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This refers to a bunt with the runner on third base. Why isn't a bunt referred to as a squeeze bunt with runners on other bases? Or is it a special type of bunt (e.g. toward the first base line) to maximize the chances of the runner getting from third to home?

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Why is a “squeeze bunt” referred to as such?

Although not explicitly stated, context could be used to gain insight on the coining of this phrase.

An April 20, 1905 Chicago Tribune article stated:

"[Ducky] Holmes tried to 'squeeze' in the run which would have won the game with a bunt, but it went foul."(1)

The first use of the term "squeeze play" can be found in the Chicago Tribune five days later when an article stated:

"[New York Highlanders] manager [Clark] Griffith says he has a new one called the 'squeeze play,' which is working wonders."(1) (2)

Clark Griffith is credited with coining this phrase. He is also credited for inventing the play, although there have been other claims that the play has been invented by others and used before this 1905 instance.


Why isn't a bunt referred to as a squeeze bunt with runners on other bases?

Based on the context of the phrase above, the term "squeeze" is used in relation to scoring a run. Thus, one would not be "squeezing" in a run if a bunt was used to advance base runners not on third base. A bunt with the intention of advancing a base runner (regardless of whether the batter gets on base or not) is known as a "sacrifice bunt." A "squeeze bunt" is a type of "sacrifice bunt."


Or is it a special type of bunt (e.g. toward the first base line) to maximize the chances of the runner getting from third to home?

Looking at the different types of squeeze bunts, the player has the discretion on whether to take his chances, before or during a bunt, to advance home. The placement of the bunt, although a significant factor, does not seem to define a "squeeze bunt" as such. A "squeeze bunt" is defined as such if the overall intention is to advance the base runner from third base.

There are two different kinds of "squeeze bunts":

  • Safety: The base runner on third base determines when and if to run based on where the ball is bunted. The main factor is the probability of the fielding team able to throw out the base runner at home plate, and this may be further determined by defensive fielding alignment (eg, are the infielders aligned closer to home plate than usual?).
  • Suicide: The base runner on third base advances for home immediately after the pitch is thrown.
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I'd say that squeeze came from the close grouping of the fielders (C, P, 3B, 1B) fielding the bunt, and the batter and runner all converging on a 'tight squeeze' at the plate. I've never heard of run scoring called squeezing outside the context of a bunt. –  Oldcat May 1 at 23:15

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