Thursday, December 27, 2012

Baseball Lexicon: Mendoza Line

Over the history of the game, there has been terms or phrases that has been said and later became a part of baseball's regular lexicon. Some of which have been picked up in normal society such as "from left field" meaning a thought or viewpoint away from the norm or "throw a curveball"  meaning to surprise or deceit.
From time to time, I may use a term that is not commonly known. So, I will take time to define them and give you some background on the origin of.
1981 Topps

Today's phrase is Mendoza Line. It means to have a batting average of .200 and was named after Mario Mendoza.  Mendoza was a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners during the late 1970s and early 80s. He, not unlike many other shortstops of the day, was more known for their defense rather then their offense. The belief at the time was a hitting shortstop was not a high priority as long he was of gold glove caliber. This all changed with the play of Orioles' Cal Ripken Jr., Tigers' Alan Trammell and Brewers' Robin Yount.
Year in and year out, Mendoza finished the season in and around a .200 batting avg. and was ribbed by Seattle's teammates Tom Paciorek and Bruce Bochte because of it.  During one particular season while Kansas City's George Brett was struggling, he was told by Paciorek and Bochte that if he wasn't careful that he would finish below the Mendoza Line.  Later that season in an interview with ESPN's Chris Berman, Brett mentioned the Mendoza Line and the phrase took off from there.
So in the future when you hear someone mention the Mendoza Line, you now know what it means.  If there is a word or phrase you don't know, feel free to ask me. I will answer for you.

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