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

4.9 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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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.

Review

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 and...you’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 collection...so 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; 3 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 (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent reference book for baseball fans! I haven't read this book cover-to-cover...but as a baseball fan, I love just thumbing through it to find words or phrases that may be more obscure than much of the typical fan vocabulary for baseball. Dickson's book is also a good companion book to have if you read a lot of baseball books -- as many of the words and phrases give you some history that add to the context from use in other books. What I like about this reference book is that in many cases it gives you the source of where a phrase came from -- whether that be geographic, historical, or attributable to a certain author or book. By doing this, the book helps pique interest in other great baseball books or articles.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By far BY FAR the best reference book of baseball. You will love it. Great job of research for the author. More than 10000 baseball words and all of those words have the origins of the word, who was the first man to say that word. The book has a great bibliography. I have a lot of baseball books and this one is in my top 3. Awesome book
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A friend of ours several years ago invited us to the Baseball Reliquary's annual "Shrine of Eternals," a people's HOF. Mr. Dickson was one of the candidates inducted. He told us how he came up with the concept of the dictionary from at the time, his young children to the ballpark. The book not only defines the terms, but explains the historical development and if possible, the first use of the term. Fascinating to keep with your while you have your "cold one" and snacks while watching the game. Play ball!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We love baseball; I'm an old A's fan & my sister follows the Padres...no that I've moved back to San Diego
I'm carrying the Padres torch...the Dickson is great for anyone who is learning about the game, and, for
those of us who eat, sleep, and breathe, baseball.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have loved this book since I got the 2nd edition way back when. The Third Edition is double it's size. It is a treasure trove of baseball information, lore, history and language. You can find out the source of team names, why the place where batters wait their turn is the "on deck circle" and the fun of ground rules. Once, when I was watching a Nationals game a few years ago, F.P. Santangelo used the term "Bugs Bunny ball" to describe a pitch. Dickson's Baseball Dictionary was there to explain what he meant. This is the perfect gift for all serious baseball fans.
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