, a typical season only has a few triple plays. This is primarily because the circumstances are rather specific — that there be at least two runners, and no outs, and that typically one of these circumstances occurs: (1) the batter hits a sharp grounder to the third baseman, who touches the base, throws to second base to get the second out, and the second baseman or shortstop relays the ball to first quickly enough to get the batter-runner for the third out (also called a 5-4-3 or 5-6-3 triple play, respectively); OR (2) the runners are off on the pitch, in a hit-and-run play, but an infielder catches the ball on a line-drive out, and relays to the appropriate bases in time to get two other runners before they can retreat to their bases. The latter situation can also yield an extremely rare unassisted triple play, of which 14 have occurred in the entire history of major league baseball. A second baseman or shortstop will catch the ball, his momentum will carry him to second base to make the second out, and he will run and touch the runner from first before the runner can turn around and fully regain his momentum back to first.
- To execute a double play. "In the West, professional middle infielders are taught techniques to avoid injury while turning two -- keep runners guessing on which side of the bag you'll throw from, escape quickly, know who's running, keep your left toe pointed to first base whenever possible and tumble forward on impact."
- A doubleheader.
- An old fashioned term for a pitcher. In the early years, pitchers would often twirl their arms in a circle one or more times before delivering the ball, literally using a "windup", in the belief it would reduce stress on their arms. The terms "twirler" and "twirling" faded along with that motion. The modern term "hurler" is effectively the substitute term.
two away or two down
- When there are two outs in the inning
- A double.
- A double.
- A fastball held in such a way that it breaks slightly downward, and most often away from the pitcher's arm, as it crosses the plate. A sinker. A two-seamer. Due to the grip, generally with or along the two straight seams, as opposed to a four seamer, which is gripped across the horseshoe, the batter sees only one pair of seams spinning instead of two.
- Many college athletes play two sports, but it is rare for someone to play two major league professional sports well or simultaneously. Sometimes players have brief major league trial periods in two professional sports but quickly drop one of them. Some "two-sport" players who played multiple major league baseball seasons have been Jim Thorpe, Brian Jordan, Gene Conley, Bo Jackson, Danny Ainge, Ron Reed, Deion Sanders and Mark Hendrickson. Although Michael Jordan tried to become a major league baseball player after his first retirement from the National Basketball Association, he didn't make the big leagues and did not try to play both baseball and basketball at the same time.
two-thirds of an inning
- Line stat credited to a pitcher retiring 2 outs of a full inning. For convenience in print, however, a pitcher who goes six and two-thirds innings might be shown in the box score as completing 6.2 innings, as compared with a pitcher who goes six and one-third innings for whom the box score would be shown as completing 6.1.
- A term borrowed from American football to describe either a player who can pitch and hit well, or a player who can pitch and play another defensive position well. The most famous Major League ballplayer who was truly a two-way player was Babe Ruth, who in his early career was an outstanding pitcher but later played in the outfield—and was one of the greatest home run hitters of all-time.
- The term is sometimes used to describe a player who is good at both offense and defense: "Manager Jim Leyland said during the season that he believes Inge has the potential to become one of the league's best two-way players."
- "Giants one win from title after Game 5 eruption", ESPN.com (October 24, 2002).
- "Walk on the wild side pays off for Showalter", Chicago Sun Times, May 30, 1998.
- John Dennis McCallum, The Tiger Wore Spikes: An Informal Biography of Ty Cobb, Barnes: 1956. (ASIN B0006AUHWK).
- "William J. Jenkinson. 1996. "Long Distance Home Runs."". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- "HitTracker—How Far It ''Really'' Went". Hittrackeronline.com. June 3, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- Richard Justice, "Lidge was telegraphing his pitches", Houston Chronicle (May 17, 2006).
- Joe Sheehan, "Baseball Today: Pedro's Return to Action", BaseballProspectus.com, September 4, 2007.
- "Harvey, Mets beat Phillies in key NL East tilt", USA Today, September 6, 2008.
- "Rule review: 'Time plays' can be confusing", USA Today, May 28, 2010.
- Bob Klapisch, "Fighting Mad Marlins Vow to Get Even Today", NorthJersey.com, September 30, 2007.
- Post, National (September 3, 2007). "Jays dig deep hole, can't get out of it". Canada.com. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- Dobrow, Marty (July 19, 2011). "Ivy rivals find common ground with Sox". ESPN. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
Why would any intelligent person want to endure the slings and arrows of being a catcher? The fastballs redirected by foul tips into the elbow. The back swings of cleanup hitters thudding into the temple. The squat after squat after squat, grinding knees to sawdust. And, of course, the menacing prospect of a collision. The catcher is the body at rest, often with his eyes on the ball. The runner is the body in motion, a human missile. It's an unfair showdown ... So it's no surprise that the catcher's equipment has long been known as "the tools of ignorance.'
- The new Dickson baseball dictionary ... Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- Smithsonian Q & A: Baseball: The ... Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- Scott Allen (July 31, 2014). "Bryce Harper leads the Nationals in TOOTBLANs this season". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
- "Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer on Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- John J. McGraw, "WHITE SOX FIND MATHEWSON EASY; McGraw's Star Pitcher Touched Up for Fourteen Hits and Giants Lose, 9 to 3", New York Times, November 1, 1913.
- "The Baseball Rap". Tcoletribalrugs.com. November 17, 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
- "Instant Replay: The End of Major League Baseball as We Know It", in Paul Soglin: Waxing America.com, June 14, 2008. [Retrieved July 19, 2010].
- Alden Gonzalez, "Turning two can be risky business for fielders", MLB.com, April 11, 2011.