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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.
Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. Within the game there are positions in which each player can play in.
In sabermetrics, the defensive spectrum is the graphical representation of the positions on a baseball field, arranged from left to right. Most people say that catcher is the hardest position to play because a catcher has many responsibilities. A catcher has to watch the runners, make sure no one is going to steal, squat for 2-5 hours a game, and has to make the right calls for what pitch the pitcher should throw.
In baseball, the batting order or batting lineup is the sequence in which the members of the offense take their turns in batting against the pitcher. The batting order is the main component of a team's offensive strategy. In Major League Baseball, the batting order is set by the manager, who before the game begins must present the home plate umpire with two copies of his team's lineup card, a card on which a team's starting batting order is recorded. The home plate umpire keeps one copy of the lineup card of each team, and gives the second copy to the opposing manager. Once the home plate umpire gives the lineup cards to the opposing managers, the batting lineup is final and a manager can only make changes under the Official Baseball Rules governing substitutions. If a team bats out of order, it is a violation of baseball's rules and subject to penalty.
More hit balls go to the shortstop than to any other position, as there are more right-handed hitters in baseball than left-handed hitters, and most hitters have a tendency to pull the ball slightly. Like a second baseman, a shortstop must be agile, for example when performing a 4-6-3 double play. Also, like a third baseman, the shortstop fields balls hit to the left side of the infield, where a strong arm is needed to throw out a batter-runner before they reach the safety of first base.
In baseball, a pull hitter is a batter who usually hits the ball to the side of the field from which he bats. For example, a right-handed pull hitter, who bats from the left side of the plate, will usually hit the ball to the left side of the field, termed "left field", from the batter's perspective. The opposite of pull hitting is known as "hitting to the opposite field." Hitters who rarely hit to the opposite field or "up the middle" are often described as dead pull hitters.
In baseball and softball, second baseman is a fielding position in the infield, between second and first base. The second baseman often possesses quick hands and feet, needs the ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and must be able to make the pivot on a double play. In addition, second basemen are usually right-handed; only four left-handed throwing players have ever played second base in Major League Baseball since 1950. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the second baseman is assigned the number 4.
Doc Adams of the Knickerbockers created the concept of the shortstop position, according to baseball historian John Thorn and Baseball Hall of Fame researcher Freddy Berowski.In the first five years the Knickerbockers played, the team fielded anywhere from eight to eleven players. The only infielders were the players covering each of the bases; if there were more than eight players, extra outfielders were sometimes used. The outfielders had difficulty throwing baseballs into the infield, because of the balls' light weight. Adams's shortstop position, which he started playing at some time from 1849 to 1850, was used to field throws from the outfielders and throw to the three infielders. With the advent of higher-quality baseballs, Adams moved to the infield, since the distance the balls could travel increased. Adams had a long playing career with the Knickerbockers: he remained a player with the team until 1860.
Daniel Lucius "Doc" Adams was an American baseball player and executive who is regarded by historians as an important figure in the sport's early years. For most of his career he was a member of the New York Knickerbockers. He first played for the New York Base Ball Club in 1840 and started his Knickerbockers career five years later, continuing to play for the club into his forties and to take part in inter-squad practice games and matches against opposing teams. Researchers have called Adams the creator of the shortstop position, which he used to field short throws from outfielders. In addition to his playing career, Adams manufactured baseballs and oversaw bat production; he also occasionally acted as an umpire.
The New York Knickerbockers were one of the first organized baseball teams which played under a set of rules similar to the game today. In 1845, the team was founded by Alexander Cartwright, considered one of the original developers of modern baseball. In 1851, the New York Knickerbockers wore the first ever recorded baseball uniforms.
John Thorn is a sports historian, author, publisher, and cultural commentator. Since March 1, 2011, he has been the Official Baseball Historian for Major League Baseball.
Unlike the pitcher and catcher, who must start every play in a designated area (the pitcher must be on the pitcher's mound, with one foot in contact with the pitcher's rubber, and the catcher must be behind home plate in the catcher's box) the shortstop and the other fielders can vary their positioning in response to what they anticipate will be the actions of the batter and runner(s) once the play begins.
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws 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.
Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes his/her 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.
The shortstop ordinarily is positioned near second base on the third-base side. Because right-handed hitters tend to hit the ball more toward third base, a shortstop will generally move closer to third base if the batter is batting right-handed, and more toward first base if the batter is batting left-handed. A shortstop typically has a strong throwing arm, because he has a relatively long throw to first base, and often has less time in which to make a throw, given that the ground balls he fields have often traveled relatively far. A shortstop must also be extremely agile, because balls hit to or near the shortstop position are usually hit harder than to other infield positions.
Shortstops are required to cover second base in double play situations when the ball is hit to the second baseman or first baseman. They also cover second when a runner is attempting a stolen base, but only when a left-handed hitter is batting because the infield will respond to a left-handed batter by shifting toward first base, resulting in the shortstop being the infielder who is closest to second base. Shortstops also must cover third at various times, including the rotation play; the latter occurs when there are runners on first and second and a sacrifice bunt is attempted toward third base, requiring the third baseman to move in away from third base in order to field it. Shortstops generally are given precedence on catching pop-ups in the infield as well, so they end up calling off other players many times, although on deep pop-ups they generally fall back when called off by an outfielder. They often become the cutoff man on balls to any part of the outfield that are being directed towards third base and all balls to left and center field that are destined for second base. Depending on the system the shortstop may cut balls from left field heading home; however, this is usually the job of the third baseman.
In baseball, part of the infielders' and pitcher's jobs is to cover bases. That is, they stand next to a base in anticipation of receiving the ball thrown from another fielder, so that they may make a play on an opposing baserunner who is approaching that base. On a force play, the fielder covering the base stands with one foot on that base.
In baseball, a double play is the act of making two outs during the same continuous play. The double play is defined in the Official Rules in the Definitions of Terms, and for the official scorer in Rule 9.11. Double plays can occur any time there is at least one baserunner and fewer than two outs.
In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a runner advances to a base to which he is not entitled and the official scorer rules that the advance should be credited to the action of the runner. The umpires determine whether the runner is safe or out at the next base, but the official scorer rules on the question of credit or blame for the advance under Rule 10.
The emphasis on defense makes the position unusually difficult to fill. Historically, a strong shortstop did not have to be a good hitter. Some of the weakest hitters in Major League Baseball have played the position, including Mario Mendoza, for whom George Brett popularized the eponymous Mendoza Line to describe a batting average below .200. Since the 1960s, however, such mediocre hitting has become rarer as teams increasingly demand players with ability to both field and hit.
In practice, a marginal fielder as a shortstop who hits well can be moved to almost any other position, especially second base or third base, whether early in their careers (examples: George Brett and Mike Schmidt were both tried early in their careers as shortstops)or later due to diminished fielding range, slower reflexes, weaker throwing arms, increased risk of injury, or co-existence with another dominant shortstop, as with Ernie Banks, Cal Ripken Jr., Alex Rodríguez, Michael Young, or Miguel Tejada.
The year in which the player was inducted is given in brackets after his name.
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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 homerun fence that is 220 feet away from home plate. It was invented in 1887 in Chicago, Illinois, United States as an indoor game. The game moves at a faster pace than traditional baseball. 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. The name "softball" was given to the game in 1926, because the ball used to be soft; however, in modern day usage, the balls are hard.
Calvin Edwin Ripken Jr., nicknamed "The Iron Man", is an American former baseball shortstop and third baseman who played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles (1981–2001). One of his position's most offensively productive players, Ripken compiled 3,184 hits, 431 home runs, and 1,695 runs batted in during his career, and he won two Gold Glove Awards for his defense. He was a 19-time All-Star and was twice named American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP). Ripken holds the record for consecutive games played, 2,632, surpassing Lou Gehrig's streak of 2,130 that had stood for 56 years and that many deemed unbreakable. In 2007, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility with 98.53% of votes, the fifth-highest election percentage ever.
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as simply the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. It is also awarded to women fastpitch softball players in the National Pro Fastpitch as of 2016. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Additionally, a sabermetric component provided by Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) accounts for approximately 25 percent of the vote. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year, one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in MLB; however, separate awards were given for the NL and AL beginning in 1958.
A third baseman, abbreviated 3B, is the player in baseball whose responsibility is to defend the area nearest to third base — the third of four bases a baserunner must touch in succession to score a run. In the scoring system used to record defensive plays, the third baseman is assigned the number '5'.
Mark Henry Belanger, nicknamed "The Blade," was an American professional baseball shortstop. He played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. A defensive standout, Belanger won eight Gold Glove Awards between 1969 and 1978, leading the American League in assists and fielding percentage three times each; he retired with the highest career fielding average by an AL shortstop (.977). Belanger set franchise records for career games, assists, and double plays as a shortstop, all of which were later broken by Cal Ripken Jr. After his playing career, he became an official with the Major League Baseball Players Association.
First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner to score a run for that player's team. A first baseman is the player on the team playing defense who fields the area nearest first base, and 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.
An infielder is a baseball player stationed at one of four defensive "infield" positions on the baseball field.
The rules of baseball differ slightly from league to league, but in general share the same basic game play.
In baseball, an assist is a defensive statistic, baseball being one of the few sports in which the defensive team controls the ball. An assist is credited to every defensive player who fields or touches the ball prior to the recording of a putout, even if the contact was unintentional. For example, if a ball strikes a player's leg and bounces off him to another fielder, who tags the baserunner, the first player is credited with an assist. A fielder can receive a maximum of one assist per out recorded. An assist is also credited if a putout would have occurred, had another fielder not committed an error. For example, a shortstop might field a ground ball cleanly, but the first baseman might drop his throw. In this case, an error would be charged to the first baseman, and the shortstop would be credited with an assist.
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.
William Oliver Ripken, nicknamed Billy The Kid, is an American former infielder in Major League Baseball from 1987–1998 for the Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians (1995), and Detroit Tigers (1998). During his career, he batted and threw right-handed. He is the younger brother of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.. He currently serves as a radio host for XM Satellite Radio and a studio analyst for MLB Network.
A hit and run is a high risk, high reward offensive strategy used in baseball. It uses a stolen base attempt to try to place the defending infielders out of position for an attempted base hit.
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.
The 2001 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing 4th in the American League East with a record of 63 wins and 98 losses. It would also be the final season for Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.