5 Words and Phrases You Never Knew Came From Baseball

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5 Words and Phrases You Never Knew Came From Baseball

There are plenty of baseball-related phrases we use regularly — situations can be "curveballs." People can play "hardball." If we do well, we "hit it out of the park." Things come out of "left field." But there are a few phrases we use that you may not know originate from baseball. Here are five of them!

#1 - Charley horse

You know those terrible cramps you sometimes get in your legs? Yeah, you know the ones. Apparently the first use of "Charley horse" to describe those pains was in 1887, among baseball players. These painful cramps were said to occur more frequently in baseball players, hence its sporty history. There aren't too many more details about the word (like, why is it a "Charley horse" exactly?), but it is agreed that the term has definitive baseball origins.

#2 - It ain't over till it's over

Baseball fans probably already know this one, but others may have no idea this common phrase actually comes from sports. Baseball player Yogi Berra famously uttered this quote; Berra is well known for his witty comments, dubbed "Yogiisms." In this case, the phrase was originally meant to encourage the losing baseball team to continue to play, even if the other team had a significant lead on them. Now, this phrase is just another way of saying "don't give up."

#3 - Rain-check

When baseball fans would attend their outdoor games, they were occasionally given a ticket that would provide a refund or admission to a later game if the original event was rained out — a rain-check. Now we use the phrase all the time, whether it's to put off plans ("Can't make it to the movies tonight — rain-check?") or as a way for customers to receive a sold-out product at a later date.

#4 - Say it ain’t so, Joe!

We know it as an expression of disbelief, but originally this phrase goes back to the Black Sox scandal of 1919. Several White Sox players made a deal with gamblers to lose the World Series on purpose. Supposedly, Shoeless Joe Jackson — a White Sox player involved in the scandal — was confronted by a fan who uttered this phrase.

#5 - Wheelhouse

While we use the term "wheelhouse" to refer to someone's area of expertise/interest, it originally referenced a batter's "power zone." The term is so deeply embedded in baseball, that Wikipedia refers to it as "baseball jargon," which sounds about right to me.

Any other phrases you'd add to this list?