Scorekeeping and numbers:
Scorekeepers assign a number from 1 to 9 to each position on the field in order to record the outcome of each play in a more or less uniform shorthand notation. The number 1 corresponds to the pitcher; 2 is the catcher; 3 is the first baseman; 4 is the second baseman; 5 is the third baseman; 6 is the shortstop; 7 is the leftfielder; 8 the centerfielder; and 9 the right fielder.
A “55-footer” is a term for a pitch that bounces before it reaches the plate (professional distance between the pitching rubber and the plate is 60-feet 6-inches).
“12-to-6” is a curve ball, the motion of which evokes the hands of a clock. The ball starts at 12-o’clock and drops into the 6-o’clock strike zone.
“Aboard” means there are runners safely on base.
“Annie Oakley” means a free ticket to attendance at a ballgame or to first base, such as a free pass or a base on balls.
“Ash” is an old-fashioned word referring to the baseball bat, which was typically made of wood from an ash tree.
“At the letters” is a pitch that crosses the plate at the height of the letters of the team’s name on the shirt of the batter’s uniform, also known as “letter-high” or “chest-high.”
“Bad hop” is a ball that bounces in front of a fielder in an unexpected way.
“Ugly finder” is a foul ball hit into a dugout, presumably destined to “find” someone who is ugly, or to render him that way if he fails to dodge the ball.
“Basket catch” is catching a fly to the outfield with open glove near belt level. It was the signature catch of Willie Mays.
“Browsing” is a batter who strikes out looking, especially if the batter did not move his bat at all.
“Window shopping” is also when the batter is caught looking for strike three.
“Went fishing” is when a batter reaches across the plate trying to hit an outside pitch, perhaps one he can’t reach.
“Clinic” is a really long inning where a team gives up a lot of runs to the opposing team.
“Evil Empire” is a common nickname for the New York Yankees due to its wealth and winning by far the most championships.
“Fall Classic” is the championship series of Major League Baseball in which the American League champion faces off against the National League champion in the World Series.
“Goodbye Mr. Spalding!” is an exclamation used by a broadcaster when a batter hits a home run, as Spalding is a major manufacturer of baseballs.
“Grab some pine” means to go sit on the bench.
“Green light” is permission from the manager for a batter or runner to be aggressive.
“Yard” is the baseball field.
“Yardwork” is when a player hits many home runs or exhibits power.
“Web gem” is an outstanding defensive play and refers to the webbing of the fielders’ gloves.
Yogi Berra says:
“I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”
“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
“You can observe a lot by just watching.”
This Date In Baseball, June 13
1905 — Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants pitched his second no-hit game, beating the Chicago Cubs and Mordecai Brown 1-0. Mathewson and Brown matched no-hitters for eight innings. The Giants got two hits in the ninth for the win.
1912 — Christy Mathewson recorded his 300th career victory with a 3-2 triumph over the Chicago Cubs.
1921 — Babe Ruth of the New York Yankees pitched the first five innings and hit two home runs in an 11-8 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
1948 — Babe Ruth Day at Yankee Stadium drew 49,641 fans who saw Ruth’s No. 3 retired and the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3.
1957 — Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox hit three home runs and drove in five runs in a 9-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians as Williams became the first AL player to have two three-homer games in a season.
1973 — The Los Angeles Dodgers’ infield of Steve Garvey (first base), Davey Lopes (second base), Ron Cey (third base) and Bill Russell (shortstop) played together for the first time in a 16-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. The quartet would set a major league record for longevity by playing 8 1/2 years in the same infield.
2001 — Texas’ Ruben Sierra homered from both sides of the plate for the sixth time in his career, but the Rangers lost 5-3 to the Dodgers.
2003 — Roger Clemens reached 300 wins and became the third pitcher with 4,000 strikeouts, leading the New York Yankees over the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2. Clemens, the 21st pitcher to make it to 300, allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings and struck out 10, raising his total to 4,006. Clemens joined Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Steve Carlton (4,136) in the 4,000-strikeout club.
2008 — Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell hit consecutive home runs in the first inning of Philadelphia’s 20-2 rout of St. Louis.
2009 — Torii Hunter of the Angels hit three consecutive solo homers in Los Angeles’ 9-1 win over San Diego.
Today’s birthdays: Jonathan Lucroy 26; Pedro Strop 27.