Left fielder
In baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

, a left fielder (LF) is an outfielder
Outfielder is a generic term applied to each of the people playing in the three defensive positions in baseball farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder...

 who plays defense in left field. Left field is the area of the outfield to the left of a person standing at home plate
Home Plate
Home Plate is the fifth album by Bonnie Raitt, released in 1975 .-Track listing:#"What Do You Want the Boy to Do?" – 3:19#"Good Enough" – 2:56#"Run Like a Thief" – 3:02...

 and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the left fielder is assigned the number 7.

Position description

Outfielder is a generic term applied to each of the people playing in the three defensive positions in baseball farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder...

s must cover large distances, so speed, instincts, and quickness in reacting to the ball are key. They must be able to catch fly balls above their head and on the run. They must be able to throw the ball accurately over a long distance to be effective; they must also learn to judge whether to attempt a difficult catch and risk letting the ball get past them, or to instead allow the ball to fall in order to guarantee a swift play and prevent the advance of runners. Left fielders must also familiarize themselves with the varying configurations of different ballparks' foul territory, and prevent balls hit down the foul lines from getting past them into the left field corner. Amateur players may find it difficult to concentrate on the game, since they are so far from the action. Emphasizing the correct position will give outfield players something to concentrate on at each pitch. Hits to left field tend to curve toward the left field foul line, and left fielders must learn to adjust to that.

Of all outfielders, the left fielder often will have the weakest arm, as they generally do not need to throw the ball as far to prevent the advance of any baserunners. The left fielder still requires good fielding and catching skills, and tends to receive more balls than the right fielder because right-handed hitters tend to "pull" the ball into left field. The left fielder also backs up third base
Third baseman
A third baseman, abbreviated 3B, is the player in baseball whose responsibility is to defend the area nearest to third base — the third of four bases a baserunner must touch in succession to score a run...

 on pick-off attempts from the catcher
Catcher is a position for a baseball or softball player. When a batter takes his turn to hit, the catcher crouches behind home plate, in front of the umpire, and receives the ball from the pitcher. This is a catcher's primary duty, but he is also called upon to master many other skills in order to...

 or pitcher
In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throwsthe baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the...

 and bunts, when possible. Also if a runner is stealing third base the left fielder must back up the throw from the catcher. Left fielders must also back up third base when a ball is thrown from right field, and back up center field when a pop fly is hit into the pocket.

Notable left fielders

The following are baseball players inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as left fielders:

  • Lou Brock
    Lou Brock
    Louis Clark "Lou" Brock is an American former professional baseball player. He began his Major League Baseball career with the Chicago Cubs but, spent the majority of his career as the left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. Brock was best known for breaking Ty Cobb's all-time major league...

  • Jesse Burkett
    Jesse Burkett
    Jesse Cail Burkett , nicknamed "The Crab", was a Major League Baseball player at the turn of the 20th century...

  • Fred Clarke
    Fred Clarke
    Fred Clifford Clarke was a Major League Baseball player from 1894 to and manager from 1897 to 1915. A Hall of Famer, Clarke played for and managed both the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a left fielder and left-handed batter.Of the nine pennants in Pittsburgh franchise...

  • Ed Delahanty
    Ed Delahanty
    Edward James Delahanty , nicknamed "Big Ed", was a Major League Baseball player from 1888 to 1903 for the Philadelphia Quakers, Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Infants and Washington Senators, and was known as one of the early great power hitters in the game.He was elected to the Baseball Hall of...

  • Goose Goslin
    Goose Goslin
    Leon Allen "Goose" Goslin was a left fielder in Major League Baseball known for his powerful left-handed swing and dependable clutch hitting. He played 18 seasons with the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns, and Detroit Tigers, from until...

  • Chick Hafey
    Chick Hafey
    Charles James "Chick" Hafey was an American player in Major League Baseball. Hafey was part of two World Series championship teams as a St. Louis Cardinal, and was selected by the Veteran's Committee for the Hall of Fame in .Playing for the St...

  • Rickey Henderson
    Rickey Henderson
    Rickey Henley Henderson is a former Major League Baseball left fielder who played for nine teams from 1979 to 2003, including four stints with his original team, the Oakland Athletics. Nicknamed The Man of Steal, he is widely regarded as the sport's greatest leadoff hitter and baserunner...

  • Monte Irvin
    Monte Irvin
    Monford Merrill "Monte" Irvin is a former left fielder and right-handed batter in the Negro leagues and Major League Baseball who played with the Newark Eagles , New York Giants and Chicago Cubs .-Biography:Although born in Haleburg, Alabama, Irvin grew up in Orange, New Jersey, one of five...

  • Joe Kelley
    Joe Kelley
    Joseph James Kelley was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball who starred in the outfield of the powerful Baltimore Oriole teams of the 1890s.-Career:...

  • Ralph Kiner
    Ralph Kiner
    Ralph McPherran Kiner is an American former Major League Baseball player and has been an announcer for the New York Mets since the team's inception. Though injuries forced his retirement from active play after 10 seasons, Kiner's tremendous slugging outpaced nearly all of his National League...

  • Heinie Manush
    Heinie Manush
    Henry Emmett Manush , nicknamed "Heinie" due to his German heritage, was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball, and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964....

  • Joe Medwick
    Joe Medwick
    Joseph Michael Medwick , nicknamed "Ducky", was an American Major League Baseball player. A left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals during the "Gashouse Gang" era of the 1930s, he also played for the Brooklyn Dodgers , New York Giants , and Boston Braves...

  • Jim O'Rourke
  • Jim Rice
    Jim Rice
    James Edward "Jim" Rice , nicknamed "Jim Ed", is a former Major League Baseball left fielder.Jim Rice played his entire career for the Boston Red Sox from 1974 to 1989...

  • Al Simmons
    Al Simmons
    Aloysius Harry Simmons , born Aloisius Szymanski in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was an American baseball player. He played for two decades in the major leagues as an outfielder, and had his best years as a member of Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics during the 1930's...

  • Willie Stargell
    Willie Stargell
    Wilver Dornell "Willie" Stargell , nicknamed "Pops" in the later years of his career, was a Major League Baseball left fielder and first baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career with the Pittsburgh Pirates...

  • Zack Wheat
    Zack Wheat
    Wheat played his first full season in . He played every game for the Superbas that season as the regular left fielder, leading the league in games played. He batted .284 that season, the second-lowest average of his career, which led the team, and was among the league leaders in hits, doubles, and...

  • Billy Williams
  • Ted Williams
    Ted Williams
    Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 21-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox...

  • Carl Yastrzemski
    Carl Yastrzemski
    Carl Michael Yastrzemski is a former American Major League Baseball left fielder and first baseman. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989. Yastrzemski played his entire 23-year baseball career with the Boston Red Sox . He was primarily a left fielder, with part of his later career...

Out of left field

The phrase "out of left field" is popular vernacular (first attested in 1961) meaning "wildly unrelated to the subject being discussed", and "out in left field" means "a little crazy". One theory involves the "Death Valley" in Yankee Stadium circa 1923–1988. During this time period, the shape of the outfield in Yankee Stadium roughly approximated an oval, with the "long" portion pointing to left-center. A left-fielder would thus typically be stationed further back from the action than the center or right fielders, as he would have a greater amount of ground to cover. Hence, "out in left field" meant one was furthest from the action taking place at home-plate, and the most likely to draw erroneous, fanciful conclusions about that action. Another, likely apocryphal, theory is that this refers to the popularity of seats in right field at Yankee Stadium while Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth, Jr. , best known as "Babe" Ruth and nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat", was an American Major League baseball player from 1914–1935...

 was playing that position; buying a seat in left field would have been "stupid". Another theory is that this arose at Chicago's second West Side Park
West Side Park
West Side Park was the name used for two different baseball parks that formerly stood in Chicago, Illinois. They were both home fields of the team now known as the Chicago Cubs of the National League. Both parks witnessed championship baseball...

, home of the Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs are a professional baseball team located in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball's National League. They are one of two Major League clubs based in Chicago . The Cubs are also one of the two remaining charter members of the National...

 from 1893 to 1915. After the Cubs moved to what is now Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field is a baseball stadium in Chicago, Illinois, United States that has served as the home ballpark of the Chicago Cubs since 1916. It was built in 1914 as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Federal League baseball team, the Chicago Whales...

, the West Side Park property eventually became the home of the University of Illinois College of Medicine
University of Illinois College of Medicine
The University of Illinois College of Medicine offers a four-year program leading to the MD degree at four different sites in Illinois: Chicago, Peoria, Rockford, and Urbana–Champaign....

. The U of I built its Neuropsychiatric Institute building in what had been left field. A fourth theory is derived directly from the experience of players. A runner attempting to score from third base will have his back to left field, thus a throw to the plate "out of left field" can arrive seemingly out of nowhere as a surprise to the runner.

See also

  • Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Gold Glove Award
    Gold Glove Award
    The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League and the American League , as voted by the...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.