In baseball, the bullpen (or simply the pen) is the area where relief pitchers warm-up before entering a game. A team's roster of relief pitchers is also metonymically referred to as "the bullpen". These pitchers usually wait in the bullpen if they have not yet played in a game, rather than in the dugout with the rest of the team. The starting pitcher also makes his final pregame warm-up throws in the bullpen. Managers can call coaches in the bullpen on an in-house telephone from the dugout to tell a certain pitcher to begin his warm-up tosses.

Each team generally has its own bullpen consisting of two pitching rubbers and plates at regulation distance from each other. In most Major League Baseball parks, the bullpens are situated out-of-play behind the outfield fence. There are currently three MLB parks with bullpens in playable foul territory: Oracle Park, Oakland Coliseum and Tropicana Field.

Jacob's Field Fultz and Betancourt in the Bullpen
When the game goes on, a relief pitcher warms up in the bullpen. Here Aaron Fultz and Rafael Betancourt warm up in the Cleveland Indians' bullpen behind the Progressive Field fence.
20070616 Chris Young visits Wrigley (4)-edit3
During pregame warmup the starting pitcher will loosen up in the bullpen. Chris Young of the San Diego Padres warms up in the former bullpen location at Wrigley Field prior to a game. This was an example of a bullpen located in foul territory on the playing field.

Origin of the term

The origin of the term bullpen, as used in baseball, is debated, with no one theory holding unanimous, or even substantial, sway. The term first appeared in wide use shortly after the turn of the 20th century[1] and has been used since in roughly its present meaning. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the earliest recorded use of "bullpen" in baseball is in a Cincinnati Enquirer article published on May 7, 1877[2], in which writer O.P. Caylor noted in a game recap:

"The bull-pen at the Cincinnati grounds with its `three for a quarter crowd' has lost its usefulness. The bleacher boards just north of the old pavilion now holds the cheap crowd, which comes in at the end of the first inning on a discount."

Prisoner-of-war camps

Civil War

During the Civil War in the United States, the notorious Andersonville prison camp was referred to, by the inmates, as a bullpen.

Though conditions were initially a vast improvement over Richmond detention centers, problems grew in proportion to the number of inmates. By late summer 1864, the prison population made Andersonville one of the largest cities in the Confederacy. At its peak in August, the "bullpen", built to lodge up to 10,000 enlisted men, held 33,000 grimy, gaunt prisoners, each one crammed into a living area the size of a coffin. Their only protection from the elements were "shebangs", hand built shelters low to the ground created by driving forked branches into the sandy soil four to eight feet apart and a piece of limb laid in the two forks creating the center pole. Planks or limbs were laid from the center pole to the ground creating what is also known as a "lean-to". The planks or limbs were covered with tent shelter halves, gum sheets, overcoats, or blankets as the owner could afford. If no woven material was available, then the shelter was covered in broad leaves giving the owner some shade but little protection from the rain.[3]


World War II

This wartime usage in the United States has occurred as recently as World War II. Tokio Yamane described conditions in Japanese relocation camps, referring to a "bull pen" within a stockade at Tule Lake, California.

Prisoners in the stockade lived in wooden buildings which, although flimsy, still offered some protection from the severe winters of Tule Lake. However, prisoners in the "bull pen" were housed outdoors in tents without heat and with no protection against the bitter cold. The bunks were placed directly on the cold ground, and the prisoners had only one or two blankets and no extra clothing to ward off the winter chill. And, for the first time in our lives, those of us confined to the "bull pen" experienced a life and death struggle for survival, the unbearable pain from our unattended and infected wounds, and the penetrating December cold of Tule Lake, a God Forsaken concentration camp lying near the Oregon border, and I shall never forget that horrible experience.[7]

Response to labor unrest (United States)

"Bull Pen," used to hold arrested IWW strikers in Yakima, Washington, 1933.
Bullpen used to imprison striking Industrial Workers of the World farmworkers, 1933

Temporary holding facilities for rebellious workers trying to organize into unions were referred to as bullpens.[8] These military prisons were sometimes literally pens normally used for cattle which were pressed into service by stringing barbed wire, establishing a guarded perimeter, and keeping large numbers of men confined in the enclosed space. These "bullpens" have been considered early versions of concentration camps,[9] and were used by the national guard during the Colorado Labor Wars of 1903-04, and in Idaho in 1892 and 1899 during union miners' uprisings near Coeur d'Alene. Author Emma Langdon described these as the first use of the bullpen in the West.[10]

In his autobiography Bill Haywood described Idaho miners held for,

...months of imprisonment in the bull-pen, a structure unfit to house cattle, enclosed in a high barbed-wire fence.[11]

Penned up in bullpens as a response to violence, many hundreds of union men had been imprisoned without trial. Peter Carlson wrote in his book Roughneck,

Haywood traveled to the town of Mullan, where he met a man who had escaped from the bullpen. The makeshift prison was an old grain warehouse that reeked of excrement and crawled with vermin. Overcrowding was so severe that some two hundred prisoners had been removed from the warehouse and quartered in railroad boxcars.[12]

Charlie Siringo described the bull pen as

"...a large stockade with a frame building in the center, for them to sleep and eat in."[13]

Other theories

  • In the 1800s, jails and holding cells were nicknamed "bullpens", in respect of many police officers' bullish features – strength and a short temper.
  • The bullpen symbolically represents the fenced in area of a "bull's pen", where bulls wait before being sent off to the slaughter. The relief pitchers are the bulls and the bullpen represents their pen.
  • The name may be a reference to rodeo bulls being held in a pen before being released into the main arena.
  • Latecomers to ball games in the late 19th century were cordoned off into standing-room areas in foul territory. Because the fans were herded like cattle, this area became known as the "bullpen", a designation which was later transferred over to the relief pitchers who warmed up there.
  • At the turn of the century, outfield fences were often adorned with advertisements for the Bull Durham brand of tobacco. Since relievers warmed up in a nearby pen, the term "bullpen" came about.[14]
  • Manager Casey Stengel suggested the term might have been derived from managers getting tired of their relief pitchers "shooting the bull" in the dugout and were therefore sent elsewhere, where they would not be a bother to the rest of the team – the bullpen. How serious he was when he made this claim is not clear.
  • Jon Miller, a baseball play-by-play announcer with ESPN television, said the term is derived from the late 19th century. The New York Giants first played at the Polo Grounds, which opened around 1880. The relief pitchers warmed up beyond the left-field fence, and in the same area was a stockyard or pen that had bulls in it.
  • In 1913, an Ohio veteran of the Civil War contrasted a current baseball game with "a good game uv old time bull pen, the way us boys uster play it." This suggests that bullpen was the name of a game.[15]

Bullpen locations

In most major league stadiums, the bullpens are located out-of-play just behind the outfield fences. Commonly, the bullpens are separated from each other and each team's is located on the side of the field corresponding with the same team's dugout. However, there are exceptions. In a few ballparks, the team's bullpens are opposite their own dugouts which allows the manager to more easily watch the pitchers warming up from his dugout. A recent trend is the installation of mesh outfield walls in front of the bullpen to allow the bullpen to be more-easily seen by both fans and the manager in the dugout, as well as to allow the players in the bullpen to more easily see what is occurring on the field.

Three major league stadiums currently have their bullpens in foul territory: Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland Athletics), Oracle Park (San Francisco Giants), Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays). This was more common in the past and most new stadiums have opted to move the bullpens to the outfield where the ongoing play is less likely to interfere with the bullpen. In parks with foul-territory bullpens, the relief pitchers and bullpen staff generally sit in chairs or benches along the wall between the field and the stands. The bullpen pitching area is in foul territory and in some of the stadiums, is right up against the foul line. It is therefore not uncommon for batted balls to head towards the bullpen requiring pitchers warming up (and even those sitting along the wall) to move to avoid interfering with a live play or being hit by the ball. There is commonly a ballboy at the end of the bullpen nearest to home plate to attempt to protect the players from foul balls hit in that direction.

Certain ballparks have their outfield bullpens in unusual configurations. Petco Park features the home bullpen behind the outfield fence and the visitor's bullpen behind that and one level higher. The visitor's bullpen was moved to this location from foul territory after the 2012 season.

Bullpen cars

Between 1950 and 1995, varying numbers of MLB teams used vehicles to transport pitchers from the bullpen to the mound. These bullpen cars ranged from golf carts to full-sized cars. The 1950 Cleveland Indians were the first to use a bullpen car. The last use of a bullpen vehicle was a motorcycle and sidecar used by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1995.[16] However, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Washington Nationals have since given relief pitchers the option of utilizing a bullpen cart in the 2018 season.

Other uses

Other current uses of the term include:

  • Reference to a large open work area consisting of desks with no separating walls and private offices. Bullpens were common across many business fields in the first half of the 20th century and are often used by software development teams.[17] Michael Bloomberg used this set-up and term at his media company Bloomberg L.P., and for his staff while Mayor of New York City.[18] Adrian Fenty used this setup also while mayor of Washington, D.C.[19]
  • Within USAID, the Office of Transition Initiatives' bullpen represents a surge capacity of experienced professionals that can be called upon to assist in all aspect of office operations and programming.
  • Marvel Comics refers to its in-house staff of writers and artists as the "Marvel Bullpen."


  1. ^ "Etymologies & Word Origins: Letter B". Wordorigins. Archived from the original on 2006-04-28.
  2. ^ "TBT: Enquirer coins". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  3. ^ Kleiner, Carolyn. "The Demon of Andersonville" Retrieved March 19, 2007.
  4. ^ Warriors into Workers: The Civil War and the Formation of Urban-Industrial Society in a Northern City, by Russell Lee Johnson pg192
  5. ^ Iowa and the Rebellion by Lurton Dunham Ingersoll pg 142
  6. ^ The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman't Troops in Savannah by Joseph T. Glatthaar pg 83
  7. ^ Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Personal Justice Denied "Chapter 9: Protest and Disaffection" Archived September 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Washington, D.C., December 1982. Retrieved March 19, 2007.
  8. ^ Emma Florence Langdon, The Cripple Creek Strike: a History of Industrial Wars in Colorado, 1903-4-5, Great Western Publishing Co., 1905, page 106
  9. ^ Jim Kershner, Carl Maxey: a fighting life, V Ethel Willis White Books, 2008, page 25.
  10. ^ Emma Langdon, The Cripple Creek strike: a history of industrial wars in Colorado, 1903-4-5, Great Western Pub. Co., 1905, page 468.
  11. ^ Haywood, William D. The Autobiography of Big Bill Haywood, 1929, page 81.
  12. ^ Carlson, Peter. Roughneck, The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood, 1983, page 54
  13. ^ Siringo, Charles (1912). A Cowboy Detective. Arcadia Press. p. 71. ISBN 9781545001882.
  14. ^ Heckle Depot. " Archived July 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  15. ^ "Ashville (OH) Home News". May 30, 1913.
  16. ^ Lukas, Paul (October 19, 2007). "Lukas: Long live the bullpen car - ESPN Page 2". Espn.com. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  17. ^ Dey & Associates Office Planning Manual Archived May 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Nagourney, Adam. "Bloomberg Vows to Work at Center of Things", The New York Times
  19. ^ Umminger, April; Lindeman, Todd (February 20, 2007). "Inside Fenty's Bullpen". The Washington Post.

External links

  • Media related to Bullpen at Wikimedia Commons

Baseball-Reference.com is a website providing baseball statistics for every player in Major League Baseball history. The site is often used by major media organizations and baseball broadcasters as a source for statistics. It offers a variety of advanced baseball sabermetrics in addition to traditional baseball "counting stats".

Baseball-Reference.com is part of Sports Reference, LLC; according to an article in Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, the company's sites have more than 1 million unique users per month.

Brian Snitker

Brian Gerald Snitker (born October 17, 1955) is an American professional baseball player, coach, and manager. He has served as the manager of the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball since 2016. Snitker has been in the Braves organization in different roles since becoming a minor league player in 1977.

Bullpen Bulletins

"Bullpen Bulletins" (originally titled "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins") was the news and information page that appeared in most regular monthly comic books from Marvel Comics. In various incarnations since its inception in 1965 until its demise in 2001, it included items such as previews of upcoming Marvel publications (the "Mighty Marvel Checklist"), news about and profiles of Marvel staff members, occasional references to real-world trends and events, and perhaps most famously, "Stan's Soapbox" (alternately known as "Stan Lee's Soapbox"), a monthly column written by Stan Lee.

With "Bullpen Bulletins," Lee created the friendly, chatty editorial voice of Marvel Comics — "a style that could be characterized as High Hipster — two parts Lord Buckley, one part Austin Powers," putting "himself on a first-name basis with the readership at a time when the rival DC editors generally came across... as... stodgy adults."The "Bullpen Bulletins" page was where Lee rhapsodized about the Marvel "bullpen," the stable of in-house creators who produced the company's comics. He often bestowed colorful sobriquets on Marvel staffers and creators; nicknames such as Stan "The Man" Lee and Jack "King" Kirby permeated into mass culture. The fictional Marvel staffer Irving Forbush also appeared regularly — as the butt of Lee's humor. Similarly, phrases like "Excelsior!," "'Nuff said," "True Believer," and "Make Mine Marvel," as well as other company mainstays like the No-Prize, were popularized there as well.

Lee often used "Marvel Bullpen Bulletins" and "Stan's Soapbox" to needle other comic book publishers, which he referred to as the "Distinguished Competition" (i.e., DC) or, more disparagingly, "Brand Echh." ("Brand Echh" was a play on an advertising convention of the time, in which a competitor's product was not referred to by name, but simply as "Brand X.")In 1982, in an edition of "Bullpen Bulletins," then Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter defined and described the Marvel Bullpen:

[I]n the old days, virtually every comics company had a big room where all the artists and writers sat together, creating their works of four-color wonder. Creative folks generally being the garrulous sort, typically, quite a bit of 'bull' got tossed around these legendary rooms, so the nickname 'bullpen' was a natural.... At any rate, these days, most comics artists and writers prefer to work in their own studios, but, still, here at Marvel, we have a big room, a production bullpen, where all of our art/production people work doing our paste-ups, lettering corrections, art corrections, and such — and even though the editorial folks are bunched in small offices off to the sides we still refer to the whole shebang as the Marvel Bullpen. It's a tradition dating back to the days when we actually were a one-room operation!

Coach (baseball)

In baseball, a number of coaches assist in the smooth functioning of a team. They are assistants to the manager, who determines the lineup and decides how to substitute players during the game. Beyond the manager, more than a half dozen coaches may assist the manager in running the team. Essentially, baseball coaches are analogous to assistant coaches in other sports, as the baseball manager is to the head coach.

Dana LeVangie

Dana Alan LeVangie (born August 11, 1969) is an American professional baseball coach, currently the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). Formerly a scout and minor league catcher, as an active player he both batted and threw right-handed and was listed at 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) and 185 pounds (84 kg).

Eddie Guardado

Edward Adrian Guardado (born October 2, 1970) is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher and current bullpen coach. Guardado played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins (1993–2003, 2008), Seattle Mariners (2004–2006), Cincinnati Reds (2006–2007), and the Texas Rangers (Two separate stints in 2008 and 2009). He was named as a bullpen coach for the Minnesota Twins in 2014.

His common nickname is "Everyday Eddie", a testament to his durable arm during his first stint with the Twins. Over Eddie's career, he appeared in 908 games. Only 22 other pitchers have appeared in more games.

Elrod Hendricks

Elrod Jerome "Ellie" Hendricks (December 22, 1940 – December 21, 2005) was an American professional baseball player and coach. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball from 1968 through 1979 for the Baltimore Orioles (1968–1972, 1973–1976, 1978–1979), Chicago Cubs (1972) and New York Yankees (1976–1977). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

Glenn Sherlock

Glenn Patrick Sherlock (born September 26, 1960, at Nahant, Massachusetts) is an American professional baseball coach. He is currently the first base coach for the New York Mets. He previously was one of the original coaches for the Arizona Diamondbacks, serving for 19 consecutive seasons (1998–2016). He was the team's longtime bullpen coach, although he spent stints as bench coach (2003), first base coach (2004) and third base coach (2004; 2014).

List of Boston Red Sox coaches

The following is a list of coaches, including role(s) and year(s) of service, for the Boston Red Sox American League franchise (1901–present), known during its early history as the Boston Americans (1901–1907).

List of Los Angeles Dodgers coaches

The following is a list of coaches, including position, year(s) of service(s), who appeared at least in one game for the Los Angeles Dodgers National League franchise also known previously as the Brooklyn Dodgers.

List of Major League Baseball team rosters

Below are the full rosters, including the coaching staffs, of all 30 Major League Baseball teams. All teams are allowed up to 40 players on their roster, which doesn't include players on the 60-day injured list.

Mike Bordick

Michael Todd Bordick (born July 21, 1965) is an American retired professional baseball shortstop. He played in Major League Baseball from 1990 to 2003 with four teams: the Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, and Toronto Blue Jays.

Mike Borzello

Michael Ross Borzello (born August 14, 1970) is a Major League catching coach for the Chicago Cubs.

Mike Harkey

Michael Anthony Harkey (born October 25, 1966) is a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball and current bullpen coach for the New York Yankees. As a player, Harkey pitched for the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, California Angels, and Los Angeles Dodgers between 1988 and 1997. He coached the Florida Marlins in 2006 and the New York Yankees from 2008 through 2013, before joining the Arizona Diamondbacks, who he coached in 2014 and 2015. This was before coming back to the New York Yankees, to coach again in 2016 and beyond.

Norm Charlton

Norman Wood Charlton III (born January 6, 1963), nicknamed "The Sheriff", is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds (1988-1992, 2000), Seattle Mariners (1993, 1995-1997, 2001), Philadelphia Phillies (1995), Baltimore Orioles (1998), Atlanta Braves (1998), and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1999).

The left-handed Charlton was best known as being part of the infamous "Nasty Boys" relief pitching corps for the 1990 Reds team who won the World Series. Randy Myers and Rob Dibble were the other two members. The Boys were renowned for their clutch, shutdown performances, particularly during the playoff run; their blazing fastballs; and their bruising beanballs. Charlton is also famous in Cincinnati for plowing over Mike Scioscia to score a run in a nationally televised Sunday night game.Charlton was also a key member of the two most beloved Mariner teams. During the 1995 "Refuse to Lose" team that was the first Mariner team to reach the playoffs, he was the team's closer after a midseason trade. As a member of the 2001 team that won an MLB record 116 games, he was a lefty specialist, fleshing out a bullpen which also featured Japanese closer Kazuhiro Sasaki, Jeff Nelson, and fellow lefty Arthur Rhodes.

Before the 1998 season, Charlton signed a contract to join the Baltimore Orioles bullpen. Charlton was released on July 28. He signed with the Braves a few days later.

On October 22, 2007, the Mariners named him their bullpen coach. Charlton's contract, along with those of the remainder of the 2008 coaching staff, was not renewed following the hire of Don Wakamatsu as the club's field manager in November 2008.Charlton holds three degrees from Rice University.

Pat Hentgen

Patrick George Hentgen (born November 13, 1968) is an American former professional baseball pitcher, and currently a special assistant with the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, and Baltimore Orioles.

Relief pitcher

In baseball and softball, a relief pitcher or reliever is a pitcher who enters the game after the starting pitcher is removed due to injury, ineffectiveness, fatigue, ejection, or for other strategic reasons, such as inclement weather delays or pinch hitter substitutions. Relief pitchers are further divided informally into various roles, such as closers, setup men, middle relief pitchers, left/right-handed specialists, and long relievers. Whereas starting pitchers usually rest several days before pitching in a game again due to the number of pitches thrown, relief pitchers are expected to be more flexible and typically pitch more games but with fewer innings pitched. A team's staff of relievers is normally referred to metonymically as a team's bullpen, which refers to the area where the relievers sit during games, and where they warm-up prior to entering the game.

Ricky Bones

Ricardo Bones (; born April 7, 1969) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. Bones played from 1991 to 2001 for three National League teams – the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, and Florida Marlins – and four American League teams – the Milwaukee Brewers, Kansas City Royals, New York Yankees, and Baltimore Orioles.

Steve Karsay

Stefan Andrew Karsay (born March 24, 1972) is a former right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher who is currently the bullpen coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. Karsay played for the Oakland Athletics (1993–94, 1997, 2006), Cleveland Indians (1998–2001), Atlanta Braves (2001), New York Yankees (2002, 2004–05), and Texas Rangers (2005).

Karsay grew up in the College Point neighborhood in Queens, New York City, just a few miles from Shea Stadium. In high school, he won the Gatorade Baseball Player of the year for New York State, as a pitcher for Christ the King High School.A 1st round draft pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1990, Karsay was traded to the Athletics along with outfielder José Herrera for Rickey Henderson on July 31, 1993. A starter in his early days with the Athletics, Karsay worked mostly in middle relief and as a set-up man from 1998 on, although he also had some notable success as a closer in 2000 with the Indians and 2002 with the Yankees.

His career was marred by injuries, causing him to miss the 1995 (elbow surgery), 1996 (Tommy John surgery) and 2003 (shoulder surgery) seasons; in all, he was on the disabled list seven times.On July 28, 2005, together with Scott Feldman and A. J. Murray, he threw a perfect game against the Corpus Christi Hooks. It was the first combined nine-inning perfect game in Texas League history, and the third overall.Finally, at age 34, Karsay announced his retirement on June 18, 2006, the day after pitching two scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers and getting the win in a 17-inning marathon for the Athletics. He finished his 11-year Major League career with a 32-39 record, 41 saves, and a 4.01 ERA in 357 career appearances, including 40 starts.

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