In baseball, the "leftfielder" is the player who defends the left third of the outfield.

Defense

Left field is probably the easiest defensive position to play in baseball, with the possible exception of first base. Leftfielders do not require the strong arm needed to by rightfielders, because they are much closer to third base, nor do they require the speed and range demanded of centerfielders, because they have a significantly smaller area of the field to cover. Consequently, leftfielders are almost universally far better known for their bats than for their gloves, and left field often becomes a place to stash a good hitter with subpar defensive skills or an aging player whose defensive skills are declining but who can still swing the bat.

On a baseball scorecard, the leftfielder is denoted by the number "7", so a flyball out to the leftfielder would be scored as

7
whereas a batter tagged out at the plate by the catcher after a throw from the leftfielder would be recorded as
7-2

Offense

In baseball, the players at the "corners," i.e. first base, third base, left field, and right field, are supposed to supply the bulk of the teams' offense, whereas the players "up the middle" are often felt to contribute more with their speed and defense. As a "corner outfielder" the leftfielder is expected to hit for significant power and average, and power the team to victory with copious home runs and RBI. Nowadays, most leftfielders are expected to provide at least 25-30 home runs, although occasionally there will be a left fielder who makes his money with speed on the base paths, such as legendary stolen-base king Ricky Henderson.

The All-time Greats

Despite the reputation of leftfielders as being less than well-rounded players, baseball history has witnessed some truly magnificent players patrol left field. Among the best known are (Hall of Famers in bold):


Bob Allison, Barry Bonds, Lou Brock, Pat Burrell, Jesse Burkett , Fred Clarke, Vince Coleman, Ed Delahanty , Adam Dunn, Kirk Gibson, Luis Gonzalez, Goose Goslin, Chick Hafey, Rickey Henderson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Joe Kelley, Ralph Kiner, Duffy Lewis, Heinie Manush, Hideki Matsui, Joe Medwick, Minnie Minoso, Kevin Mitchell, Stan Musial, Ben Oglivie, Jim O'Rourke, Lou Piniella, Tim Raines, Manny Ramirez, Jim Rice, Joe Rudi, Al Simmons, Willie Stargell, Zack Wheat, Billy Williams, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski


Single-Season Records

(Since 1900)

Hits: 254, Lefty O'Doul, 1929 Philadelphia Phillies
Doubles: 64, Joe Medwick, 1936 St. Louis Cardinals
Triples: 23, Adam Comorosky, 1930 Pittsburgh Pirates
Home Runs: 73, Barry Bonds, 2001 San Francisco Giants
Runs: 177, Babe Ruth, 1921 New York Yankees
Runs Batted In: 171, Babe Ruth, 1921 New York Yankees
Stolen Bases: 130, Rickey Henderson, 1982 Oakland Athletics
Batting Average: .362, Bill Dickey, 1936 New York Yankees
Bases on Balls: 218, Barry Bonds, 2004 San Francisco Giants
On-base Percentage: .609, Barry Bonds, 2004 San Francisco Giants
Slugging Percentage: .863 Barry Bonds, 2001 San Francisco Giants

 



Baseball Positions

Pitcher - Catcher - First Baseman - Second Baseman - Third Baseman - Shortstop - Leftfielder - Centerfielder - Rightfielder - Designated Hitter

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