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a person who plays ball professionally, especially baseball.
anyone who plays ball.
Contemporary Examples

“Well, we only have one team,” Williams, the Russian ballplayer quipped.
Billy Crystal’s Tribute to Robin Williams at the Emmys Was Perfect Kevin Fallon August 25, 2014

Wilson looked more like a bouncer at a waterfront bar than a ballplayer.
Baseball’s Greatest Comebacks Kevin Baker October 16, 2008

Japanese ballplayer Gives Best Interview Ever Speaking perfect English is overrated.
Beyoncé, Jimmy Fallon, Will and Jaden Smith, and More Viral Videos The Daily Beast Video May 31, 2013

Nevertheless, Palmer is one ballplayer occasionally seen in the company of long, heavy novels.
Will the Real Jim Palmer Please Stand Up Tom Boswell September 26, 2014

Historical Examples

If a ballplayer begins to play and to count his throws, it’s all up for the time being.
Pompeii, Its Life and Art August Mau

a player, esp in soccer, with outstanding ability to control the ball
(US & Canadian) a baseball player, esp a professional

mid-15c., from ball (n.1) + player.


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