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Baseball's Backcatchers

A catcher in baseball has to deal with homeplate collisions, 100 mile per hour fastballs and potential basestealers. Find out more about baseball's toughest position.

Catchers - Behind Homeplate

The catcher is without a doubt baseball's most demanding and dangerous position. A catcher must do more than crouch awkwardly behind homeplate and catch fastballs for nine innings. A catcher also has to throw out runners trying to steal a base, direct players where to play in the infield and signal the pitcher what pitches to throw. It's a position which requires mental and physical strength, as well as a willingness to play through pain.

Catchers - Gear Up

While catchers wear more protection than any other player on the baseball field, they also suffer more physical punishment than any other position. A catcher is constantly getting smoked with pitches and run over by hard-charging baserunners. To protect themselves, catchers rely on heavy protective gear.
  • Mask - protects their head and face from balls, bats and other players.
  • Glove - a catcher's glove is bigger and thicker than a regular baseball glove to absorb the impact of pitches.
  • Shin Guards - catcher's wear shin guards to protect themselves from runners sliding into home with their spikes up.
  • Chest Protector - a catcher's protector looks like a piece of body armor and is used to protect a player from the impact of a missed pitch.
  • Catchers - Baseball's Best

  • Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez - Rodriguez is one of baseball's best defensive catchers, who's great at both blocking the plate and throwing out base stealers. The 12-time all-star has won 10 Gold Gloves for being the league's best fielding catcher and is also one of baseball's best hitting catchers.
  • Joe Mauer - Mauer is just 23 years old but is already on the road to becoming the best catcher in the game. The Minnesota Twin has a great arm, makes very few errors and is one of the league's best hitters.
  • Jason Varitek - The catcher for the Red Sox is good with the bat and is solid at both calling pitches and throwing out runners. Varitek is also very durable and stands up well to the rigors of catching fastballs and homeplate collisions.
  • Brian Schneider - Washington's man behind the plate is a terror for base runners. Schneider is great at shutting down a team's running game and is among the league's leaders in throwing out basestealers.
  • Catchers - Fun Facts

  • Mike Piazza of the San Diego Padres is the only catcher in baseball history to hit over 400 career homeruns.
  • The first mask to protect catchers from being hit by balls and bats was invented in 1877 by Fred Thayer of Harvard's baseball team. Masks weren't used in major league baseball until the 1880s.
  • Catchers are never left-handed. As most hitters are right-handed and stand on the left side of the plate, a catcher who throws left-handed would have difficulty throwing back to the pitcher or throwing out basestealers.
  • Related Stories:

  • Baseball's Top Relief Pitchers
  • The Art of Basestealing
  • Quiz! Test Your Baseball Brains.
  • More Baseball Stories
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