There are many terms that are used by vintage base ball enthusiasts that are either anachronisms for our time frame (i.e. they weren’t actually used before 1866) or they were never actually used at all. Popular culture has also encouraged the misuse some of these terms (ex: the Conan O’Brien clip above and the clip below from the movie “Ridiculous 6”). Ongoing research continues to clarify what terms were used and when.
This is a short list of terms that we use and some that we don’t. The Vintage Base Ball Association web site has an extensive list of terms used in the late 1850s-1860s as well as a list of terms to avoid.
- Ace – A run scored. This term was used in the Knickerbocker Rules of 1845. Its use was being replaced by the term Run by the 1860s. We prefer Ace.
- Hands – Outs. This is accurate terminology pre-1860 but the use of the term Out started to increase after 1860. We prefer Hands.
- Left Foot – When a left-handed batter steps up to the plate you may hear us calling out “left foot” to alert the fielders so that they can adjust their position. Whether or not this is an accurate term for the period that we play is unclear.
- Muffins – Players of lesser skill.
- Huzzah – The use of this term as a cheer fell out of use by the mid-19th century and was replaced by hurrah. However, all of the teams we play against use a Huzzah cheer as part of the post-game ceremony so we will continue to do so until all the teams decide to make a change.
- Unused terms and phrases – The following terms are not accurate for the period that we play and therefore we don’t use them (we use the term in parenthesis).
- Apple, Pill, Onion, Horsehide (ball)
- Arbiter/Abitrator, Referee (umpire)
- Behind (catcher)
- Cranks, Rooters (spectators)
- Hurler (pitcher)
- Striker to the line (call to bat)