Posted by Masakim on January 25, 2002
In Reply to: Ballpark figure posted by R. Berg on January 25, 2002
: : : Wanna know the maning of the phrase " ballpark figure"
: At first, people described rough numerical estimates as "in the ballpark." An estimate that's in the ballpark is somewhere in the vicinity of the real value, as a baseball that a batter hits too far, but not beyond the bleachers, is still in the ballpark. More recently such approximations became known as ballpark figures.
ballpark figure A rough
estimate. Extended Use. The term has a decided odd connection to baseball given
the most figures having to do with the game (such as batting averages and earned
run averages) are relentlessly precise. Lexicographer Stuart Flexner is quoted
by William Safire (_I Stand Corrected_, 1984) on its evolution: "Our Random House
dictionary citation files show the term first started out as 'in the ballpark'
, as when talking about figures, estimates, etc., with 'I hope that's in
the ballpark.' Then, in 1968, we first recorded 'ballpark figure' from the _Seattle
From _The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary_ by Paul Dickson.
NAL guaranteed Whalen an advance of $100,000, which is not bad for a first book. "The other bids were in the same ballpark," Whalen said. (_San Francisco Examiner Book Week_, March 28, 1965)
I think they accepted it as a guess. I thought it was a ball-park figure. (_Wall Street Journal_, June 7, 1967)