In baseball statistics, fielding percentage, also known as fielding average, is a measure that reflects the percentage of times a defensive player properly handles a batted or thrown ball. It is calculated by the sum of putouts and assists, divided by the number of total chances (putouts + assists + errors).
While a high fielding percentage is regarded as a sign of defensive skill, it is also possible for a player of lesser defensive skill to have a high fielding percentage, as it does not reflect or take into account a player's defensive range; a player who cannot get to a ball surrenders a hit instead of having an opportunity to make an out or an error. Conversely, a highly skilled fielder might have a comparatively low fielding percentage by virtue of reaching, and potentially missing, a greater number of balls.
In order to qualify for the league lead in fielding percentage, an infielder or outfielder must appear at the specific position in at least two-thirds of his team's games (games in the outfield are not separated by position). A catcher must appear in at least half his team's games. A pitcher must pitch at least one inning for each of his team's scheduled games (however, a pitcher with fewer innings may qualify if they have more total chances and a higher average). In order to qualify for major league career records for fielding average, a player must appear in 1,000 games at the position; pitchers must have at least 1,500 innings.
The MLB record for team fielding percentage is currently held by the 2013 Baltimore Orioles, with a .99104 fielding percentage.
But there's a lot more to defense, obviously, than just not making errors. You have to get to the ball to not make an error in the first place.
Amos Aaron Strunk (January 22, 1889 – July 22, 1979) was a center fielder who played in Major League Baseball from 1908 through 1924. A member of four World Series champion teams, Strunk batted and threw left-handed. He was born in Philadelphia.
A dependable and speedy player, both on the basepaths and in the field, Strunk was scouted and signed by Philadelphia Athletics' manager Connie Mack, who did not hesitate to call him "the most underrated outfielder in baseball".
Strunk reached the majors in 1908 with the Athletics, spending nine years with them before moving to the Boston Red Sox (1918–19), and played again for Philadelphia (1919–20) and in parts of four seasons with the Chicago White Sox (1920–23). Then, he returned with the Athletics in 1924, his last major league season. Five times he led American League outfielders in fielding percentage, and played in five World Series with the Athletics (1910–11, 1913–14) and Red Sox (1918).
In a 17-season career, Strunk was a .284 hitter (1418-for-4999) with 15 home runs and 529 RBI in 1512 games played, including 696 runs, 213 doubles, 96 triples and 185 stolen bases. His career fielding percentage at all three outfield positions and first base was .980.
Following his baseball career, Strunk spent fifty years in the insurance business. He died in Llanerch, Pennsylvania, at the age of 90.
He was the last surviving member of the 1910, 1911 and 1913 World Champion Philadelphia Athletics.Brad Ausmus
Bradley David Ausmus (; born April 14, 1969) is an American baseball former catcher and current manager for the Los Angeles Angels of Major League Baseball (MLB). In his 18-year MLB playing career, Ausmus played for the San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers. He was also the manager of the Tigers and of the Israel national baseball team.
A 1987 draft pick of the New York Yankees, he chose to alternate between attending Dartmouth College and playing minor league baseball. He then had an 18-year major league playing career with the San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers. During his playing days he was an All Star in 1999, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner (2001, '02, and '06), and won the 2007 Darryl Kile Award "for integrity and courage".A five-time league-leader at catcher in fielding percentage, he also led the league twice each in range factor and in percentage caught stealing, and once each in putouts and assists.He finished his playing career in 2010 ranked third in major league history with 12,839 putouts as a catcher (trailing only Iván Rodríguez and Jason Kendall), seventh in games caught with 1,938, and 10th in both range factor/game (7.12) and fielding percentage (.994). He also ranked first all-time among all Jewish major leaguers in career games played (1,971), fifth in hits (1,579), and eighth in runs batted in (607; directly behind Mike Lieberthal). He was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He worked in the Padres' front office as a special assistant from 2010 to 2013. In November 2013, Ausmus became the 38th manager in the history of the Detroit Tigers, succeeding Jim Leyland, a position that he held for four years. In October 2018, he was named the 17th manager in the history of the Los Angeles Angels.Buzzy Wares
Clyde Ellsworth "Buzzy" Wares (March 23, 1886 – May 26, 1964) was an American Major League Baseball shortstop during the second decade of the 20th century and a longtime coach in the Majors. Born in Newberg Township, Michigan, Wares attended Kalamazoo College. He stood 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) (178 cm), weighed 160 pounds (72.6 kg), and threw and batted right-handed.
Wares played only one month and one full season of Major League ball. He came to the St. Louis Browns of the American League late in the 1913 campaign, and stayed through 1914. He appeared in 90 games, and batted .220 in 250 at bats, with 55 hits, no home runs and 24 runs batted in. His manager, however, was Branch Rickey, and when Rickey was the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League, he hired Wares as a coach in 1930. Wares would remain on the Redbirds' staff through 1952, a string of 23 consecutive seasons, during which time St. Louis won seven NL pennants and five World Series. Wares worked under eight different Cardinal managers in that span.
During his minor league playing career (1905–20), Wares twice led his league in fielding percentage, although he did commit a league-leading 107 errors in 224 games played for Oakland of the Pacific Coast League in 1910. That season, however, Wares led the PCL with 790 assists, and had 1,287 total chances, for a fielding percentage of .917.
Buzzy Wares died at age 78 in South Bend, Indiana.Dan Wilson (baseball)
Daniel Allen Wilson (born March 25, 1969), is an American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds and the Seattle Mariners, primarily as a catcher. He is regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in major-league history, setting an American League record for catchers with a .995 career fielding percentage.Defensive Runs Saved
Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) is a baseball statistic that measures the number of runs a player saved or cost his team on defense relative to an average player. Any positive number is above average, and the best fielders typically fall into a range of 15–20 for a season. The statistic was developed by Baseball Info Solutions and the data used in calculating it first became available in 2003.As of the end of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, the record for most Defensive Runs Saved in a single season was held by center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who saved 42 runs in 2015. Matt Kemp set the record for fewest Defensive Runs Saved in a season when he cost the Los Angeles Dodgers 33 runs as a center fielder in 2010. Third baseman Adrián Beltré has the most Defensive Runs Saved in a career with 212. Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has the distinction of being the worst fielder ever measured by DRS; he accumulated -152 Defensive Runs Saved between 2003 and the end of his career.Fielding percentage is the statistic that has traditionally been used to measure defensive ability, but it fails to account of a fielder's range. Fielders with ample range on defense are able to make plays that most players would not have the chance to make. Defensive Runs Saved was created to take into account range when measuring a player's defensive ability. The table below shows a comparison between the top 10 shortstops in terms of fielding percentage and the top 10 shortstops in terms of defensive runs saved from 2002 to 2017. The table shows that only three players appear on both lists, exemplifying that there is a difference in what the two statistics measure.To calculate Defensive Runs Saved, for each ball hit, points are either added or subtracted to the fielder's rating depending on whether or not they make the play. For example, if a ball hit to the center fielder is expected to be caught 30 percent of the time, and it is caught, the fielder gains 0.7 points. If the center fielder does not catch the ball, he loses 0.3 points.Del Crandall
Delmar Wesley Crandall (born March 5, 1930 in Ontario, California) is an American former professional baseball player and manager. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball and played most of his career with the Boston & Milwaukee Braves. Considered one of the National League's top catchers during the 1950s and early 1960s, he led the league in assists a record-tying six times, in fielding percentage four times and in putouts three times.Harry Felix
Harry Felix (1870–1961) was a right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball during the 1901 and 1902 seasons. Felix made his debut for the New York Giants on October 5, 1901, pitching two innings at the end of a game against the Brooklyn Superbas. The following season, he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies, starting on Opening Day and compiling a record of 1–3 in nine games, allowing 28 earned runs in 45 innings pitched. Felix also played in seven games at third base for the Phillies, compiling a batting average of .135 and a fielding percentage of .774 over his 16 games played. Felix played his last game on July 24, 1902 and died on October 17, 1961 in Miami, Florida.Jack Glasscock
John Wesley "Jack" Glasscock (July 22, 1857 – February 24, 1947) was an American shortstop in Major League Baseball who played for several teams from 1879 to 1895 and was the top player at his position in the 1880s during the sport's bare-handed era. He led the National League in fielding percentage seven times and in assists six times, with both marks remaining league records until Ozzie Smith surpassed them in the 1980s; he also led the NL in double plays four times and in putouts twice. He won the 1890 batting title with a .336 average for the New York Giants and led the league in hits twice; in his final season he became the sixth major league player to make 2,000 hits. He was the first player to appear in over 600 games as a shortstop, and ended his career with major league records for games (1,628), putouts (2,821), assists (5,630), total chances (9,283), double plays (620) and fielding percentage (.910) at the position. When he retired he ranked fifth in major league history in games (1,736) and at bats (7,030), seventh in total bases (2,630) and eighth in doubles (313).Joe Nuxhall
Joseph Henry Nuxhall (; July 30, 1928 – November 15, 2007) was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, primarily for the Cincinnati Reds. Immediately after retiring as a player, he became a radio broadcaster for the Reds from 1967 through 2004, and continued part-time up until his death in 2007. Nuxhall held the team's record for career games pitched (484) from 1965 to 1975, and still holds the team mark for left-handers.
In addition to his 40 years of broadcasting Reds games, Nuxhall is most remembered for having been the youngest player ever to appear in a major league game, pitching 2⁄3 of an inning for the Reds on June 10, 1944 at the age of 15 years, 316 days. Called upon for that one game due to player shortages during World War II, Nuxhall eventually found his way back to the Reds in 1952, and the National League All-Star team in 1955 and 1956. Long known as "The Ol' Left-hander", he compiled a career earned run average of 3.90 and a record of 135–117 during his 16-season career, with all but five of his victories being earned with the Reds. Nuxhall died in 2007 after a long battle with cancer.Ken Reitz
Kenneth John Reitz (born June 24, 1951) is a former third baseman in Major League Baseball. A right-handed hitter, Reitz played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1972–75, 1977–80), San Francisco Giants (1976), Chicago Cubs (1981) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1982). Ken Reitz retired with the highest all-time career fielding percentage for National League third basemen at .970 which still appears to be a record after leading the National League in fielding percentage a record 6 times.He was nicknamed "Zamboni" for his skill at scooping up ground balls on the artificial turf of Busch Memorial Stadium. Selected in the 31st round in 1969 as the 730th player, Reitz, in his rookie season of 1973, replaced Joe Torre as the Cardinals' starting third baseman. In both 1973 and 1974, he led all National League third basemen in fielding percentage. In 1975 he won a Gold Glove Award at the position, breaking Doug Rader's streak of five consecutive Gold Gloves. It would be the last Gold Glove by a National League third baseman prior to Mike Schmidt's nine-year run of the Award. In 1977 he set a National League record by committing only nine errors; he bettered that record by committing only eight in 1980. In this latter year, he also made his only All-Star appearance, where he started at third base in place of an injured Schmidt.
Reitz holds the record for most career plate appearances (5079) among non-catchers who finished their careers with fewer walks than times he grounded into a double play.In his career, Reitz batted .260 with 68 home runs and 548 RBIs in 1344 games played. But in 1980, Reitz started the season batting over .400 until cooling off in the middle of May, finishing the season at .270. After batting .235 during his rookie season he finished below .250 only once over the next seven seasons. In each of his first five full seasons he increased his RBI production: 42 in 1973, 54 in 1974, 63 in 1975, 66 in 1976 (his only season with his hometown Giants) and 79 in 1977. Reitz established a career-high in home runs in 1977 with 17—the same number he had hit in his previous three seasons total.Reitz has a place in baseball history for one of the longest Major League games ever played. On September 11, 1974, against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, with the Cardinals trailing 3-1 with two out in the ninth and pinch runner Larry Herndon on base, he hit a home run off starter Jerry Koosman to send the game into extra innings. The score remained tied 3-3 until Bake McBride scored the winning run from first base on two Met errors in the top of the 25th inning.Lonny Frey
Linus Reinhard Frey (August 23, 1910 – September 13, 2009) was an American infielder in Major League Baseball who played from 1933 through 1948 for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1933–1936), Chicago Cubs (1937, 1947), Cincinnati Reds (1938–1943, 1946), New York Yankees (1947–1948), and New York Giants (1948). He was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, and was listed as 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and 160 pounds (73 kg).
Frey began his career as a switch hitter and continued to bat from both sides of the plate until the end of 1938. Starting in 1939, he batted exclusively from the left side of the plate. He started at shortstop with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1933 and switched to second base after leading the National League in errors in 1935 (44) and 1936 (51). Traded to the Chicago Cubs before the 1936 season he developed as a competent second baseman.
Frey enjoyed his best years with the Cincinnati Reds, helping them to reach two consecutive World Series in 1939 and 1940, after hitting .291 with 11 home runs and 95 runs (1939) and leading the National League with 22 stolen bases (1940) while scoring 102 runs. Five days before the 1940 World Series against Detroit, Frey injured his foot when he dropped the iron lid of the dugout water cooler on it. Eddie Joost replaced him at second base for the series.
A three-time All-Star (1939, 1941, 1943) Frey also led the NL second basemen twice each in fielding percentage and double plays (1940 and 1943). After missing two full seasons while serving in World War II, his career faded. In 1947 he divided his playing time between the Cubs and the New York Yankees, and he was a member of the Yankees team that won the 1947 World Series. He played his final game with the New York Giants in 1948.
In a 14-season career, Frey was a .269 hitter with 61 home runs, 549 RBI, 848 runs, 105 stolen bases, and a .359 on-base percentage in 1,535 games played. He recorded a .960 fielding percentage.
In 1961 Frey was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, and in 1969, as part of the franchise's 100th anniversary, was selected the Reds all-time second baseman.
Frey died in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, at the age of 99. At the time of his death, he was recognized as the second-oldest living major league ballplayer, the oldest living All-Star, and the last living player to play for all three New York baseball teams in the 1930s and 1940s.Mike Matheny
Michael Scott Matheny (born September 22, 1970) is an American former professional baseball player and manager. He is currently a special adviser for player development for the Kansas City Royals. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for 13 seasons as a catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants. Matheny later spent seven seasons as the manager of the Cardinals. One of the most accomplished defensive players of his era, he won four Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. As manager, Matheny's teams won one National League (NL) pennant and three NL Central division titles. He bats and throws right-handed, stands 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall, and weighs 205 pounds (93 kg).
From Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Matheny was selected by the Brewers in the eighth round of the 1991 MLB draft from the University of Michigan (UM). He made his MLB debut as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers on April 7, 1994. Matheny established major league records among catchers for consecutive games played without committing an error (252), and consecutive chances fielded without an error (1,565). He is one of three catchers in major league history with an errorless season of at least 100 games, and in 2005, set a Giants single-season team record for catcher's fielding percentage at .999. Matheny has made two World Series appearances—both with the Cardinals—one as a player (2004), and one as a manager (2013). He retired from playing in 2006 due to persisting symptoms of concussion, and has since become an advocate for its prevention and for improved catcher safety.
After his playing career, Matheny coached Little League Baseball. The Cardinals hired him to manage after the 2011 season although he had no professional coaching or managerial experience. In 2012, the Cardinals were wild card winners, and from 2013–15, claimed three consecutive NL Central titles, including winning a career-best 100 games for Matheny in 2015. He became the first manager in MLB history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons, and the fifth to a League Championship Series appearance in each of his first three. In 2018, he became the fourth Cardinals manager to manage the club in 1,000 games.Ned Williamson
Edward Nagle "Ned" Williamson (October 24, 1857 – March 3, 1894) was a professional baseball infielder in Major League Baseball. He played for three teams: the Indianapolis Blues of the National League (NL) for one season, the Chicago White Stockings (NL) for 11 seasons, and the Chicago Pirates of the Players' League for one season.
From 1883 and 1887, Williamson held the single-season record for both doubles and home runs. Although his record for doubles was surpassed in 1887, he held the home run record until 1919, when it was topped by Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox. Statistically, he was one of the best fielders of his era. During the first eight years of his career, he led the league at his position in both fielding percentage and double plays five times, and he also led his position in assists six times. Later, when he moved to shortstop, he again led the league in both assists and double plays.
His career was shortened by a knee injury that he suffered in Paris during a world-tour organized by Albert Spalding. After he left organized baseball, his health declined rapidly. He contracted tuberculosis and ultimately died at the age of 36 of dropsy.Norm Siebern
Norman Leroy "Norm" Siebern (July 26, 1933 – October 30, 2015) was a Major League Baseball player for the New York Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, San Francisco Giants, and Boston Red Sox from 1956 to 1968. His best season came in 1962 with the A's, when he hit 25 home runs, had 117 runs batted in and a .308 batting average. He might be most remembered however, as being one of the players the Yankees traded for Roger Maris. He was signed by Yankees scout Lou Maguolo.Siebern played for the 1956 and 1958 World Series champion Yankees, and nine years later returned to the '67 Series with the Red Sox.
On December 11, 1959, he was part of a seven-player trade that sent him along with World Series heroes Don Larsen and Hank Bauer to the Kansas City A's in exchange for outfielder Roger Maris and two other players. Maris ended up breaking Babe Ruth's single-season home run record in 1961.
The Orioles acquired Siebern on November 27, 1963 in an exchange of starting first basemen, sending Jim Gentile and $25,000 to the Athletics. He spent two seasons in Baltimore, losing his starting spot in the middle of 1965 to Boog Powell, who successfully made the transition from the outfield. Siebern was traded to the Angels on December 2, 1965 for outfielder Dick Simpson. Seven days later, Simpson would be one of three players sent to the Cincinnati Reds for Frank Robinson.Siebern made the American League All-Star teams in 1962, 1963 and 1964.
He had 1,217 hits for his career, with 132 home runs and a lifetime batting average of .272. Defensively, his career fielding percentage was .991. At first base his fielding percentage was .992 and as an outfielder was .984.
Siebern attended Southwest Missouri State, where he played basketball with future New York baseball teammate Jerry Lumpe on a team that won two NAIA Championships in 1952 and 1953. Both players had to miss some tournament games to report to baseball spring training camp with the Yankees.Plácido Polanco
Plácido Enrique Polanco (; born October 10, 1975) is a Dominican-American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers and Miami Marlins. He was a second baseman, third baseman and shortstop. He was twice voted to start in Major League Baseball All-Star Games: in 2007, and again in 2011. Plácido Polanco retired with the highest all-time career fielding percentage for second basemen at 99.27% and the highest all-time career fielding percentage for third basemen at 98.34% which still appear to be records.In a July 9, 2008, ceremony at Comerica Park prior to the Tigers–Indians game, Polanco received his U.S. citizenship, along with 99 other people. He wore his Tigers uniform for the ceremony.Range factor
Range Factor (commonly abbreviated RF) is a baseball statistic developed by Bill James. It is calculated by dividing putouts and assists by the number of innings or games played at a given defense position. The statistic is premised on the notion that the total number of outs in which a player participates is more relevant in evaluating that player's defensive play than the percentage of cleanly handled chances as calculated by the conventional statistic fielding percentage.
However, some positions (especially first baseman) may have substantially more putouts because of a superior infield around them that commits fewer errors and turns many double plays, allowing them to receive credit for more putouts. Also, catchers who have a lot of strikeout pitchers on their team will have a high range factor, because the catcher gets the putout on a strikeout if the batter does not reach base.Shortstop
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.
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.Tony Fernández
Octavio Antonio Fernández Castro (born June 30, 1962), better known as Tony Fernández, is a former Dominican Major League Baseball player most noted for his defensive skills, setting a nine-year record for shortstops with a .992 fielding percentage in 1989, and a still active single-season fielding percentage record for third basemen with .991 in 1994.Wally Moon
Wallace Wade Moon (April 3, 1930 – February 9, 2018) was an American professional baseball outfielder in Major League Baseball. Moon played his 12-year career in the major leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals (1954–58) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1959–65). He batted left-handed and threw right-handed.
Moon was the 1954 National League Rookie of the Year. He was an All-Star for two seasons and a Gold Glove winner one season. Moon batted .295 or more for seven seasons. He led the National League in triples in 1959 and in fielding percentage as a left fielder in 1960 and 1961.
Moon was a 3-time World Series champion with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959, 1963, and 1965.