Infielder

An infielder is a baseball player stationed at one of four defensive "infield" positions on the baseball field.

Standard arrangement of positions

In a game of baseball, two teams of nine players take turns playing offensive and defensive roles. Although there are many rules to baseball, in general the team playing offense tries to score runs by batting balls into the field that enable runners to make a complete circuit of the four bases. The team playing in the field tries to prevent runs by catching the ball before it hits the ground, by tagging runners with the ball while they are not touching a base, or by throwing the ball to first base before the batter who hit the ball can run from home plate to first base.

There are nine defensive positions on a baseball field. The part of the baseball field closest to the batter (shown in the diagram as light brown) is known as the "infield" (as opposed to the "outfield", the part of the field furthest from the batter, shown in the diagram as green.)

Positions

The infield is composed of four positions: first base (1B), second base (2B), third base (3B) and shortstop (SS). Generally, the first three have responsibility for plays at their respective bases, although the shortstop often shares responsibility for second base with the second baseman. Each position requires a different set of skills. A player who lacks the offensive or defensive skills needed to be a member of the starting lineup, but who has the various skills needed to play two or more infield positions competently and therefore can be called upon to come off the bench and fill a variety of defensive roles is called a utility infielder.

Roles

Middle infielders

The second baseman tries to field balls hit between first and second base. The shortstop does the same between second and third base. Once fielded, the balls must be thrown to the first baseman before the batter can reach first base. This requires speed to get to hit balls before they pass beyond reach, dexterity to successfully field the balls, and agility to field the balls in a position that will allow a strong throw to first base. Second basemen and shortstops—known as the middle infielders—also share responsibility for tagging runners who are attempting to steal second base. Because a shortstop has a longer throw to make to first base, he must reach the ball faster and throw harder than the second baseman. For this reason, the shortstop must have the best fielding skills of any infielder. Because of the spectrum of skills required by a middle infielder, emphasis is usually put on defensive skills rather than offensive ability—good defensive skills and a mediocre bat are often considered more important than a good bat and poor defensive skills.

Corner infielders

The third baseman primarily fields balls hit and bunted down the third base line, but can also attempt to reach balls hit between second and third base. Although the third baseman does not need to cover as great a range as the shortstop or second baseman, the position requires greater anticipation and quicker reflexes, since the third baseman may be standing only 90 feet from the batter and sometimes much less; thus, he has much less time to react to hit balls than the shortstop or second baseman. The third baseman must also have a very strong arm, since the throw from his position to first base is the longest on the infield.

The first baseman is largely responsible for keeping one foot on first base while catching throws from the other three infielders before the batter can reach first base. These throws are often hurried and thus off-target. A player who is tall and has long arms may be a good candidate for first baseman, because these attributes help him handle off-target throws. The first baseman must be able to cleanly field thrown balls that hit the ground before they reach first base, and to quickly decide to abandon first when necessary to catch an especially bad throw. Since the first baseman mostly stands close to his base, his mobility and throwing skills do not need to be high; good hitters who are slow of foot are often placed at first base. In some cases, an aging third baseman or outfielder who has lost some speed but is still a good hitter will be moved to first base to keep his bat in the line-up.

Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League

The Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League (ACBL) is a collegiate summer baseball league operating in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The league has experienced moderate success in having alumni appear in Major League Baseball. Fourteen alumni of the league were invited to spring training with Major League Baseball clubs in 2010.The ACBL is one of eleven leagues in the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball.

Bob Ferguson (infielder)

Robert Vavasour Ferguson (January 31, 1845 – May 3, 1894) was an American infielder, league official, manager and umpire in the early days of baseball, playing both before and after baseball became a professional sport. In addition to playing and managing, he served as president of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players from 1872 through 1875, the sport's first entirely professional league. His character and unquestioned honesty were highly regarded during a period in baseball history where the game's reputation was badly damaged by gamblers and rowdy behavior by players and fans. However, his bad temper and stubbornness were traits that created trouble for him at times during his career, and caused him to be disliked by many. His nickname, "Death to Flying Things", was derived from his greatness as a defensive player.

Brad Mills (manager)

James Bradley Mills (born January 19, 1957) is a former manager of the Houston Astros and a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player. He currently serves as a bench coach for the Cleveland Indians. He is the father of retired professional baseball player Beau Mills.

Chris Carter (infielder)

Vernon Christopher Carter (born December 18, 1986) is an American born professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter for the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League. He previously played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Oakland Athletics, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, and New York Yankees. In 2016, while playing for the Brewers, Carter led the National League in home runs, along with Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, with 41.

Dave Anderson (infielder)

David Carter Anderson (born August 1, 1960) is an American former professional baseball shortstop/third baseman, who played Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1983–89, 1992) and San Francisco Giants (1990–91).

Dave Campbell (infielder)

David Wilson "Dave" Campbell (born January 14, 1942) is a former American baseball player and sportscaster. His nickname is "Soup", a reference to the brand name Campbell's Soup.

Dave Stapleton (infielder)

Not to be confused with Dave Stapleton (pitcher).David Leslie Stapleton (born January 16, 1954) is a former Major League Baseball player who played for the Boston Red Sox from 1980 to 1986. Stapleton attended University of South Alabama.

Fifth infielder

A fifth infielder is the rare instance in baseball when a team may elect to bring in an outfielder to play the infield. This is usually done when the game is tied in the bottom of the ninth or an extra inning, the home team has a runner at 3rd base with fewer than two outs. Normally with a runner on 3rd with less than two outs, a manager will usually have the infield playing in, as to cut down a runner trying to score. Bringing the infield in is a typical strategy used late in games, when a potential tying, go-ahead, winning or crucial insurance run is at 3rd base with less than two outs. In cases like this, if a ball is hit right to an infielder, the infielder usually has a chance to throw out the runner trying to score. However, any ground ball not hit at an infielder will usually have a good chance to score the runner, plus the batter reaching base safely, versus if the infield plays back. When the infield plays back, it does make it more likely for the run to score, but the infielders are more likely to get the batter out via a ground out.

However, in an instance where if the runner at 3rd base scoring ends the game immediately, a team may elect to have a fifth infielder, as to decrease the chances of a groundball getting through. The drawback is that it decreases the chance of an outfielder getting to a potential fly ball that may result in a play at the plate, however, any fair fly ball hit deep enough is good enough to end the game.

For scorekeeping purposes, whatever position a player is listed as in the box score is the number they get assigned. For example, if a left fielder moves in to play the third base position, and a ball is hit to him, and he throws to the catcher to get the out, the play is recorded as 7–2.

Frisco RoughRiders

The Frisco RoughRiders (often shortened to 'Riders) are a Minor League Baseball team of the Texas League and the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. They are located in Frisco, Texas, and are named for the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment during the Spanish–American War, headed by future American President Theodore Roosevelt, nicknamed "The Rough Riders" by the American press. They play their home games at Dr Pepper Ballpark which opened in 2003 and seats 10,316 people.In 2016, Forbes listed the RoughRiders as the tenth-most valuable Minor League Baseball team with a value of $37 million.

Infield fly rule

The infield fly rule is a rule of baseball that treats certain fly balls as though caught, before the ball is caught, even if the infielder fails to catch it or drops it on purpose. The umpire's declaration of an infield fly means that the batter is out (and all force plays are removed) regardless of whether the ball is caught. The rule exists solely to prevent the defense from executing a double play or triple play by deliberately failing to catch a ball that an infielder could catch with ordinary effort.

Jack Phillips (first baseman)

Jack Dorn Phillips (September 6, 1921 – August 30, 2009) was an American professional baseball player whose career extended from 1943 to 1959. In the Major Leagues, he was a backup first baseman who played for three different teams between the 1947 and 1957 seasons. Listed at 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall and 193 pounds (88 kg), Phillips batted and threw right-handed, and was nicknamed "Stretch" for his flexibility when covering first base.

José Ramírez (infielder)

José Enrique Ramírez (born September 17, 1992) is a Dominican professional baseball third baseman for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB). He signed with Indians as an amateur free agent on November 26, 2009, and made his MLB debut on September 1, 2013. A right-handed thrower and switch hitter, Ramírez stands 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) and weighs 175 pounds (79 kg).

Ramírez was selected for both the MLB All-Star Game and Silver Slugger Award for the first time in 2017. He became the 19th player in history to hit at least 56 doubles in one season, while leading the major leagues in 2017. Ramírez is under contract with the Indians until 2021.

List of second-generation Major League Baseball players

The following is a list of father-and-son combinations who have played or managed in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Nobuhiro Takashiro

Nobuhiro Takashiro (高代 延博, Takashiro Nobuhiro, born May 27, 1954 in Shimoichi, Nara, Japan) is a former Nippon Professional Baseball infielder.

Pat Kelly (infielder)

Patrick Franklin Kelly (born October 14, 1967) is a former Major League Baseball infielder who played in the major leagues for nine seasons, seven of them with the New York Yankees.

Steve Smith (infielder)

Steven John Smith (born July 21, 1952) is an American baseball coach. Smith was formerly the third-base coach for the Cleveland Indians. He has also held the same position with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Cincinnati Reds. He has also been a minor-league manager in the San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, and Milwaukee Brewers organizations.

Tom Daly (infielder)

Thomas Peter Daly (February 7, 1866 – October 29, 1938) was a catcher and second baseman who played in the Major Leagues from 1887 to 1903. He played for the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds.

His brother, Joe Daly, also played professional baseball.

Utility infielder

A utility infielder (UI) is a baseball player, usually one who does not have a regular starting role on the team and who is capable of playing more than one of the four defensive infield positions: second base, third base, shortstop, and less typically first base. Utility infielders are generally considered excellent defensive players who do not hit well enough to remain in the starting lineup, but can fill in at multiple defensive positions to give the various starters a rest, or replace a starter late in a game to provide improved defense when the team is winning.

Examples of current utility infielders include Jed Lowrie, Brock Holt, Ben Zobrist, and Marwin González.

Álex González (shortstop, born 1977)

Alexander "Álex" Luis González (born February 15, 1977) is a former professional baseball shortstop. González played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Florida Marlins (1998–2005), Boston Red Sox (2006, 2009), Cincinnati Reds (2007–2009), Toronto Blue Jays (2010), Atlanta Braves (2010–2011), Milwaukee Brewers (2012–2013) and Detroit Tigers (2014). He was given the nickname "Sea-bass" while playing in Florida. He bats and throws right-handed.

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