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Ned Hanlon

Inside Baseball is a strategy in baseball developed by the 19th-century Baltimore Orioles team and promoted by John McGraw.[1] In his book, My Thirty Years of Baseball, McGraw credits the development of the "inside baseball" to manager Ned Hanlon.[2] In the 1890s, this kind of play was referred to as "Oriole baseball" or "Baltimore baseball". [3]

Another team praised for their inside baseball was Chicago Cubs.



It is an offensive strategy that focuses on teamwork and good execution. It usually centers on tactics that keep the ball in the infield: walks, base hits, bunts, and stolen bases. One such play, where the batter deliberately strikes the pitched ball downward onto the infield surface with sufficient force such that the ball rebounds skyward, allowing the batter to reach first base safely before the opposing team can field the ball, remains known as a Baltimore Chop.

Another term in use in the 1890s for this style was "scientific baseball", referring to calculated one-run game strategies based on intelligent, cooperative actions of the players. McGraw in his book writes: "So-called inside baseball is mostly bunk. It is merely working out of definite plans that the public does not observe."

This strategy did not rely on big hits and home runs[1] and became the primary offensive strategy during the dead-ball era.

The equivalent modern term is "small ball".

Critics also note that the reputation of the Orioles for the "inside baseball" grew only in retrospect. At the time, the Orioles were more famous for deliberately playing dirty. [4]

As a Metaphor

The expression "inside baseball" is sometimes used as a metaphor for details or minutia of a subject so detailed that they generally are not well known by outsiders. An example may be a film critic's review of a movie using insider jargon, information, or understanding of which regular movie goers would have little knowledge. Citing the director's previous themes expressed in his/her movies in relation to the one being reviewed because of the director's fascination with X-school of film making, etc., would be considered an example of "inside baseball".

See also


  1. ^ a b Daniel Okrent, Harris Lewine, David Nemec (2000) The Ultimate Baseball Book, Houghton Mifflin Books,ISBN 0618056688 , p.33
  2. ^ John Joseph McGraw (1974) My Thirty Years of Baseball, Arno Press
    • p. 56: "I find it a general impression that Hanlon was more particularly noted for his ability to develop inside baseball."
  3. ^ Frederick G. Lieb (2005) The Baltimore Orioles: The History of a Colorful Team in Baltimore and St. Louis, ISBN 0809326191 p. 47
  4. ^ Leonard Koppett, The Man in the Dugout: Baseball's Top Managers and How They Got That Way, (2003) ISBN 1566397456, p. 28.

Inside baseball may refer to:


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