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An outfielder is a person playing in one of the three defensive positions in baseball or softball, farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder,the center fielder, and the right fielder. As an outfielder, their duty is to catch fly balls and/ ground balls then to return them to the infield for the out or before the runner advances, if there is any runners on the bases. As an outfielder, they normally play behind the six players located in the field. By convention, each of the nine defensive positions in baseball is numbered. The outfield positions are 7 (left field), 8 (center field) and 9 (right field). These numbers are shorthand designations useful in baseball scorekeeping and are not necessarily the same as the squad numbers worn on player uniforms.
Outfielders named to the MLB All-Century Team are Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Pete Rose, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Ken Griffey Jr.
Players can be characterized as either corner outfielders or a center fielder. Corner outfielders are often slower and have less defensive value than the center fielder. However, there are some important differences between right fielders and left fielders. Right fielders tend to have the best throwing arms of the outfield so they can make the long throw to third base, but often are not as fast as left fielders. Center fielders are generally the fastest and most athletic of the three, because they have to run the farthest in order to field balls in the gaps and back up the other outfielders when balls are hit to them. Outfielders should also be able to read where the ball may be placed based on what the pitcher is throwing. They can tell what the pitcher is throwing by the middle infielders, second base and short stop, in which they show the numbers the catcher is giving to the pitcher behind their back to determine the pitch and tell where the ball could possibly be hit to.
Many of the best power hitters in baseball play in the outfield, where they do not have as constant involvement in fielding plays as other positions, especially before the institution of the designated hitter. For example, Babe Ruth was moved from pitcher to the outfield.Left fielders and right fielders are more often slow power hitters, and center fielders are usually fast base-runners and good defensive players. Center field is often considered the most difficult outfield position, requiring both a good throwing arm and speed. Center fielders on many teams often bat lead off.
Players who do not routinely start games, but often substitute as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement in the outfield are referred to as fourth outfielders or even fifth outfielders. These players can usually play any of the three outfield positions.
Corner outfielders are outfielders who play the corner positions of right field and left field. Corner outfielders often have less speed than center fielders, but make up for this deficiency with their offensive play. The main differences between left and right fielders are, first, that left fielders handle more chances because right-handed pull hitters tend to hit balls to left; second, that right fielders typically have stronger arms; third, that right fielders are frequently (not always) slower and less agile defensively. Many left fielders have had the speed to play center field, but have lacked the throwing ability required.
An example of an ultra-fast left fielder is Rickey Henderson (Ben Oglivie and Lou Brock can fit this description too), whereas the slow-footed but very strong-armed Carl Furillo, "The Reading Rifle," sets a standard for right fielders in the terms specified here.
Gorman Thomas is an example of the reverse theory. He was a centerfielder his entire career (mainly with the Milwaukee Brewers), but was not nearly in shape as the typical player for this position. He compensated for it with sheer hustle and determination.
Often, when an outfield prospect arrives in the majors, he plays both corner positions before settling at one or another.
Softball is a game similar to baseball played with a larger ball on a field that has base lengths of 60 feet, a pitcher's mound that ranges from 35–43 feet away from home plate, and a home run fence that is 220–300 feet away from home plate, depending on the type of softball being played. It was invented in 1887 in Chicago, Illinois, United States as an indoor game. The game moves at a faster pace than traditional baseball due to the field being smaller and the bases and the fielders being closer to home plate. There is less time for the base runner to get to first while the opponent fields the ball; yet, the fielder has less time to field the ball while the opponent is running down to first base.
Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball or softball fielding position between second and third base, which is considered to be among the most demanding defensive positions. Historically the position was assigned to defensive specialists who were typically poor at batting and were often placed at the bottom of the batting order. Today shortstops are often able to hit well and many are placed at the top of the lineup. In the numbering system used by scorers to record defensive plays, the shortstop is assigned the number 6.
Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes their turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the (home) umpire, and receives the ball from the pitcher. In addition to this primary duty, the catcher is also called upon to master many other skills in order to field the position well. The role of the catcher is similar to that of the wicket-keeper in cricket, but in cricket, wicketkeepers are increasingly known for their batting abilities.
A first baseman, abbreviated 1B, is the player on a baseball or softball team who fields the area nearest first base, the first of four bases a baserunner must touch in succession to score a run. The first baseman is responsible for the majority of plays made at that base. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the first baseman is assigned the number 3.
In baseball, a left fielder, abbreviated LF, is an outfielder who plays defense in left field. Left field is the area of the outfield to the left of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the left fielder is assigned the number 7.
A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field – the baseball and softball fielding position between left field and right field. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.
The rules of baseball differ slightly from league to league, but in general share the same basic game play.
A baseball field, also called a ball field, sandlot or a baseball diamond, is the field upon which the game of baseball is played. The term can also be used as a metonym for a baseball park.
A right fielder, abbreviated RF, is the outfielder in baseball or softball who plays defense in right field. Right field is the area of the outfield to the right of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the right fielder is assigned the number 9.
Robert Hayes "Bobby" Veach was an American baseball player from 1910 to 1930 including 14 seasons in the major leagues. He was the starting left fielder for the Detroit Tigers from 1912 to 1923 and also played for the Boston Red Sox (1924–1925), New York Yankees (1925) and Washington Senators (1925).
The infield shift in baseball is a defensive realignment from the standard positions to blanket one side of the field or another. Used primarily against left-handed batters, it is designed to protect against base hits pulled hard into the gaps between the fielders on one side. Originally called the Williams shift, it has periodically been referred to as the Boudreau shift or Ortiz shift since then.
This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms, phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, along with their definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.