Pickoff

In baseball, a pickoff is an act by a pitcher, throwing a live ball to a fielder so that the fielder can tag out a baserunner who is either leading off or about to begin stealing the next base.

A pickoff attempt occurs when this throw is made in an attempt to make such an out or, more commonly, to "keep the runner close" by making it clear that the pitcher is aware and concerned with the runner's actions. A catcher may also attempt to throw runners out who likewise "stray too far" from their bases after a pitch; this can also be called a pickoff attempt. A runner who is picked off is said to have been caught napping, especially if he made no attempt to return to his base.

A pickoff move is the motion the pitcher goes through in making this attempt; some pitchers have better pickoff moves than others. Pitchers in professional baseball use the pickoff move often, perhaps several times per game or even per inning if speedy baserunners reach base. Pitchers with more confidence in their ability to eliminate batters directly via strikeouts or flyouts use fewer pickoff attempts. In lower-skilled amateur games, the pickoff move is less common due to the potential for an error if the pitcher throws wild or the fielder fails to make the catch. In youth leagues that don't allow leading off, such as Little League and Cal Ripken League, the need for a pickoff move is eliminated.

20170718 Dodgers-WhiteSox Clayton Kershaw pickoff throw
Clayton Kershaw making a pickoff throw to first base for the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers.
Baseball pick-off attempt
Pickoff attempt on runner (in red) at first base

Technique

Pickoff UArk
Arkansas's Mark Bolsinger prepares to throw to first base to try to pick off Florida's Avery Barnes in 2009.

A pitcher uses many tactics to attempt to disguise whether he is going to begin a pitch or a pickoff attempt. However, some deceptive actions are illegal and may be called a balk.

When there is a baserunner, the pitcher will pitch from the stretch, one of the pitching positions. For this example we will say the runner is on first base. From the set position a right-handed pitcher can still see the baserunner out of the corner of his eye. A Left-handed pitcher has a clear view of the baserunner because of the way they stand on the pitcher's mound. If it is a right-handed pitcher there is only one main method of this pickoff move. This involves a quick shuffle of the pitcher's feet to turn towards first base and throw the ball to the first baseman. The first baseman will then attempt to tag out the runner. The left-handed pitcher, due to their natural stance and the way they are facing, has multiple moves. The two main methods are called the "snap throw" and "spin move". The snap throw is when the pitcher quickly lifts his back foot behind the pitching rubber and slings the ball to the first baseman. A snap throw can also refer to the catcher throwing the ball to the base following a pitch. The spin move is when the pitcher lifts his leg like he is going to pitch the ball but then rotates his body toward first and throws the ball. The pitcher will try to vary this move by doing this move while looking at the runner or at the batter, which can be deceiving to the baserunner. A former pickoff move in Major League Baseball used mostly by right-handed pitchers was called "third to first" and could only be done if there were baserunners on first and third. It was performed by the pitcher faking a pickoff at third, then stopping, spinning and throwing the ball to first base instead. This move was used to try to get the base-runner or the batter to disclose what action they were going to perform on the pitch. Former Kansas City Royals right-hander, Steve Busby, is credited for popularizing the "third to first" move, and Jeff Nelson was also known for using it. After the 2012 season, Major League Baseball instituted a rule change defining this move as a balk.[1]

Purpose

José Altuve picked off at Angel Stadium May 2017
Houston Astros player José Altuve is tagged out on a pickoff play at first base during a 2017 game

There are a few reasons to use this tactic:

  • To tag out the base-runner. Sometimes the runner will run on the first move of the pitcher. If the pitcher successfully throws the ball to the base before the base-runner is able to return to it, then the defense will be able to tag out the runner.
  • To prevent a stolen base. If a fast base-runner is leading off the base by a large margin, the pitcher will throw over to the base a few times to try to get the base runner to shorten his lead, thus deterring him from stealing. After enough throws the runner will often either shorten his lead or tire from diving back, preventing him from stealing a base.
    • The runner will often take a few steps off the base in order to have a head start toward the next base. The runner will generally not go too far away from the base so if the pitcher does throw, he can return safely. But the pitcher will hope to catch the runner off-guard.
  • To extract information from the offense. For example, if the defense suspects a bunting situation, the pitcher may throw over to first in hopes that the batter will square around to bunt on the pitcher's first move, revealing his intention.
  • To buy time for a relief pitcher to be prepared to come into the game. This is seen quite often in the major leagues, as the pitcher in the game picks multiple times in a row in an effort to waste time so that his replacement can warm up adequately.

Holding baserunners

Along with having a good, quick pickoff move, a number of other techniques can be used to help cut down on base-runners getting good jumps at stealing bases. First off, changing look patterns keeps the runner off balance and keeps him from timing out the pitcher and guessing when he can take off. An experienced pitcher learns how to mix up his looks and never allow himself to get into a predictable pattern. The most common occurrence of a pitcher falling into a pattern occurs with a runner on second base. It is very easy for a pitcher to repeatedly look just once at the runner and then start the pitching motion as the head turns to pick up home plate again. This makes base-runners have a very easy time at getting a good start at stealing third base. A second method to cut down on giving up stolen bases is to have a quick delivery to the plate. This can be done with a slide step quite easily, however this is not necessary. A slide step tends to make the pitcher not get as much momentum going to the plate, therefore causing the pitch to lose velocity. To counteract this, a pitcher can do a quick leg kick to get momentum going while not taking a long time. The technique to do this is to lift the leg with the knee going up in an inward motion towards the push leg. The entire pitching motion from the first movement until the ball hits the catcher's glove should take around 1.3–1.5 seconds. By keeping the time under 1.3 seconds, very few runners should be able to steal on even an average-armed catcher. The most important rule to remember while pitching with base-runners on is to stay relaxed. Being tense makes a pitcher much more prone to committing a balk.

A baserunner with a reputation for stealing bases, can also take advantage of the pitcher's desire to hold them to their base, as a means to throw off the pitcher's concentration. By taking a large lead, the runner can hope to force the pitcher to make mistakes, therefore helping the batter, by improving their chances at the plate. Prolific base stealers can accomplish this without a true intention to steal any base at all. Pitchers should be aware of this, and take care not to attempt to pick-off a runner, to the point of fatigue or losing focus on the batter.

Notable examples

On August 24, 1983, Tippy Martinez of the Baltimore Orioles picked off three consecutive Toronto Blue Jays base runners in the first half of the 10th inning.[2] The catcher for the Orioles, utility infielder Lenn Sakata, had replaced the backup catcher at the start of the inning. Sakata hadn't played as a catcher since Little League, and the Blue Jays thought it would be easy to steal off him.[3] In the bottom half of the same inning, Sakata hit a walk-off home run.[4]

Game 4 of the 2013 World Series ended with a pickoff, as Koji Uehara of the Boston Red Sox threw to first base, causing St. Louis Cardinals' runner Kolten Wong to be tagged out.[5]

Records

Pickoff records are imprecise,[6] as it is not an official MLB statistic,[7] and historical box scores typically did not distinguish between a pickoff and a caught stealing.

Baseball-Reference

Records per Baseball-Reference.com

MLB

Records per MLB.com

Note that each of the pitchers listed in this section is left-handed.

References

  1. ^ "Rule change eliminates classic fake pickoff move". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  2. ^ "Baltimore Orioles 7, Toronto Blue Jays 4". Retrosheet. August 24, 1983. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Boswell, Thomas (August 25, 1983). "In Bizarre Finish, Orioles Winners". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  4. ^ Walker, Childs (August 24, 2008). "Unforgettable win by '83 O's remembered". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  5. ^ "Boston Red Sox 4, St. Louis Cardinals 2". Retrosheet. October 27, 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  6. ^ "Explanation of our Pickoff Stats". Sports Reference. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Baseball Glossary". stats.com. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  8. ^ "Pitching Season Finder (Multiple seasons or careers, PO>=75)". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "Pitching Season Finder (Single season, PO>=15)". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  10. ^ "Pitching Game Finder (PO>=4)". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  11. ^ "Oakland Athletics 6, Toronto Blue Jays 5". Retrosheet. May 25, 1977. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  12. ^ "New York Yankees 4, Baltimore Orioles 3". Retrosheet. July 3, 1956. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Pickoff (PK)". MLB.com. Retrieved April 20, 2019.

See also

Analog computer

An analog computer or analogue computer is a type of computer that uses the continuously changeable aspects of physical phenomena such as electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved. In contrast, digital computers represent varying quantities symbolically, as their numerical values change. As an analog computer does not use discrete values, but rather continuous values, processes cannot be reliably repeated with exact equivalence, as they can with Turing machines. Unlike machines used for digital signal processing, analog computers do not suffer from the discrete error caused by quantization noise. Instead, results from analog computers are subject to continuous error caused by electronic noise.

Analog computers were widely used in scientific and industrial applications where digital computers of the time lacked sufficient performance. Analog computers can have a very wide range of complexity. Slide rules and nomograms are the simplest, while naval gunfire control computers and large hybrid digital/analog computers were among the most complicated. Systems for process control and protective relays used analog computation to perform control and protective functions.

The advent of digital computing made simple analog computers obsolete as early as the 1950s and 1960s, although analog computers remained in use in some specific applications, like the flight computer in aircraft, and for teaching control systems in universities. More complex applications, such as synthetic aperture radar, remained the domain of analog computing well into the 1980s, since digital computers were insufficient for the task.

Andy Pettitte

Andrew Eugene Pettitte (; born June 15, 1972) is an American former baseball starting pitcher who played 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB), primarily for the New York Yankees. He also pitched for the Houston Astros. Pettitte won five World Series championships with the Yankees and was a three-time All-Star. He ranks as MLB's all-time postseason wins leader with 19.Pettitte was drafted by the Yankees organization in 1990, and he signed with them roughly a year later. After debuting in the major leagues in 1995, Pettitte finished third in voting for the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year Award. In 1996, he led the AL with 21 wins and was runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award, and two years later, he was named the Yankees' Opening Day starter. Pettitte established himself as one of the "Core Four" players who contributed to the Yankees' late-1990s dynasty that produced four championships. Pettitte won the 2001 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in helping his team win the pennant. After spending nine seasons with the Yankees—a stint in which he won at least 12 games each season—Pettitte signed with the Astros in 2004. He rejoined the Yankees in 2007 and later that season admitted to using human growth hormone to recover from an elbow injury in 2002. Pettitte's second tenure with the team lasted six seasons, interrupted by a one-year retirement in 2011, and also produced a fifth World Series championship.

Pettitte's pitching repertoire included a four-seam and cut fastball and several off-speed pitches such as a slider, curveball, and changeup. A left-handed pitcher, he had an exceptional pickoff move to first base, which allowed him to record 98 career pickoffs. Among Yankees pitchers, Pettitte ranks first in strikeouts (2,020), third in wins (219), and tied for first in games started (438). He won the most games of any pitcher in the 2000s.

His number 46 was retired by the Yankees on August 23, 2015.

Balk

In baseball, a pitcher can commit a number of illegal motions or actions that constitute a balk. Most of these violations involve a pitcher pretending to pitch when he has no intention of doing so. In games played under the Official Baseball Rules that govern all professional play in the United States and Canada, a balk results in a dead ball or delayed dead ball. In certain other circumstances, a balk may be wholly or partially disregarded. Under other rule sets, notably in the United States under the National Federation of High Schools (Fed or Federation) Baseball Rules, a balk results in an immediate dead ball. In the event a balk is enforced, the pitch is generally (but not always) nullified, each runner is awarded one base, and the batter (generally) remains at bat, and with the previous count. The balk rule in Major League Baseball was introduced in 1898.

Beanball

"Beanball" is a colloquialism used in baseball, for a ball thrown at an opposing player with the intention of striking them such as to cause harm, often connoting a throw at the player's head (or "bean" in old-fashioned slang). A pitcher who throws beanballs often is known as a "headhunter". The term may be applied to any sport in which a player on one team regularly attempts to throw a ball toward the general vicinity of a player of the opposite team, but is typically expected not to hit that player with the ball. In cricket, the equivalent term is "beamer". Some people use the term, beaner, though that usage is discouraged because of the negative connotations associated with that usage.

Dave Foutz

David Luther Foutz (September 7, 1856 – March 5, 1897) was a Major League Baseball player for 13 seasons. He played multiple positions, including pitcher, from 1884 to 1896, compiling a 147–66 career record, as well as first base and outfield. From 1893 to 1896, he was the player-manager of the Brooklyn Bridegrooms.

Hank Webb

Henry Gaylon Matthew Webb (born May 21, 1950) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1972 to 1977 for the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Webb was the losing pitcher in the longest game played to a decision in National League history. On September 11, 1974, Webb pitched the 25th inning of the Mets' loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Webb was charged with the only error of his major league career when his wild pickoff throw allowed Bake McBride to score all the way from first base to give St. Louis the victory. It was the first decision of Webb's major league career.

Webb pitched a seven inning, 1–0 no hit victory for the Tidewater Tides of the International League on June 7, 1974.He is the father of 3 sons, Kevin, Kyle and current Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Ryan Webb

Herb Washington

Herbert Lee Washington (born November 16, 1951) is a former world-class sprinter who parlayed his speed into a brief Major League Baseball (MLB) stint in 1974 and 1975 with the Oakland Athletics. Washington was called out on a pickoff play in the 1974 World Series. He was replaced in 1975 when the Athletics acquired a baserunning specialist who was also a position player. Washington returned to professional track, then became the owner/operator of numerous McDonald's restaurants and a minor league professional hockey franchise. He held a number of executive posts on varied boards and organizations.

Julio Teherán

Julio Alberto Teherán Pinto (born January 27, 1991) is a Colombian professional baseball pitcher for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). Teherán was signed by the Atlanta Braves out of his hometown of Cartagena, Colombia, as a non-drafted free agent at the age of 16.

Mark Langston

Mark Edward Langston (born August 20, 1960) is an American former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He pitched for the Seattle Mariners (1984–1989), Montreal Expos (1989), California and Anaheim Angels (1990–1997), San Diego Padres (1998), and Cleveland Indians (1999). During a 16-year baseball career, Langston compiled 179 wins, 2,464 strikeouts, and a 3.97 earned run average.

Pitch (baseball)

In baseball, a pitch is the act of throwing a baseball toward home plate to start a play. The term comes from the Knickerbocker Rules. Originally, the ball had to be literally "pitched" underhand, as with pitching horseshoes. Overhand throwing was not allowed until 1884.

The biomechanics of pitching have been studied extensively. The phases of throwing include windup, early cocking, late cocking, early acceleration, late acceleration, deceleration, and follow-through.Pitchers throw a variety of pitches, each of which has a slightly different velocity, trajectory, movement, hand position, wrist position and/or arm angle. These variations are introduced to confuse the batter in various ways, and ultimately aid the defensive team in getting the batter or baserunners out. To obtain variety, and therefore enhance defensive baseball strategy, the pitcher manipulates the grip on the ball at the point of release. Variations in the grip cause the seams to "catch" the air differently, thereby changing the trajectory of the ball, making it harder for the batter to hit.

The selection of which pitch to use can depend on a wide variety of factors including the type of hitter who is being faced; whether there are any base runners; how many outs have been made in the inning; and the current score.

Pitchout

In baseball, a pitchout is a ball that is intentionally thrown high and outside the strike zone with the purpose of preventing a stolen base, thwarting a hit and run, or to prevent a run-scoring play on a suicide squeeze play. The pitcher delivers the ball in such a manner for it to be unhittable and in a position where the catcher can quickly leap to his feet to catch it. A well-thrown pitchout will allow the catcher to receive the ball standing up as opposed to his usual squat, giving him a better line to throw to a base without the pitcher or the batter obstructing his vision or aim. Moreover, it is easier to throw a ball with more force from a standing position than it is from a squat, which is why most catchers leap to their feet when attempting to throw out a base stealer. A pitchout is a type of intentional ball, but differs in that a pitchout is thrown harder to give the catcher the most time to throw out the base runner.

The pitchout can be called for when the manager or catcher believes that an existing baserunner is likely to attempt a steal, and forms one of the two (with the pickoff) main countermeasures a pitcher can take against a potential stealer. A runner attempting to steal on a pitchout will have a more difficult time beating the throw to second base and almost no chance of stealing third barring a mistake by the catcher or the third baseman.

The pitchout can also be used against the hit and run. As the pitch is unhittable, the runner will have to attempt a straight steal against a prepared catcher. On a suicide squeeze play, when the runner is already running from third once the pitch has been thrown, a pitchout can be used to prevent the batter from being able to bunt the ball, allowing the catcher to tag the runner trying to score.

Pitchouts have become less frequent in Major League Baseball games than they were in the 1980s and before; sabermetricians have questioned their effectiveness. Around 1990, pitchouts could be seen in 8 MLB games out of every 10 on average; by 2015, that figure has fallen to 1 out of every 10. While pitchouts do help catch stealing runners - the rate caught stealing goes from 27% on non-pitchouts to 52% from data from 2011-2015 - stealing in general is less common than it was in the 1980s. Thus, the risk of granting the batter a free ball when no stealing attempt is actually being made is higher, and runners who steal frequently - the most important reason to use a pitchout - appear in fewer games.

Ron Darling

Ronald Maurice Darling Jr. (born August 19, 1960) is an American former right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played for the New York Mets, Montreal Expos, and Oakland Athletics. Darling currently works as a color commentator for national baseball coverage on TBS, as well as for the Mets on both SNY and WPIX; he also co-hosts several MLB Network programs.

During his 13-year career, Darling amassed a 136–116 won-loss record, with 13 shutouts. He had 1,590 strikeouts and a 3.87 ERA. In 1985, he was picked for the All-Star team.

Darling had five pitches in his repertoire: the slider, a curveball, a circle changeup, a splitter, and a four seam fastball. In the beginning of his career, Darling's weak point was control, and he finished three seasons in the top four in base on balls; as his career progressed, his control improved considerably. He was considered one of the better fielding pitchers of the time and won a Gold Glove Award in 1989. Darling had one of the best pickoff moves among right-handers. An above-average athlete, he was sometimes used as a pinch runner. In 1989, he hit home runs in two consecutive starts.

Slider

In baseball, a slider is a breaking ball pitch that tails laterally and down through the batter's hitting zone; it is thrown with less speed than a fastball but greater than the pitcher's curveball.

The break on the pitch is shorter than that of the curveball, and the release technique is 'between' those of a curveball and a fastball. The slider is similar to the cutter, a fastball pitch, but is more of a breaking ball than the cutter. The slider is also known as a yakker or a snapper.

Stan Spence

Stanley Orville Spence (March 20, 1915 – January 9, 1983) was a Major League Baseball center fielder who played from 1940 through 1949 for the Boston Red Sox (1940–41,1948–49), Washington Senators (1942–47) and St. Louis Browns (1949). Spence batted and threw left-handed. He was born in South Portsmouth, Kentucky.

A part-time player for the Boston Red Sox during two years, Spence played his first full-season for the Washington Senators in 1942 and he responded ending third in the American League batting race with a .323 average behind Ted Williams (.356) and Johnny Pesky (.331). His most productive season came in 1944, when he hit .316 and posted career-highs with 18 home runs and 100 runs batted in. After serving in World War II in 1945, he returned to the Senators a year later and hit a career-high 50 doubles with 10 triples and 16 home runs. Spence did a second stint with Boston and ended his majors career with the St. Louis Browns. A four-time All-Star in 1942, 1944, 1946 and 1947, he also was considered in the MVP vote in 1942 and from 1945 to 1947.

Spence hit a pivotal single in the 1947 Major League All-Star Game at Wrigley Field. Prior to his at-bat, former teammate Bobby Doerr singled, stole second, and then took third on pitcher Johnny Sain's errant pickoff attempt. Spence's pinch single resulted in the final margin of 2–1.In a nine-season career, Spence was a .282 hitter with 95 home runs and 575 RBI in 1112 games. He recorded a .984 fielding percentage at all three outfield positions and at first base.

In 1983, Spence was one of the initial four inductees in the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame. Pat Crawford, Charlie Keller and George Suggs were the others.

Spence died of emphysema in Kinston, North Carolina, at age 67.

Statcast

Statcast is a high-speed, high-accuracy, automated tool developed to analyze player movements and athletic abilities in Major League Baseball (MLB). Statcast was introduced to all thirty MLB stadiums in 2015.

Stolen base

In baseball, a stolen base occurs when a runner advances to a base to which he is not entitled and the official scorer rules that the advance should be credited to the action of the runner. The umpires determine whether the runner is safe or out at the next base, but the official scorer rules on the question of credit or blame for the advance under Rule 10.A stolen base most often occurs when a base runner advances to the next base while the pitcher is pitching the ball to home plate.

Successful base stealers are not only fast but have good baserunning instincts and timing.

Switch hitter

In baseball, a switch hitter is a player who bats both right-handed and left-handed, usually right-handed against left-handed pitchers and left-handed against right-handed pitchers.

Tippy Martinez

Felix Anthony "Tippy" Martinez (born May 31, 1950), is a retired professional baseball pitcher. Martinez, who threw left-handed, pitched fourteen seasons in Major League Baseball between 1974 and 1988, primarily as a relief pitcher. The majority of his career (1976–86) was spent as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, where he was a member of the Baltimore team that won the 1983 World Series.

Wheel play

The wheel play is a baseball strategy designed to defend against a sacrifice bunt (or tap hit) in a close game in situations in which the offense has a runner on second (or sometimes runners on first and second) and there are no outs (or occasionally with one out). This circumstance can make it imperative for the defense to get the lead runner out because the offense can score without a hit if there is a man at third base with fewer than two outs. The play's name derives from the wheel-like rotation of the infielders.

The wheel play is a unique bunt defense in that the play is designed to get the lead runner out at third. Most bunt defense strategies give the priority to making sure the team gets one out at first. The play begins with the shortstop breaking to cover third base. As the pitch is thrown, the third and first basemen rush toward home plate to be able to field the bunted ball as quickly as possible while the second basemen runs to cover first base. Additionally, the pitcher moves to back up the fielder on the side his pitching momentum carries him towards.Ideally for the defense, if the ball is bunted, it goes directly to one of the charging fielders only a few feet past home plate. If it is bunted right at a fielder, the play is to throw to the shortstop (covering third base) for the tag or force out if permitted by the existence of a trail runner.

The offense may try to defeat the wheel play in one of several ways.

If the offense suspects the defense will put on the wheel play, and sees the shortstop break for third too early or too late, it may send the runner(s) on a straight steal. If the shortstop leaves early, the runner on second will take a "walking lead" off the second base bag, and can be most or all of the way to third when the catcher takes the pitch. If the shortstop leaves too late, the man on second runs with the expectation that the shortstop cannot acquire position to take the throw on the steal.The key for the defense is for the pitcher to use the inside pickoff move once, or a few times, to keep the runner at 2nd from straying toward third too early and perhaps picking him off. Either way, the effort by the catcher to throw to a moving target, the shortstop opens the possibility of an error, permitting additional advancement on the bases. Additionally, a man on first takes second without contest, as it will be uncovered. But if the shortstop has the play timed right, the runner from second will be caught stealing, generally with ease.

Alternately, the offense can send the runners towards the next base while instructing the hitter to use a "butcher boy" swing—show a bunting stance as the pitcher begins his delivery, but twist back and swing in full as the pitch arrives. The objective is to put a batted ball into the vacated middle of the field and produce a multiple base advance by the runners. However, because the hitter is moving so much, and since hitters called upon to bunt are often among the weakest hitters on the team, it is unusual for the "butcher boy" swing to yield the requisite batted ball, and more common for it to result in a swinging or fouled strike. That event subsequently limits a hitter's options as the at-bat proceeds, especially if he now has two strikes, which often nullifies a bunting strategy (A ball bunted foul with 2 strikes, results in a called 3rd strike).

Defenses generally do not rely on the wheel play in bunt situations where the bunter is deemed a good enough hitter to be able to execute the "butcher boy" swing. Instead, the third baseman and shortstop will hold their positions, and the defense will rely on the pitcher to field the ball, and concede an advance to third if the bunt is well executed.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the wheel play being used in the major leagues was when it was executed by the Pittsburgh Pirates against the St. Louis Cardinals on August 14, 1960, resulting, as reported by The Pittsburgh Press, in "an electrifying double play [...] that had the 36,775 fans screaming." Several Pirate players and coaches said they had never seen the play before, but the Pirate players who executed the play attributed the original idea to former Cubs manager Charlie Grimm, who they thought used it in 1950.

Fastballs
Off-speed pitches
Purpose pitches
Illegal pitches
Other
Deliveries
Related
Baseball concepts
Rules
Park/Field
Equipment
Game process
Batting
Pitching
Base running
Fielding
(positioning)
Miscellaneous

Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.