My friend Jack gave me a copy of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary today, edited by—you guessed it!—Paul Dickson. It was published in 1989 by Avon Books.
Here are a few selected definitions for your enjoyment:
angler. n. Player or his agent who “casts” about looking for testimonials, product endorsements, speaking engagements and other off-field sources of income.
banana. n. A good player; a prospect that makes the team. “There isn’t a scout in the business who hasn’t touted more lemons than bananas.” (Dick Friendlich, Relief Pitcher, CDP).
carry a safe. v./arch. To run slowly: to run as if weighed down by a heavy object. [Bengie Molina comes readily to mind. Would also describe famed slow-poke Ernie Lombardi. Burly]
dirter. n. Casey Stengel’s term for a ground ball.
foshball. n. Pitch attributed to Mike Boddiker that combines the properties of a change-up and forkball or other breaking pitch. USA Today said that, “It breaks away from left-handers and is the pitch [Rod] Carew, George Brett and other lefties have found so frustrating.” (September 8, 1983)
[For those of you who don't remember Mike Boddiker, he went 16-8 the year the article was published, his rookie year; and he led the AL with 20 wins and a 2.79 ERA in 1984. He finished his career 134-116 in 1993. I heard this year that Tim Lincecum throws his change-up with a split-finger grip, rather than throwing a circle change. Burly]
jelly bean. n./arch. A raw recruit.
matador. n. A timid infielder; specifically, one who positions his body like a bullfighter to avoid being hit by the ball when fielding it.
matching. n. Baseball card-flipping game in which a card is dropped and it is up to the second player to match it to keep both cards. If the first player’s card lands with the photo side up (heads) the second player must flip heads also or lose both cards. The printed back of the card in this game is regarded as tails.
orange alert. n. Description that Oakland A’s owner Charlie O. Finley used for the orange baseball (the color would be “a little brighter than plain orange” he said) that he tried to have made standard. He pushed the idea hard in 1972. [I doubt many baseball fans feel sorry Charlie O last that particular battle. Burley]
Picasso. n. CONTROL PITCHER; one who paints the black.
schneider. v. To shut out.
thumb on. v. To reach base solely by hitting a ball on the bat handle, close to the thumb.
Zurdo. n. Spanish nickname for lefty.
You will have to read the book if you want anymore. At a substantial 430 pages, it’s got plenty more.
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