In baseball, positions are labeled with numbers. There are nine players in the field all at the same time, and each player has distinct positions and functions. To catch the ball is as important as batting it. This makes the 3 or the first baseman the defensive player who protects the first base position very important.
So much of the infield depends on the first baseman since throws made in the direction of the first base can often miss.
Famous First Basemen
Some of the famous first basemen are Lou Gehrig, Albert Pujols, Jimmie Fox, Hank Greenberg, and Miguel Cabrera. All of them are known to possess skills necessary for a 3 such as being a good catcher, a good fielder, and a hitter. Speed is not a highly need skill for a first baseman, but being tall is an advantage.
Skills of a 3
The player must be very good at catching the ball to force out the base runner at the first base.
The first baseman must also know how to cover the bag. This happens in situations where the infield ground ball hits any player except the 3. When this happens, the player needs to quickly get to the first base.
Covering the bag seems like an easy task, but it’s harder than it sounds. To do this, the first baseman must place his foot on the bag, using the foot opposite his gloves. His foot should be positioned in such a way that the ball of that foot is positioned outside the bag. This enables the player to do the longest leg stretch when he moves to catch the ball. The first baseman should hold his glove up to the level of his chest so that the thrower can provide him with a better pass. Once the ball is in the air, the player stretches his arm towards the ball while he keeps his other foot on the bag.
At times, a throw is short and the player must dig the ball into the dirt while keeping a foot on the bag. This is called the short hop.
Keep on or Come Off the Bag
While the objective is to out the base runner, it is also essential for the 3 to prevent the opponent from getting extra bases. Given this, a good first baseman must display good judgment on when to come off a bag to catch an errant throw.