Monday, March 11, 2013

So You Want to be a 19th Century Catcher

I shot some video on my phone today at practice:

1880's Catching Practice from Tom Hoffman on Vimeo.

Most of the footage is of Gil Faria, who is the greatest 19th century catcher of the 21st century, although now semi-retired and thrown in front of a camera with little warm-up. You can see him starting to feel it toward the end of his part.

I'm going to try to satisfy the demand for more 19th century catching blogging this year.

The back story to this is that it is almost impossible to get the catchers in 1880's era vintage base ball teams to use something close to the period technique, that is, stooped, not squatting, catching with both hands. This is partly because experienced catchers have learned to crouch and stick one hand out from childhood, partly because catching with two hands is just hazardous to your throwing hand, especially if you don't use appropriate technique.

Practicing like this is pretty easy. Game velocity pitching and batters hitting foul tips is not.

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