Thirteen Hall of Famers since 1903 played at least half their games at catcher:
The one with the most plate appearances was Carlton Fisk who in the 1980s legitimized the swipe tag for catchers. What happened to that? When and why did violent collisions become so prevalent that the Major Baseball League (MBL) finally made small changes in the rules to protect the catchers? I do not recall violent crashes involving Yogi Berra or Elston Howard, first Yankee catchers I watched.
About the new home plate collision rules: the conventional wisdom seems to be that the base runner should always slide. Say what? Even those dopes who slide into first base are not dumb enough to slide head and hands first into shin guards at home. Maybe that's where the collisions came from: better to crash than slide head first. Now they may resort to the sliding roll block and crash into the catcher from the pop up slide. That's the slide that was supposed to have been ended with Hal McRae barreling into Willie Randolph.
It's got to be swipe tag or nothing. That's the safest.
|Deacon McGuire 1887-90, Bill Salkeld 1948|
via Wikimedia Commons
In that final game against the Mets Joe Mauer was hit in the head twice by foul balls. Mauer sustained a concussion.
As long as the MBL insists on retaining the position of catcher, those players need protection. I cruised through the rules and listed some excepts below. I'm still not sure that a team is required to take the field with some poor soul in the catcher's box. But if there is, I don't see anything that requires the catcher to squat. Stand up. If that blocks the view of the plate umpire, too bad. Actually, good. It protects the umpire also from foul balls crashing into his head.
1.16 A Professional League shall adopt the following rule pertaining to the use of
(d) All catchers shall wear a catcher’s protective helmet, while fielding their position.
The BATTERY is the pitcher and catcher
The CATCHER is the fielder who takes his position back of the home base.
The CATCHER’S BOX is that area within which the catcher shall stand until the pitcher delivers the ball.
Rule 3.01(e) Comment: ... the umpire shall not deliver a new ball to the pitcher or the catcher until the batter hitting the home run has crossed the plate.
4.03 When the ball is put in play at the start of, or during a game, all fielders other than the catcher shall be on fair territory.
(a) The catcher shall station himself directly back of the plate. He may leave his position at any time to catch a pitch or make a play except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher’s box until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand.
Rule 7.06(b) Comment: ...
NOTE: The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.
Tell Brian McCann about Rule 3.01(e).
Brian McCann is an asshole and Yanks should not sign him. Monday, November 25, 2013