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In baseball, a position player is a player who on defense plays as an infielder, outfielder, or catcher. A pitcher is not considered a position player. A designated hitter, who bats but does not play any defensive positions, is therefore not a position player.
Position players are eligible to pitch, and a manager will use a position player as a relief pitcher on some occasions. This typically happens if a game is a blowout, if no other pitchers are available, or if the game has gone well into extra innings.
In ice hockey, "position player" refers to all non-goaltender players (forwards and defencemen), although "skater" is the more common term.
Baseball statistics play an important role in evaluating the progress of a player or team.
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each, taking turns batting and fielding. The game occurs over the course of several plays, with each play generally beginning when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball that a player on the batting team, called the batter, tries to hit with a bat. The objective of the offensive team is to hit the ball into the field of play, away from the other team's players, allowing its players to run the bases, having them advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate.
Softball is a game similar to baseball played with a larger ball on a smaller field, with only underhand pitches permitted. Softball is played competitively at club levels, the college level, and the professional level. The game was first created in 1887 in Chicago by George Hancock.
In baseball statistics, games started indicates the number of games that a pitcher has started for his team. A pitcher is credited with starting the game if he throws the first pitch to the first opposing batter. If a player is listed in the starting lineup as the team's pitcher, but is replaced before facing an opposing batter, the player is credited with a game pitched but not a game started; there have been instances in major league history in which a starting pitcher was removed before his first pitch due to an injury, perhaps suffered while batting or running the bases during the top half of the first inning.
In baseball, a save is credited to a pitcher who finishes a game for the winning team under certain prescribed circumstances. Most commonly a pitcher earns a save by entering in the ninth inning of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and finishing the game by pitching one inning without losing the lead. The number of saves or percentage of save opportunities successfully converted are oft-cited statistics of relief pitchers, particularly those in the closer role. The save statistic was created by journalist Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an official Major League Baseball (MLB) statistic in 1969. The save has been retroactively tabulated for pitchers before that date. Mariano Rivera is MLB's all-time leader in regular-season saves with 652, while Francisco Rodríguez earned the most saves in a single season with 62 in 2008.
The designated hitter (DH) is a baseball player who bats in place of another position player, most commonly the pitcher. The position is authorized by Major League Baseball Rule 5.11. It was adopted by the American League in 1973 and by the National League in 2022, making it universal in MLB. Within that time frame, nearly all amateur, collegiate, and professional leagues worldwide have adopted the designated hitter or some variant, except for Nippon Professional Baseball's Central League.
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws ("pitches") the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.
Charles Gardner Radbourn, nicknamed "Old Hoss", was an American professional baseball pitcher who played 12 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for Buffalo (1880), Providence (1881–1885), Boston (1886–1889), Boston (1890), and Cincinnati (1891).
Catcher is a position in baseball and softball. 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.
In baseball and softball, a relief pitcher or reliever is a pitcher who pitches in the game after the starting pitcher has been removed because of fatigue, ineffectiveness, injury, or ejection, or for other strategic reasons, such as inclement weather delays or pinch hitter substitutions. Relief pitchers are further divided informally into various roles, such as closers, setup men, middle relief pitchers, left/right-handed specialists, and long relievers. Whereas starting pitchers usually throw so many pitches in a single game that they must rest several days before pitching in another, relief pitchers are expected to be more flexible and typically pitch in more games with a shorter time period between pitching appearances but with fewer innings pitched per appearance. A team's staff of relievers is normally referred to metonymically as a team's bullpen, which refers to the area where the relievers sit during games, and where they warm-up prior to entering the game.
In baseball, the double switch is a type of player substitution, usually performed by a team while playing defense. The double switch is typically used to make a pitching substitution, while simultaneously placing the incoming pitcher in a more favorable spot in the batting order than was occupied by the outgoing pitcher. To perform a double switch, the ball must be dead.
Throughout the history of baseball, the rules have frequently changed as the game has continued to evolve. The rules of baseball can vary slightly from league to league, with there being dozens of leagues worldwide. A few common rules most professional leagues have in common is that four balls is a base on balls, three strikes is a strikeout, and three outs end a half-inning. One example of differing rules in professional leagues is the use of a pitch clock, which in Major League Baseball (MLB) is in place to speed up the pace of the game by forcing pitchers to pitch in a 15–20 second window, while in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) no such rule exists.
Raymond Bloom "Rube" Bressler was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1914 to 1916 and Cincinnati Reds from 1917 to 1920, before being converted to an outfielder and first baseman for Cincinnati from 1918 to 1927, the Brooklyn Robins from 1928 to 1931 and the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals in his final year of 1932. The first two teams he played for made it to a World Series, the 1914 Philadelphia Athletics lost to the miracle Boston Braves, while the 1919 Cincinnati Reds won against the scandal-tainted Chicago White Sox.
A swingman is an athlete capable of playing multiple positions in their sport.
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.
Song Jin-woo is a South Korean retired left-handed pitcher who played for the Hanwha Eagles his entire career. Song played in the KBO League for 21 seasons between 1989 and 2009. He currently holds several pitching records for the KBO, including his 210 wins, 2048 strikeouts, and 3003 innings pitched. He is the only pitcher in KBO League history to win 200 games, and the only one to strike out 2,000 or more batters. Because of his central role in establishing the Korean baseball players' association, he has the nickname of "Mr. President."
In baseball, a number of coaches assist in the smooth functioning of a team. They are assistants to the manager, who determines the starting lineup and batting order, decides how to substitute players during the game, and makes strategy decisions. Beyond the manager, more than a half dozen coaches may assist the manager in running the team. Essentially, baseball coaches are analogous to assistant coaches in other sports, as the baseball manager is to the head coach.