Glossary of baseball (H)

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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."[1] 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."[2]

Hall of Fame[edit]

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Abbreviated HOF.

Hall of Very Good[edit]

A tongue-in-cheek expression used to refer to players who had successful careers, but whose stats and/or overall performance are not good enough to put them into consideration for the Hall of Fame. Example of players said to be in the "Hall of Very Good" are Chris Carpenter,[3] Lee Smith, and Mark McGwire.[4]


  • 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 hanging curveball.
  • A pitcher may be hung with a loss if he is responsible for his team falling behind in runs and the team never recovers the lead.
  • 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.")

hanging a snowman[edit]

Said of a team when it scores eight runs in one inning. Broadcaster Eric Nadel used this term on 8 August 2015 when the Texas Rangers sent eight men across home plate in the 11th inning, defeating the Seattle Mariners 11-3. May also be used when a team gets the opposing pitcher charged with eight runs over one inning or a series of innings.


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".[5]

hard hands[edit]

A tendency to mishandle fielded balls. Also stone fingers.


Baseball, as opposed to softball.

hat trick[edit]

To strike out three times. Used jokingly, as the same term means to score three times in hockey and other sports. This term is also used to indicate someone who has hit three home runs in a game.


Hit By Pitch.

head of lettuce[edit]

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[edit]

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".[6]


Also heater. A fastball.

heavy hitter[edit]

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[edit]

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.

hesitation pitch[edit]

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.

hidden ball trick[edit]

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 napping.

high and tight[edit]

A location pitch thrown above the strike zone and close to the batter.

high cheese[edit]

A fastball thrown high in the strike zone.

high hard one[edit]

A fastball thrown high in, or above the strike zone.

high heat[edit]

A strike thrown high in the strike zone.


The pitcher's mound.


hit a bullet[edit]

To hit the ball very hard, typically a line drive.

hit and run[edit]

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 to try to drive the ball behind the runner to right field. 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.

hit away[edit]

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."[7]

hit behind the runner[edit]

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[edit]

When a pitch touches a batter in the batter's box, the batter advances to first base. Abbreviated as HBP. 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 they ain't[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.[8]

hit it where the grass doesn't grow[edit]

Hit the ball into the stands for a home run.

hit on Christmas Day[edit]

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".[9]

hit the ball on the screws[edit]

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'."[10]

Another source is the fact that early baseball bats usually cracked lengthwise in two pieces. Because of the cost involved, many of these bats were repaired using glue and 2 screws, and the original phrase was " (he)hit it between the screws" subsequently modified since such repaired bats became illegal.

hit the deck[edit]

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 done it."[11]

hit the dirt[edit]

To slide. Sometimes used also as equivalent to hit the deck.

hitch in his swing[edit]

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."[12]



a person who hits a ball with a bat in baseball.

hitter's count[edit]

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.

hitter's park[edit]

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[1] Baseball Reference [2] and other baseball research organizations also report park factors for major league parks. Baseball Prospectus [3] 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.
On the other hand, some are hitter's parks, any and all other factors notwithstanding. Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium, Braves home field from 1966-1991, was known as The Launching Pad.


A physical and/or mental state where a player is seeing pitches well and his timing is on, so that observers or the player himself feel he has a good chance at getting a hit. Often used by players and sportscasters. "It's like Charley Lau used to tell us, used to tell me: 'You look very hitterish up there. You look hitterish, you look like you're going to hit the ball hard'", Brett said in camp.[13]


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 pitcher.
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 pitcher exits.
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 rules.

hold the runner on[edit]

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[edit]

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 leadoff 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[edit]

A tendency to drop fly balls, usually after they hit (and seem to go through) the fielder's glove.

hole in his swing[edit]

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."[14]

hole in the lineup[edit]

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."[15] "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 last season".[16]


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.

home cooking[edit]

  • 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 synonymously 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[edit]

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 games.[17] 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.

home game[edit]

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.

home half[edit]

The second or bottom half of the inning, in which the home team is at bat. See inning.

home plate[edit]

See also plate.

home run[edit]

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.

home run derby[edit]

A batting competition in which the object is to hit the most home runs.[18] The 1960 television series Home Run Derby featured such a competition.[19] A number of amusement parks, entertainment centers and batting cages offer a home run derby type competition.[18] Since 1985, Major League Baseball has hosted an annual Home Run Derby.[20] At least one minor league, the Southern League, has also held a home run derby.[21] In 2007, the Israel Baseball League played 7-inning games, and if the teams were tied at the end of the 7th inning the tie was broken by use of a home run derby.[22]

home run trot[edit]

When a batter, after seeing that a ball that he's hit is about become a home run, slows from a run to a celebratory trot. "Well, I've been saying it all year, and it finally happened tonight: David Ortiz became the first player in the 2010 season to take more than 30-seconds to trot around the bases after a home run. With four of the top five slowest home run trots of the year already - all four of which were clocked in at 28.95 seconds or slower - it seemed inevitable that he would be the first to break the half-minute barrier."[23]
Sometimes a player mistakenly slows down, however, when the wind or a superb play by an outfielder, turns a home run into a double or single off the outfield wall, or to a long out, or to another odd outcome, as the following case illustrates:

"Unfortunately for his personal power totals, Milledge was bamboozled into believing his liner in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night had cleared the left-field fence at PNC Park for his first career grand slam. Dead certain he had gone deep, Milledge raised his fist rounding first base, put his head down and went into a trot. Cool. Double-dog certain because the fireworks guy at PNC set off the pyrotechnics that explode every time a Bucs player goes deep. Music also began to blare. What a glorious moment for the Bucs! . . . Only, the ball had not cleared the fence. It hit the top and stayed in the field of play. As Bucs announcer Bob Walk said, 'Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, uh oh — we got a problem here.' Milledge was not quite midway between second and third base when he realized the Cubs had him in a rundown. And, yeah, um, he was tagged out. Score that a two-run double and a big ol' base-running blunder."[24]

home stand[edit]

A series of home games. See also road trip.

home team[edit]

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.

hook foul[edit]

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'."[25]

hot box[edit]

The area between two fielders during a rundown.

hot corner[edit]

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[edit]

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.

House by the side of the road[edit]

A batter who strikes out looking. The term was made popular by legendary Detroit Tigers radio broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who would often say, “He stood there like the house by the side of the road, and watched the ball go by.”[26] The phrase originates from the title of a poem by Sam Walter Foss.


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".[27]

human rain delay[edit]

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'. The name stems from the fact that, as 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."[28]

humpback liner[edit]

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.


  1. ^ "Getting Started: Batter up!". CNN. 30 July 2001. 
  2. ^ The Ballplayers - |
  3. ^ Chris Carpenter Retires
  4. ^ Creating MLB's All-Time Hall of 'Very Good' Team
  5. ^ Darryl Johnson, "Analyzing the Struggles of Josh Beckett: It's Not the Curveball",, May 5, 2009.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Diamond Mind Baseball
  8. ^ The Official Site of Major League Baseball: History: Rare Feats
  9. ^ Steve Kornacki, "Tigers manager Jim Leyland says Magglio Ordonez could hit on Christmas Day", MLive, June 16, 2010. [retrieved 17 June 2010]
  10. ^
  11. ^ Celia Tan, "Why I Like Baseball, An Online Journal", August 18, 2004.
  12. ^ Pat Borzi, "Baseball: With a Little Help, a Hitter Tries to Find his Swing", International Herald Tribune, March 6, 2007.
  13. ^ Zimmer, Benjamin. "Feeling hitterish with Diz and the Babe". Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Buster Olney, "Howard Became a Star After Fixing a Hole in His Swing",, March 28, 2007.
  15. ^ Billy Witz, "It has Gotten Late Early for the Usually Pesky Angels", New York Times, October 22, 2009.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Cyril Marong, "Historical Trends in Home-Field Advantage".
  18. ^ a b Marsh, Carole (2012). The Baseball Mystery Teacher's Guide. Gallopade International. pp. 5, 28. ISBN 9780635080905. 
  19. ^ Perry, Dayn (July 15, 2013). "VIDEO: The original 'Home Run Derby'". Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Topics: Home Run Derby". December 5, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  21. ^ Local Sluggers Show Off in AA Home Run Derby
  22. ^ Nate Silver, "L’Chayim to the IBL", BaseballProspectus/Unfiltered July 2, 2007.
  23. ^ Larry Granillo, "David Ortiz's Record-Slow Home Run Trot",, 24 May 2010. [retrieved 16 April 2011]
  24. ^ David Brown, "Fireworks send Lastings Milledge into an ill-fated home-run trot", Big League Stew, 7 May 2010. [retrieved 16 April 2011]
  25. ^ Kevin Baxter, "Botton Line Says: Angels Lose", Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2008.
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Things I Love And Hate, Part Two: The Human Rain Delay