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Thread: Backstop and shortstop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Brooklyn, USA

    Backstop and shortstop

    Are the words "backstop" and "shortstop" related? Both words have "stop" and refer to a position player. The backstop, of course, is a reference to the catcher while a shortstop is a middle infielder behind the pitcher.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Shortstop was invented by Daniel Adams. The balls in the 1840's-50's were hard to throw a long distance because of their light weight. So he played what was essentially a short-outfielder in order to relay the ball in. When balls got better he moved in to where SS is today and of course still take relay throws. I'm not sure if they are related tho. It could be that he was viewed almost like a 2nd catcher, in that guys had to throw the ball to him and he was a short outfielder. Hence -- short-stop.

  3. #3
    According to Peter Morris in his book Catcher: How The Man Behind The Plate Became An American Folk Hero, the term was originally used to describe the fence behind the catcher but when the protective gear started being introduced in the 1870s, it became a synonym for the position but in a belittling way. Here's a link:

    Personally, I have never heard a catcher referred to as a backstop before. If catcher isn't used to describe the position, I usually hear the term receiver instead.

    Whenever I hear backstop it's always been in reference to the wall or fence behind the plate.
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