Baseball Shorts: Inside Baseball

In today’s episode of “Baseball Shorts,” we pay attention to the term Inside Baseball. One may think that the term has to do with modern day’s sabermetrics, but in fact the term first was used in the late 1800s.

John McGraw, the initiator of inside baseball

The original meaning referred to a particular style of play which relied on bunts, stealing bases, and minor hits, rather than on home runs. The type of play was invented by future Hall of Fame manager John McGraw during his days with the Baltimore Orioles. One of the tactics he used was the Baltimore Chop, a type of hitting that has been written about in Baseball Shorts before.

Within a decade, the term came to be used to refer to a specialized knowledge about the sport of baseball, rather than simply describing a style of play, the Orioles were famous for.

Eventually in the 1950s, the term even evaluated to be applied to politics. Nowadays, “Inside Baseball” is used more often to describe non-sporting matters, and typically denotes minor details or things about which only a few insiders care.

In all of the articles about the term “Inside Baseball”, it is explained when the term saw light and what it actually means. A proper explanation for the word inside is missing. As in the type of play, in which short hits, base stealing and hit and run are used, the ball hardly ends up outside the infield, the term inside can be explained as the type of play in which the ball doesn’t leave the infield and thus stays inside.


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