How the Man Behind the Plate Became an American Folk Hero
Ivan R. Dee Publisher, Paperback, 9781566638708, 386pp.
Publication Date: September 16, 2010
List Price: $18.95*
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Today's baseball catcher stolidly goes about his duty without attracting much attention. But it wasn't always that way, as Peter Morris shows in this lively and original study. In baseball's early days, catchers stood a safe distance back of the batter without protective gear. Then the introduction of the curveball in the 1870s led them to move up directly behind home plate, even though they still wore no gloves or other protection. Extraordinary courage became the catcher's most notable requirement, but the new positioning also demanded that the catcher have lightning-fast reflexes, great hands, and a throwing arm with the power of a cannon. With so great a range of required skills, a special mystique came to surround the position, and it began to seem that a good catcher could single-handedly make the difference between a winning and losing team.