10 great moments in using caps to catch baseballs
You can thank Hall of Famer George Wright for getting cap catches completely banned. On Sept. 14, 1872, the Red Stockings' shortstop saw an opportunity when the Athletics loaded the bases with no one out. The A's Fergy Malone popped up to Wright, who confused the runners when he caught the ball in his cap. Knowing the rule from 1857 that said if a player caught the ball in his hat, no outs could be recorded "unless the ball shall first have been settled in the hands of the pitcher," Wright threw to the pitcher. The hurler then threw home for one out, then to third, then to second.
Triple play, right? Not so fast. Thinking quickly, the umpire called the play off, and Malone got another chance to bat. Thanks to Wright's attempts to circumvent the rulebook, it was soon amended so that if a fielder's hat interfered with the ball, the batter received a base.
Though you won't see a cap catch on the field, it doesn't mean there aren't dozens of great ones that will take place all year long. As you plan out which cap you'll wear to the office on Monday for #CapsOn, here are 10 of the best cap catches in recent history:
There's a reason why people use gloves and not hats: Home run balls are hit hard enough to rip the cap from your hand.
For this lucky fan, his cap -- and ball -- was snagged … by a cowboy hat. One day let's hope we're fortunate enough to see a cap caught by a fedora caught by a giant cowboy hat.
9. Baby on board
Taking care of a young child is an almost impossible task, what with the diaper bags, weird food and the screaming infant that you have to tote around.
So, catching a baseball while carrying a baby is always impressive. Make that catch with your cap while carrying said baby? You're probably qualified to be a world ruler.
8. The smoothest home run catch possible
Using the cap is usually a last minute decision. It's almost a shield that just happens to snag a baseball. For Braves fan Samuel Joiner, it's as if he'd been practicing for weeks when he snagged a Freddie Freeman home run.
7. The anti-cap catch
Many use their caps to catch home run balls. This is an example of Jose Canseco's Rangers cap helping avoid being caught:
When Tom Gorzelanny made a smooth, running grab with his cap, the show wasn't over. Knowing that the camera eye would be upon the relievers following the Chromium Cap-quality catch (if you win Gold Gloves, then it just makes sense that you can also win Chromium Cap awards), the bullpen proceeded to put on a little dinner theater.
5. The leaping cap catch
Rarely do you see feats of athleticism in a cap catch. But for this fan, he needed every inch of his vertical leap to snag this one. It's also a reminder to all baseball fans: You can forget your sleeves, but never forget your head wear.
You can't use your cap to make a catch on-field, but there's no rule against using your cap to help you make the catch. When sunglasses alone weren't enough to block the sun, Tommy Pham knew his cap could come to his aid.
3. Luis Ayala's cap catch expertise
From 2003-2013, Ayala was one of the most underrated relievers in the game, posting sub-3 ERAs in five different seasons. But he also had one other ability: He loved catching home runs with his cap, snagging at least four in his career. Perhaps his best came when he snagged this Chris Davis home run while Pedro Strop reeled it in. That's teamwork.
Buckets are made to hold things. So it just makes sense that bucket hats are designed for baseballs. While the catch was nice, it's the celebration that makes this the best moment for bucket hats since Gilligan.
1. The modern master
Following in Ayala's footsteps is Red Sox reliever Robbie Ross. Though he laps other relievers in his prowess for catching balls blasted to the bullpen, it's not just luck. He works for it. Just watch at the hustle Ross put in for a ball that he didn't even come down with:
It's that devotion to the cap catch that has made him the king of them. Time and time again when a ball comes anywhere near the bullpen, Ross comes up big:
Nothing stands in his way. For Ross knows that a cap is not just something to protect your head and eyes from the sun. It is a tool for snagging home runs.