Appendix:Glossary of baseball jargon (T)

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The following is a glossary of baseball jargon (phrases, idioms and slang):

Appendix: Glossary of Baseball
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  • 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. "McCovey tagged that one into the gap."
  • 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.
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 the field
When the defensive players go to their positions at the beginning of an inning the defense takes the field.
take-out slide
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" — said something about how he ran the basepaths.
tall jack
jargon for long home run.
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 1956 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.[1] [2]
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.
tee off
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'.
telegraphing pitches
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."[3]
A pitcher’s “out pitch” (usually his best pitch; as a result, it is the pitch upon which he relies to get batters out). Also, a nickname given to Thomas Anthony "Tom" Henke, a pitcher who won great fame as a closer.
Texas Leaguer
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. See blooper.
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.
three-base hit
A triple.
three strikes law
(idiomatic) From the phrase "Three strikes and you're out"; pertaining to laws passed in the United States that mandates minimum penalties for three convictions for serious criminal offenses ("strikes"). In baseball, a player is retired ("out") from his turn at bat if he gets three strikes. See also strike out.
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. 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. See also: side retired, 1-2-3 inning.
through the wickets
When a batted ball passes through the legs of a player in the field it's often said, "That one went right through the wickets." The term refers to the metal hoops (called wickets) used in the game of croquet through which croquet balls are struck. Letting the ball through his legs makes a baseball player look (and feel) inept, and the official scorekeeper will typically record the play as an error. See Bill Buckner.
tipping pitches
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.
Coaches and 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.
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.
A player with a lot of tools who hasn't yet developed into a mature player: "Granderson is not just a toolsie player trying to learn how to convert his excellent tools into usable baseball skills. He's already well down the road of converting them."
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.
top of the inning
The first half of an inning, during which the visiting team bats, derived from its position in the line score.
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.
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", i.e., if he misses a base during his home run trot, he can be called out on appeal).
touch base
In baseball, a player who is touching a base is not in danger of being put out. Another explanation is a player briefly touches each of the bases when he runs around after hitting a home run;
(idiomatic) To ensure everyone has the same information, to briefly check in or gather information.
Throws right; used in describing a player's statistics, for example: John Doe (TR, BR, 6', 172 lbs.)
A three-base hit.
triple crown
In baseball the term Triple Crown refers to:
  1. A batter who (at season's end) leads the league in three major categories: home runs, runs batted in, and batting average.
  2. A pitcher who (at season's end) leads the league in three major categories: earned run average, wins, and strikeouts.
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 not due mainly to the fact that 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 exctremely rare unassisted triple play, of which fewer than 20 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.
turn two
To execute a double play.
twin killing
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.
A double.
two-base hit
A double.
two-seam fastball
A fastball held in such a way that it breaks slightly downward as it crosses the plate. A sinker. A two-seamer. Due to the grip, the batter sees only one pair of seams spinning instead of two.
two-sport player
Many college players 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, 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 grade.
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.
two-way player
  • 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."


  1. ^ William J. Jenkinson. 1996. "Long Distance Home Runs."[1]
  2. ^ "HitTracker—How Far It Really Went".[2]
  3. ^ Richard Justice, "Lidge was telegraphing his pitches," Houston Chronicle (May 17, 2006).

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