Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Catcher is a position played in baseball. The catcher crouches behind home plate and receives the ball from the pitcher. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the catcher is assigned the number 2.
Catching is arguably the most difficult and important task in baseball. Positioned behind home plate, the catcher can see the whole field, and therefore is in the best position to direct and lead the other players in a play. The catcher typically calls the pitches by means of hand signals, and therefore requires awareness of both the pitcher's mechanics and strengths and the batter's weaknesses. In addition, because the catcher's job is to catch pitches which often come in at speeds exceeding 90 miles per hour, the catcher wears protective equipment including a mask, chest protector, knee pads, and extra-thick glove (see photo). Despite this, catchers routinely suffer the worst physical abuse in baseball, constantly getting bruised and battered both by pitches and by runners sliding into home plate. Because of this, catchers have a reputation as being slow baserunners; even if they have speed at the beginning of their careers, the eventual toll taken on their knees by catching slows them down. Catchers also have a long history of knee ailments, stemming from the awkward crouched position they take when receiving pitches.
Some famous catchers include: