walk-offs before "walk off"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 9 20:51:23 UTC 2013

On Mon, Sep 9, 2013 at 4:39 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:
> Was there a term for walk-offs before "walk off"? If not, it mystifies
> me that baseball took a century and a half to come up with this.

I believe a walk-off (hit/single/HR/etc.) would most often have been
called a "game-winning" (hit/single/HR/etc.). MLB confused matters in
the '80s by creating the statistical category of "game-winning RBI,"
which, as Wikipedia advises, "was credited to the batter whose at-bat
was responsible for bringing his team ahead for the final time in the
game." But in common parlance I'm pretty sure a "game winner"
typically occurred at the end of a game. In the official rulebook,
they talk about "game-ending hits."


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list