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Ask Athlon Sports: Baseball

Q: I would like to know where the baseball term “Texas Leaguer” originated. I know it refers to a base hit that lands too far out for the infielder and too far in for the outfielder, but how and where did it get its name?

— Tom Ferraris, Whitestone, N.Y.

A: Much of baseball’s colorful terminology has slightly murky origins, and the term “Texas Leaguer,” which refers to a bloop hit that lands between the infield and the outfield, is no exception. As best we can tell, the term originated with a player named Ollie Pickering, a major league outfielder from 1896 to 1908 who had the distinction of being the first batter in an American League game as a member of the Cleveland Blues in 1901. News accounts of the time indicated that Pickering, who had been a popular player in the Texas League (a renowned minor league that dates back to 1884), once ran off a string of eight straight bloop hits, prompting onlookers to remark, “There goes Pickering with another one of those Texas Leaguers.”

Rob Doster, Senior Editor

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