(I'm double asking because I'm pretty sure I know the answer to the first half, but would like confirmation anyways.)

Playing baseball recently, a batter chopped a ground ball hard, over the pitcher's head. This was referred to as a "Baltimore chop". That's what it is, right?

Why is it called that? "Chop" I get, but what's it have to do with Baltimore?

2 Answers 2


The Baltimore Chop is so named because its origins were in the late 1800s Baltimore Orioles. This blog post by Roar34 discusses it in some detail, along with the other antics the Orioles got up to back then. Unfortunately the article that blog post references doesn't seem to exist anymore (an article by Dr. David Haus of Bowling Green). Baseball Reference's definition also agrees with that origin (and the general concepts of the definition below).

A Baltimore Chop is a ball hit into play that is hit nearly directly down, typically landing right in front of the plate, and then bouncing fairly high up, preventing the catcher from instantly fielding it (and possibly going, slowly, towards the other infielders). According to the post above, the original Chop was a result of the Orioles placing cement in that part of the infield (under the dirt) to cause higher bounces.

This was primarily effective in the 'dead ball' era, and post-1919 there are better ways to get singles.


A Baltimore Chop is when the batter drives the ball into the ground in front of home plate and gets a large bounce over the infielders' heads for a single.

This was named for the 19th century Baltimore Orioles (one of several teams by this name). The Baltimore Orioles played in the National League from 1892 to 1899, and in that time won the National League pennant three times and won the Temple Cup twice. Several hall-of-famers came from this team.

The team was famous for tricky plays and dirty behavior. They were also experts in so-called inside baseball or small ball strategy, featuring base hits, stolen bases, and precision bunting, and the Baltimore Chop was a part of that strategy that they perfected. To help them get the bounce that they needed, the groundskeeper mixed the dirt in front of home plate with clay and kept it unwatered.

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