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The Dickson Baseball Dictionary (Third Edition) Paperback – June 13, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Dickson's dictionary does far more than define the terms and phrases of the game; many of his 5000 definitions provide etymological descriptions and contending theories, context notes, external uses of the term, and its "earliest" appearance. Patrick Ercolano's Fungoes, Floaters, and Forkballs (Prentice Hall, 1987), an effective glossary, provides 1500 basic terms, but doesn't approach Dickson's detailed descriptions and depth of coverage: team histories, field names, archaic and obsolete language, fan jargon, and dugout slang. A wide-ranging bibliography (240 books and articles) on baseball terminology , and baseball and language in general , guides users to more in-depth exploration. Although as current as the 1988 season's "balkamania," future editions to this excellent collection are planned. This work will be accessible to the young fan just discovering the game, as well as to scholars of the game and our versatile and ever-expanding language.
- Robert Aken, Univ. of Kentucky Libs., Lexington
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Dickson’s discursive dictionary…a delight for former sandlot players, lexical scholars and members of the hot-stove league.  (William Safire - The New York Times Magazine)

An indispensable guide to the language of baseball. (John Curtis - San Diego Union-Tribune)

If you’re a baseball fan’re curious about the etymology of the phrase out in the left field or you need a refresher on the infield fly rule. Well for 20 years, the authority, the baseball Bible, if you will, has been The Dickson Baseball Dictionary.  (Melissa Block - All Things Considered)

A wonderful companion volume...enough to last a fan through a 162-game season and the playoffs.…What a treasure to have at hand with a long season ahead.  (David Broder - Washington Post)

Very cool. (Rachel Maddow - The Rachel Maddow Show)

This magnificent volume will make the perfect gift for diehard fans. (Vick Mickunas - The Dayton Daily News)

[E]xtraordinary book…of value beyond the cost. If you or someone you love has an interest in [baseball, this] will be [a] welcome addition to any readable, so accessible, and such a pleasure to dip into, to research into, or to just sit down and read for the narrative flow. (James Srodes - Washington Times)

Always attuned to lore and language, Dickson ventures far beyond dugout expressions that have already dug out a place in common American speech. (Rob Kyff - Hartford Courant)

An invaluable American thesaurus. (Mark Shields)

Stupendous. . . . The best specialty dictionary I’ve seen in years. (Grant Barrett, lexicographer, NPR)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1008 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Third Edition edition (June 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393340082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393340082
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 2.2 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Dickson is the author of more than 45 nonfiction books and hundreds of magazine articles. Although he has written on a variety of subjects from ice cream to kite flying to electronic warfare, he now concentrates on writing about the American language, baseball and 20th century history. His most recent titles include Drunk: The Definitive Drinker's Dictionary, The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, Sputnik: The Shock of the Century and Slang: A Topical Dictionary of Americanisms.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. Michael Green on March 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The new and revised Dickson Baseball Dictionary is a must have for every baseball scholar or casual fan of the game. This third edition is revised with more than 10,000 entries, 18,000 definitions, and more than 250 photos - a masterpiece! This third edition is the definitive and authoritative guide to all baseball terminology. If I had to choose just ten baseball books for my library, the Dickson Baseball Dictionary would be one of them.

It is often an over-used phase "this is a must have book." But in this case, the phrase aptly fits. So many interesting phrases and terms in this new edition, it boggles the mind that one sport has so many distinct terms. Where to start? I spent two hours just flipping the pages when it first arrived, and I barely got past the first couple hundred pages. Some of my favorite terms include: a bowling ball pitch, Bud Black market, a Six-o'clock hitter, a Bugs Bunny change up, the ever familiar ducks on the pond, a Linda Ronstadt pitch, and the place I often sit at games - the Uecker seats. Since I have an interest in the Athletics and their irascible former owner Charlie Finley, I was please to see orange baseballs and the Kansas City pennant porch in the book as well.

The book provides not only multiple definitions to many, many terms, but provides incredible details on the phrase or term's history and origins. There is no other baseball book like this one on the market today. Author Paul Dickson has done a truly masterful job of searching for new and interesting terms over the past ten years including many new words and phrases from Latin-American players, fantasy baseball expressions, and terminology from the shameful steroid era.

You can hear a very compelling interview with author Paul Dickson on NPR's All Things Considered at this link: [...]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William B. Mead on February 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dickson, with help from hundreds of eager baseball writers and scholars, has again produced a delightful, thorough and anecdotal volume of diamond terms ancient and timely. I've authored eight baseball history books myself, and I bow to Dickson's accomplishment. It's certainly a historically great contribution to the joys and learning of baseball.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Wirkmaa on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
How do you improve - significantly - on something that is already first-rate?

Speaking for myself, I honestly don't know, but you could ask Paul Dickson, because he seems to have the answer. Otherwise, he could never have come up with his third edition of "The Dickson Baseball Dictionary".

As one who purchased and read - cover to cover, I must confess - the previous two editions of Mr. Dickson's formidable work on the rich, vast and altogether fascinating vernacular of baseball, I can truly say that this latest incarnation of his superlative work of lexicography is mind boggling in its scope, and thoroughly excellent in its execution.

Don't kid yourself by thinking you don't want or need to have it simply because you may already have a previous edition. This latest one is the real deal: no doubt about it. So do yourself a favor and buy it, and tell all your friends of like mind about it as well.

Trust me, they'll thank you for it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Skole on February 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Paul Dickson's latest book confirms -- as if confirmation were needed -- that he's the Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, yeah, and Yogi Berra, of baseball language and lingo. The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, is more than just a new edition, it's a completely revised, updated, expanded grand-slam achievement. Fans of the game will find it more useful than Google when it comes to definitions, origins, usages, history and anecdotes of the language of the great game. I checked my dog-eared first and second editions, and they're rookies compared with this new dictionary, weighing in at over four pounds, with a whopping 10,000 terms. Great photos and illustrations are eye-catchers on just about every page. Dan Webster, eat your heart out! Every baseball-loving kid -- and Mom and Dad -- will make excellent use of this book for years to come, in season and off. I know I will.

Robert Skole
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Everett R. on May 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an incredible compendium of terms and phrases used in baseball, and even if you know the game very well or an avid fan, I can pretty much guarantee there will be something new in here for you, whether it is a phrase or the genisis of the phrase.

The decision to buy this book is really a can of corn and if you are undecided, just remember that when you get to a fork in the road you should take it.

Well done and lots of fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Smith on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Dickson Baseball Dictionary's place as the definitive resource on the language of baseball is well established. While the second version still stands up well, the nature of the subject means that it was in need of revision now that ten years have passed since it was published.

Dickson and his supporting cast of over 400 contributors have succeeded in making this third edition a genuine upgrade on the previous version. The number of terms covered has increased from 7,000 to over 10,000 and, most importantly, the additions have been very well chosen.

The most substantial development is the inclusion of many terms from fantasy baseball and the statistical analysis of the sport. These topics have risen in prominence greatly over the last ten years and this needed to be reflected in the dictionary. Some of the terms relate to quite complex ideas, yet the definitions and explanations provided are succinct and clear.

The new terms fit seamlessly into the familiar format that has been used in previous editions. The Dictionary serves as both an extremely useful reference book as well as an entertaining guide to the unique language used in the sport, accompanied by many photos and pictures along the way.

If you are interested in the language of baseball, or simply want to learn more about the game, this is the book for you
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