For the purpose of distinction, the nine fielders are subdivided into The Battery, The In-field, and The Out-field. The Battery means the Pitcher and Catcher, the In-field includes the First, Second, and Third Basemen, and the Short-stop; and the Outfield is composed of the Left, Centre, and Right Fielders.
The "in-field" was an enclosed patch of illcultivated ground, on which oats and "bear," or barley, were grown; but the principal crop was weeds. Of the small quantity of corn raised in the country, nine-tenths were grown within five miles of the coast; and of wheat very little was raised not a blade north of the Lothians.
The possibilities of the position as a factor in field play were early developed; such fielders as George Wright and Dick Pearce soon showed that it could be made one of the most important of the in-field.
In fielding balls hit along the ground, the outfielder should run in quickly to meet the ball and return it instantly to the proper point on the in-field. I have seen games lost by out-fielders stupidly holding a ball or returning it lazily to the in-field. There is absolutely nothing to be gained but everything to be lost by such plays.
By getting quickly to second he is in a position to go on to third if the ball is fumbled or slowly handled, or returned to the wrong point on the in-field. So, too, a runner on second, when a hit is made, should always force the throw to the home plate, even if he does not intend to try for the run.
With a runner on third and not more than one man out, all the in-fielders will play closer to the bat, so as to throw the runner out at home on an in-field hit; in such case if the batter should strike out, and the third strike be dropped, the first baseman should not go to his base to receive the throw from the catcher, but meet it on the line as near as possible to the plate.
If he misses a fly he should get after the ball at once and send it to the proper point on the in-field, and not walk after it simply because he has missed it. Andy Leonard, of the old Bostons, was, in his day, one of the best of left-fielders. He was particularly strong on balls hit over his head, which he always took over his shoulder while running with the direction of the hit.
Hines, thinking the hit perfectly safe, was jogging around the bases when the ball was returned to the in-field. Start had run fast and overtaken Hines, and the result was that instead of a run scored, a man on third and no one out, both runners were put out and we lost the game by one run, and the championship by that one game.
They usually possessed the land in common, though in various proportions, according to their several grants. The part of the Township properly arable, and kept as such continually under the plough, was called in-field.
If there are no runners on the bases the consideration of the batter will alone determine; if he is a right-field hitter the second baseman will play more toward the first baseman, the entire in-field moving around correspondingly; and if he is a left-field hitter he will play toward second and back of the base, in either case playing back of the base line from fifteen to fifty feet, depending upon whether the batter is a very fleet or slow runner.