noun: a homerun
variances: ‘long tater’
I have heard the term ‘tater’ used to describe a homerun since I was a kid but never knew the origins of the term. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. David Kaleida didn’t either and decided to find out. His article at 6-4-3 Putout puts forth several theories on how the term came to be. There, we find Reggie Jackson’s quote in People Magazine, “Taters, that’s where the money is”. There’s also the theory that it came from the Negro Leagues where ‘potato’ and ‘long potato’ may have been the originating terms.
Kaleida points to a SI.com article by Pete McEntegart who says Red Sox first baseman George Scott popularized the term when “he was mashing homers and calling them ‘taters’”.
Current uses in Popular Media
You can look no further than Wezen-ball.com’s alliterative Tater Trot Tracker to find an example of the use ‘tater’ (a rather humorous look at how long every player takes to round the bases after a homerun).
Back in 2001 when Sosa was doing his thing, the Peninsula Clarion declared ‘Sosa joins exclusive tater club’.
Apparently, there is a piece of baseball equipment called ‘Tater Grip’ used for enhancing your grip on the bat.
An Iowa high school baseball player has a name that is just made for his sport. Tater Clubb lives up to his moniker, too. Not only did he strike 15 opponents from the mound, he also hit a ‘tater’ for his ‘clubb’