pitch-out (1903)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Mon Dec 20 19:31:16 UTC 2004

pitch-out (OED2 1912)

Washington Post, Aug 16, 1903, p. E12, col. 3
One, two or three fingers laid in the glove means fast ball, curve or pitch
out. A fast ball is the term for straight or inshoot, and pitch out is the
sign for a wide ball when the backstop wants to throw to a base.
[Reprinted in: (Decatur, Illinois) Daily Review, Aug 24, 1903, p. 3]

(Elyria, Ohio) Evening Telegram, June 18, 1907, p. 4, col. 5
By "pitching out" is meant a ball thrown out of reach of the batter, so
that the catcher may have a clear and quick throw to second if a runner on
first starts to steal. ... The catcher is also watching, and when he
thinks the runner is to start he signals for a "pitch out."

Washington Post, Dec 15, 1907, p. S3, col. 8
The pitcher would pitch out, that is to say, wide of the plate, so that
the batter could not hit the ball, and the catcher had a clear road to
throw to second, three or four times in succession.

Lima (Ohio) Times Democrat, Apr 16, 1909, p. 9, col. 3
The catcher signals the pitcher that he will try for the runner, and it is
up to the pitcher to hand up a pitch-out ball. ... If the pitch-out is
four or five inches wide of the plate or just wide enough to get the
batter on edge and he begins to edge out with his bat when he sees it is a
little too wide, he renigs, that's what the men trying to make the play

--Ben Zimmer

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