Clipped From The Index-Journal
rm. make long throws to I tDlro or nome plate. An outfleId(.r ,hould h! r,9dv taie cnarge oi me Dan aimosi i j 1 How To Play The Outfield-By Joe DiMaggio (Thia ia the first of seven articles in which former major league baseball stars tell how to play the game.) By JOE DIMAGGIO (Written for AP Newafeaturrs) A good outfielder must be able i 10 d0 'our thlnes - h'1- r"n. throw 'and catch a fly ball. j The center fleMer has the moM territory to cover He must cover hl ow? position part of left field. part of right field and ground be- hlnd seCond base. He need not be the fastest outfielder but should "e0 He must be an Is able to get the Jump on all balls hit his way. Because most batters are right handers and hit a number of balls to left field, the left fielder Is considered the second best outfielder on the team. Right Field Has Changed When I was a kid, right field was the place where the less capable outfielder would play, but that's changed today. The right fielder Is one who should be able to play balls off the wall pretty well because ln most parks right field is shallow. He must have a . - ------- :.-!" 80011 s " hlt- "e ,must off. He must be on his toes w tn eVery pitch, it is unwise to play the outfield in a fiat-footed posi- tlon. On ground balls hit to the outfield I always believed ln charging the ball. That gave me full momentum and made lt easier to make a throw. I used to get hit on the arm while charging some ground balls but at least I'd try to have the ball in front of me. It's Important to stop a ground ball as soon as possible with men on base. A speedy recovery of a batted ball may prevent one or more Important runners from taking an extra base. When trying to catch a fly ball bit ln front of you lt might be necessary to leave your feet. If so. do it while running at full speed. Tou can take the fall on your shoulder and roll over. However, I never went ln for circus catches. I tried not to fall down or dive for the ball. I always made an effort to bend down to my shoe tops to catch fly balls bit tn front of me. ' Fellows who have trouble going back for a fly ball should have someone bit long iungoe in prsc- iron iv. . - w i N G BACKING VP a teammate should come by Instinct, says Joe DiMaggio. Above Is a fine example of team play. The picture ahows Mickey Mantle sprawled on the ground in right field at Yankee Stadium in the second tame of the 1951 World Series against the Giants. DiMaggio, by coming over, from center field to back up, caught the hard hit ball, thereby making a difficult play look routine. tlce. In the spring I also believed ln having the coaches and pitchers hit ground balls to the outfield. I used to charge them. It helps leg muscles, gets you to the ball sooner and helps your timing ln fielding the ball. Call for the Ball Always call for the ball when iUBm It can be caught by more than - man The first one canine for the ball usually has the preference. I ,. .1..... 11.. 1,,- m this wasn't always the I Yankee Stadium during ! parts of 1950 and 1951 When oene Woodllng was playing left field and Hank Bauer right. On days when the Yankees drew big crowds we often had difficulty hearing the outfield calls due to the crowd din. I also recall a game in Detroit ln 1937 when MyrU Hoag and yours truly were running at full speed for a ball hit Into the right center field hole by Goose Ooslln. We both called but neither heard the other with some 40,000 people shouting. It bad to be a running catch. Neither of us caught the ball. We collided bead on and Hoag went to the hospital. My head must be bard. I stayed In the game. But there we were, practically unconscious on the ground while Ooslln circled the bases behind two runners for an inside-the-park borne run. The outfielder closest to the man making the play should call out where the throw should be made. This often is a big help to the man whose first move is to catch the ball i . . Flaying the la Field Watch the sunfleld. Ton must miimrrmrsn r-- iww-r vwhw" msiwii'J! . '1V get accustomed to the ball park before you flip sun glasses over your eyes. In Yankee Stadium the ball seemed to play tricks oh the outfielders. We never flicked the glasses down until we were sure of the flight of the ball. We waited because of the high upper stands. I believe that's what happened In the first two games of the 1947 wrw Rene with th. Tvirr Pete Reiser started out as Dodger ,i 1 1 . i, center fielder and he had a lot of trouble with balls hit to the out field. My guess Is that Pete, a fine ball player, was flicking his glasses over his eyes too soon. It caused him to lose the flight of the ball because of darkness around home plate. Once you put glasses down and try to look Into the stands everything seems black. Throws and Cutoffs Throwing the ball back to the Infield is one of the big things ln baseball. Always throw ahead of the runner. Of course, there are times when you can throw behind the runner when you think be has over-run the base. But this takes split second thinking and accurate timing. Always i try to throw the ball on a bop to the base. You can get more . accuracy that way and it gives the infielder a better chance to see the baa Some fellows believe the shortstop should signal the outfielders On the type of pitch to be made to each batter. I think that Is unnecessary. The Yankees never had an outfield signal on 'a pitched ball. Backing op an Infielder or an -t amnstfcik4mtftf l' f I llamlltaWn ifl jT I f outfielder not only looks smart to the people ln the stands. It Is a smart playt When a runner tries to steal second base, the center fielder should always charge ln toward second base. On a poor throw by the catcher the runner often is prevented from taking an extra base when the center fielder back up. Such a play saves the catcher an error and often prevents a run from scoring. On throws to first base, the right fielder should back up, and on throws to third base the left fielder should back up. When a center fielder sees his shortstop or second baseman run over near second base to take, a throw, the, center fielder should charge ln to back up the play. Backing Up Pays Off Outfielders also should back up each other. , A lot of these plays are made by instinct. In the 1951 World Series, Willie Mays of the Oiants hit what appeared to be an ordinary fly ball to. Mickey Mantle in right field. I went over to back up the play in routine fashion. Mantle went down like a shot just as be was about to camp under the bait He bad Injured his knee and wss carried from the field on a stretcher I csugbt the ball shoulder high because I wss nearby to back up Mickey. Had that ball gone through as X would have had to chase It since it was coming toward right center. It might have gone for two or three bases, sod we - might not have beaten the Oianu by 1-1 that day.. -.