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The term is used to signify the non gloved hand of the pitcher. I've only ever heard it used relative to the pitcher.

For example, “On the bunt the pitcher used his meat hand instead of gloving the ball to get the out at first.”

For a third baseman someone would just say that he “palmed the ball to get the out”.

So it's obvious what the term means, but is there any way to understand how that originated? First use, what (or who) made it popular - etc. And perhaps why it only applies to a pitcher.

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It's not restricted to pitchers; every player has a meat hand and a glove hand, and my impression is that it's used most often of catchers.

The earliest use I've found is from 1911, in a short story by Charles Van Loan, “The Crab” in The Big League, 1911, where a first baseman praises his colleague:

“There ain’t a third baseman in the country who has anything on him when it comes to handling a bunt or a slow ball. He comes gallopin’ in on ’em, drops his glove to the ground, straightens up, and wham! I can shut my eyes and take a throw from him, because I know just where he’s going to put it—and it’ll never be on the ‘meat-hand’ side, either.”

That is, the throw always comes to the first-baseman's glove; he doesn’t have to reach across his body.

Hugh S. Fullerton defines the term in “The Baseball Primer”, The American Magazine, LXXIV (May-Nov 1912), p. 204:

Meat Hand—The throwing hand of a player, the term resulting from the fact that the throwing hand is bare while the other is protected by a glove or mitt.

But there is nothing in these to tell us whether the term was invented by a player or a writer.

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