Baseball Lingo

Schenectady County and the rest of the Capital Region has always been a big baseball area, but do you fans and players know where these baseball letters and terms came from?

Bullpen – The area in which pitchers take their warmup pitches got its name because nearly every ballpark in the land had a huge outfield billboard advertising Bull Durham tobacco.  Pitchers took their warmup pitches under the sign in fair territory, deep in the outfield, and the company popularized its name by offering $50 to any hitter who could hit the bull when he batted.  Another interpretation was that in bullfighting, the bulls are kept in separate pens.  One is led out, he battles with the matador and eventually dies.  The pen opens again, another bull dashes out, and so on until the matinee is over.  In baseball, when a pitcher is bombarded, a gate opens to introduce another.

K – Used to designate a strikeout.  The single letter was introduced by New York Herald baseball writer M.J. Kelly in 1868.  He used the letter because it is the last letter of the word “struck”.  He said “S” could not be used because it would be confused with shortstop.

Hot Corner – After Cincinnati Reds third baseman Hick Carpenter caught seven line drives, a writer in 1899 said, “The Brooklyns had old Hick on the hot corner all afternoon, and it’s a miracle he wasn’t murdered.”


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