place hitting (1884)

“The League in failing to offset the increased power given the attacking force in the game, by allowing the overhand throw, with a rule giving the batsman greater freedom of movement in defense, and increased facilities for ‘place-hitting,’ have simply thrown improvement in the game back a year.” “Diamond Chips,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 3, 1884, p8

Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
 “Willie Keeler did some rare [i.e., very fine] place hitting yesterday, all four of his drives taking a different direction.” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sept. 12; Peter Morris).