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Why is tapping the ball called bunting?

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βˆ™ 2010-05-03 20:16:25

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Webster's Online Dictionary reports that the etymology of the word "bunt" in this sense is simply as an alteration of the word "butt", meaning "to strike or push with or as if with the head."

It is impossible to say exactly when the bunt was introduced into baseball, but the offensive technique now known as the bunt was almost certainly invented by one of the sport's most famous early figures, Dickey Pearce. For much of his career, Pearce used his 'tricky hit' to tremendous effect as rules permitted it to roll foul and still be counted as a hit. The bunt was not common until the 1880s, and was not an accepted part of baseball strategy until the 20th century. The bunt has enjoyed periodic waves of acceptance and use throughout baseball history, coinciding with the periodic shifts of dominance between pitching and hitting over the decades.

During periods of pitching dominance, for example during the dead-ball era or the 1960s, bunting was an important offensive weapon. Conversely, during periods of hitting dominance, for example the 1990s and 2000s, the value of the bunt has often been questioned. Recently, teams following the "Moneyball" school of baseball thought (such as the Oakland Athletics, theBoston Red Sox, and the 2004-2005 Los Angeles Dodgers) have shown the tendency to shun the sacrifice bunt almost entirely. However, a simple canvass of the 2002-2005 World Series champions (the 2002 Anaheim Angels acting as the primary "small ball" trendsetter for the 2000s) reveals that each team used bunting frequently in order to overcome strictly power hitting teams. Nevertheless, the role of the bunt in baseball strategy is one of the perennial topics of discussion for baseball fans.

2010-05-03 20:16:25
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