"Beanball" is a colloquialism used in baseball, for a ball thrown at an opposing player with the intention of striking them such as to cause harm, often connoting a throw at the player's head (or "bean" in old-fashioned slang).A pitcher who throws beanballs often is known as a "headhunter". The term may be applied to any sport in which a player on one team regularly attempts to throw a ball toward the general vicinity of a player of the opposite team, but is typically expected not to hit that player with the ball. In cricket, the equivalent term is "beamer". Some people use the term "beaner", though that usage is discouraged as it is also an ethnic slur for Latino people.
In baseball, a beanball is a pitch, similar to a brushback pitch but actually intended to hit the batter as it is thrown at the head. It is rarely used as a strategic weapon, and is usually an act of anger and frustration; however, batters facing known headhunters are given a reason to fear a beanball and may alter their approach to hitting in the interests of self-protection, perhaps giving some strategic advantage to the pitcher. Some pitchers have been known to throw beanballs in response to giving up home runs. Teams with heated rivalries often find several beanballs exchanged in a season.
Beanballs can sometimes lead to fights, charging the mound, and bench-clearing brawls. Because of the hazards of the pitch and the possibility of fights, umpires will now often warn teams, after beanballs or fights have occurred, that any pitcher who throws at a batter will be ejected from the game with a mandatory one day suspension for the pitcher's manager. Throwing at batters can sometimes lead to suspension for a number of games as well. Managers may also be ejected if, in the umpire's judgment, they encouraged their pitcher to throw a beanball.
Several players' careers have been impaired or derailed after being struck with a beanball. Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane was knocked unconscious and later hospitalized for 7 days in 1937, and never played another game. In 1941, Dodgers outfielder Pete Reiser was hospitalized for a month, one of numerous injuries which shortened his career. Lou Boudreau played only sporadically after being beaned in 1951, and retired the following season. Tony Conigliaro missed over a year after being hit in the eye, and his vision later deteriorated to the point where he was forced to retire. Dickie Thon returned from a gruesome beaning in 1984, but never matched his earlier success. On September 28, 1995, Kirby Puckett, the superstar outfielder of the Minnesota Twins, was struck in the cheek by a Dennis Martínez fastball, breaking his jaw and loosening two teeth. It would be his last game; during spring training the following year he developed glaucoma, which ended his career. In 2005, the Cubs' Adam Greenberg was hit in the head with the first pitch that he faced in his major league career. Ron Santo, who thought he had lost an eye when his cheekbone was broken by a pitch in 1966, rushed back to the lineup. He described his attitude: "It was like, 'Here, hit me again.' I didn't have any fear. I just went on. When you get older, maybe fear does set in. Nobody will admit that, but it does happen." Don Zimmer, who was nearly killed by a beanball in 1953 and had four metal buttons surgically implanted in his skull, recounted, "It's not a case of being tougher than anybody else... You never know how you're going to react until you come back and play again."
Only one player has died after being hit in the head. Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was hit by a pitch thrown by submarine pitcher and noted headhunter Carl Mays on August 16, 1920 at the Polo Grounds in New York. He died 12 hours later and is noted as the only player to have been killed by a pitch. The following spring, Chapman's teammates experimented with leather helmets similar to those being used by football players; that year's Spalding Guide declared, "There is nothing 'sissy' about it." Catcher Roger Bresnahan is cited as one of the first players to construct and wear a helmet, in 1907.
Starting in 1956, Major League Baseball required that all batters either wear batting helmets or protective plastic liners underneath their caps. Full helmets were made mandatory in 1971, and wearing a model with an earflap has been required since 1983. Minor leaguers (as well as most college, high school, and youth leagues) must wear helmets with a flap covering each ear.
In baseball, hit by pitch (HBP) is an event in which a batter or his clothing or equipment is struck directly by a pitch from the pitcher; the batter is called a hit batsman (HB). A hit batsman is awarded first base, provided that he made an honest effort to avoid the pitch, although failure to do so is rarely called by an umpire. Being hit by a pitch is often caused by a batter standing too close to, or "crowding", home plate.
Softball is a game similar to baseball played with a larger ball on a field that has base lengths of 60 feet, a pitcher's mound that ranges from 35 to 43 feet away from home plate, and a home run fence that is 220–300 feet away from home plate, depending on the type of softball being played. It was invented in 1887 in Chicago, Illinois, United States as an indoor game. The game moves at a faster pace than traditional baseball due to the field being smaller and the bases and the fielders being closer to home plate. There is less time for the base runner to get to first while the opponent fields the ball; yet, the fielder has less time to field the ball while the opponent is running down to first base.
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who pitches the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.
Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes their turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the (home) umpire, and receives the ball from the pitcher. In addition to this primary duty, the catcher is also called upon to master many other skills in order to field the position well. The role of the catcher is similar to that of the wicket-keeper in cricket, but in cricket, wicketkeepers are increasingly known for their batting abilities.
In baseball and softball, the count refers to the number of balls and strikes a batter has in their current plate appearance. It is usually announced as a pair of numbers, for example, 3-1, with the first number being the number of balls and the second being the number of strikes. An individual pitch may also be referred to by the count prior to its delivery; for example, a pitch thrown with a count of three balls and one strike would be called a "three-one pitch." A count of 1-1 or 2-2 is called even. Zero is commonly pronounced "oh," although a 0-0 count is rarely expressed as such — the count is typically not mentioned until at least one pitch has been thrown. If the count reaches three strikes, the batter strikes out, and if the count reaches four balls, the batter earns a base on balls.
The rules of baseball differ slightly from league to league, but in general share the same basic game play.
In baseball, a brushback pitch is a pitch–usually a fastball–thrown high and inside the strike zone to intimidate the batter away from the plate on subsequent pitches. It differs from the beanball in that the intent is not to hit the batter, nor does it target the batter's head. Hitters will often crowd the plate in order to have a better swing at pitches on the outside half of the plate. The hitters hope that the pitcher will be scared to throw inside because they might hit the batter. The brushback helps a pitcher to "reclaim" the corners of the strike zone by forcing the batter to stand farther away.
Cricket and Baseball are the best-known members of a family of related bat-and-ball games. Both have fields that are 400 feet (120 m) or more in diameter, offensive players who can hit a thrown ball out of the field and run between safe areas to score runs (points), and have a major game format lasting about 3 hours.
In baseball, interference occurs in situations in which a person illegally changes the course of play from what is expected. Interference might be committed by players on the offense, players not currently in the game, catchers, umpires, or spectators. Each type of interference is covered differently by the rules.
James Michael Wolf is an American Major League Baseball umpire. He joined the major league staff in 1999 after working in the Arizona Rookie League, the South Atlantic League, the California League, the Texas League and the Pacific Coast League. He wears uniform number 28.
This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms, phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, along with their definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.
The unwritten rules of baseball are a set of unspoken rules in baseball that some players and managers follow. The rules often concern gamesmanship and not disrespecting players on the opposing team. Incidents have occurred when one or more players interpret the actions of another player as violating the unwritten rules, which can result in beanballs and bench-clearing brawls. As the rules are unwritten, and in many cases vague, the interpretation is left to the players involved.