19th Century Base Ball Terms


Note: research continues to be done into the game's origins and early customs, and new information is coming to light. Because of this, there are some questions about a few of the terms listed below as to their actual usage in the 19th century. Recognizing this, but also maintaining recent Vintage Base Ball custom, the Voles use the terms as listed below.


ACE: A score/run.


ARBITER: Umpire.


BALLIST: A base ball player


BASE BALL: Yes, it was two words in the 19th century.


BEHIND: Catcher


BOUND OUT: A batted ball caught by a fielder on the first bounce. The batter is out, but runners may advance at their own risk.


CRANK: A fan.


FAIR-FOUL HIT: A batted ball that lands first in fair territory, then bounces/rolls foul. It is considered a fair ball. In the time period depicted by the Voles, a batted ball is called fair or foul based on where it first hits the ground, regardless of where it ends up.


HANDS DEAD: Outs, as in "no hands dead," "one hand dead," etc. Often shortened simply to "Hands," as in "How many hands?" "One hand."


HUZZAH: Hooray


HURLER: Pitcher.


LEG IT: Run fast


ROVER: Shortstop. May play anywhere of his/her choosing.


SCOUT: Outfielder. Scouts must position themselves straight away, no shading to left or right.


STRIKER: Batter.


STRIKER TO THE LINE: The arbiter calls this when play is ready to begin. Similar to "Batter up." The "Line" is a line running through home plate, perpendicular to the path of a ball thrown by the hurler. The striker must have one foot on either side of the line to take the proper position at the plate (in other words, the striker may not be "back in the box").


TALLY BELL: A bell rung to alert cranks that an ace has been scored.


TALLYKEEPER: Scorekeeper.


TENDER: A baseman, as in "first tender," "second tender," "third tender." Tenders must position themselves within one step of their respective bases.


Likewise, there are some terms we use today that were most likely not used in the 19th century such as "On-Deck," "In the hole," etc.