National Catchers Day is celebrated on February 2. Catchers receive pitches while crouched behind home plate in front of the umpire. On National Catcher’s Day, past and present notable catchers are celebrated.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL CATCHERS DAY
Throughout its history, baseball and, subsequently, the position of catchers have undergone significant transformations. In the middle of the 19th century, baseball transformed from a recreational sport to a professional sport. Since the 1858 introduction of the called strike, a catch has been necessary to complete a strikeout.
Initially, catchers stood 20 to 25 feet behind the batter and lacked safety equipment. The Dead-ball period began when baseball clubs began using harder balls and pitchers’ release points rose. The new equipment and rules have altered the catcher’s defensive responsibilities.
In order for a pitcher’s deceptive pitches to be effective, the catcher had to be able to field them, hence catching became an important defensive position. The closer location of the catcher would influence the delivery of the pitcher and revolutionise the sport. Due to the proximity of home plate and the ability of his catcher, Nat Hicks, to field his position, it was easy for Candy Cummings to debut the curveball in the 1870s. Other speciality pitches such as spitballs and knuckleballs followed, emphasising the defensive responsibilities of the catcher. Given the significance of the position, it is hardly surprising that Xan Barksdale created National Catchers Day in 2019.
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Five Interesting Facts about Catchers
- The catcher takes pitches from the pitcher while crouched behind home plate before the (home) umpire.
- The catcher has a 360-degree perspective of the field, making him the best individual to direct other players during defensive plays.
- The catcher typically uses hand signals to summon pitches.
- Typically, the catcher is the first to notice the idiosyncrasies, oddities, and peculiarities of the home-plate umpire.
- Catching is the most physically demanding position in baseball.
NATIONAL CATCHERS DAY DATES