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There are 9 fielding positions in baseball. Each position has an associated number (from 1 to 9) which is used to score putouts. For example:

  • If the third baseman fields a ball and throws it to first, it is recorded as a 5-3 out.
  • A double play where the second baseman fields, throws to the shortstop at second base, who throws to the first baseman is recorded as a 4-6-3 double play.

The fielding positions in baseball are the basis for the famous comedy routine Who's On First?, created by the team of Abbott and Costello.

Roles of fielders[]

  • P: Pitcher (Position "number" 1). While the primary role of a pitcher is to pitch the ball, he must also be able to field his position. This consists of fielding ground balls and bunts up the middle of the diamond, and covering any base if necessary. Good throwing speed is helpful, but not as important as accuracy, the spot in which you throw the ball. The pitcher must also be ready to catch the ball when it comes into the infield to stop the play.
  • C: Catcher (2). Wears protective equipment: mask, special helmet, shin guards, chest protector. Uses special glove designed as a padded target. He must catch, or at least block, all the pitches to prevent baserunners from advancing, in addition to preventing stolen bases with a strong throwing arm. He must also catch pop-ups into the foul territory behind the baseline, and tag out runners who are attempting to score, while blocking their access to home plate. A catcher must hustle to all balls that get past him, and be ready to jumps up and get any slow rollers or bunts in front of home plate and throw to any base quickly.
  • 1B: First Base (3). The first baseman's job, in addition to fielding balls hit in his direction, is primarily to catch throws from the other infielders (2B, 3B and SS) in order to retire the batter and prevent him from getting on base. When a runner is on first base, the first baseman should stand in his regular position, but in front of the runner, so as to not block his base path.
  • 2B: Second Base (4). The second baseman has the important defensive role to field ground balls hit toward him and, if necessary, start a double play. When the ball is hit to the shortstop, the second baseman will help "turn" a double play by stepping on second base, fielding the throw from SS, and throwing to first base, to retire both the batter, and the runner on first. The second baseman should also back-up ground balls to the first baseman, and cover first in the event that a slow roller pulls the first baseman away from first base to make the play. Also, he must backup the shortstop on throws from the catcher on a steal. If a ball is hit into the outfield on the shortstop side of second base, he must cover second base. If the ball is hit on the second baseman side of second base, he must go out for the "relay" throw from the outfielder.
  • 3B: Third Base (5). Third base is known as "The Hot Corner", since most right-handed hitters will tend to hit the ball hard in this direction. The third baseman must be able to field ground balls and throw strongly to any base, as well as cover fly balls in fair and foul territory.
  • SS: Shortstop (6). Shortstops, like the second baseman, must field ground balls and start or turn double plays. In addition, they need a stronger arm as the throw to first base is farther from the shortstop side. The shortstop will cover throws from the catcher to second base when a runner is stealing. Also, when a ball is hit into the outfield on the shortstop side of second base, he is to go out for the "relay" throw from the outfielder. If the ball is hit to the second baseman side of second base, he then must cover second base.
  • LF: Left Field (7), CF: Center Field (8), RF: Right Field (9). The role of the outfielders is to chase down and catch any ball hit into the outfield and, if necessary, make a rapid and accurate return throw, either to a base or to the "cut-off man", an infielder who has moved into a position specifically to make a relay throw. Outfielders should be fast, quick to the ball, and make good and quick throws into the infield.

Other team personnel[]

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