According to an article by's Rob Neyer on April 14, 2000, in the early 1990s pitcher Dennis Eckersley used the phrase "walk-off piece" to describe giving up a game-ending homer and walking off the field, as described above. Whether he's the first to use the term or not is unknown, but in the years since, "walk-off homer" or "walk-off homerun" has spread such that it's as common a part of baseball lingo as the infield fly rule or suicide squeeze.

Walk-off homeruns are notable due to their sudden death nature. Since the home team bats last, a walk-off homer can only be hit by the home team, which leads to celebration. Additionally, they immediately end games, and are among the most exciting moments in sports. In fact, on Major League Baseball's 2002 list of the 30 Most Memorable Moments, 5 of them are walk-off homers: