A left fielder, abbreviated LF, is an outfielder in the sport of baseball who plays defense in left field. Left field is the area of the outfield to the left of a person standing at home plate and facing towards the pitcher's mound. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the left fielder is assigned the number 7.
Outfielders must cover large distances, so speed, instincts and quickness in reacting to the ball are key. They must be able to catch fly balls above their head and on the run. They must be able to throw the ball accurately over a long distance to be effective; they must also learn to judge whether to attempt a difficult catch and risk letting the ball get past them, or to instead allow the ball to fall in order to guarantee a swift play and prevent the advance of runners. Left fielders must also familiarize themselves with the varying configurations of different ballparks' foul territory, and prevent balls hit down the foul lines from getting past them into the left field corner. Amateur players may find it difficult to concentrate on the game, since they are so far from the action. Emphasizing the correct position will give outfield players something to concentrate on at each pitch. Hits to left field tend to curve toward the left field foul line, and left fielders must learn to adjust to that.
Of all outfielders, the left fielder often will have the weakest arm, as they generally do not need to throw the ball as far in order to prevent the advance of any baserunners. The left fielder still requires good fielding and catching skills, and tends to receive more balls than the right fielder due to the fact that right-handed hitters, who are much more common, tend to "pull" the ball into left field. The left fielder also backs up third base on pick-off attempts from the catcher or pitcher.
Because many early ballparks featured spacious territory in left field, with outfield fences particularly distant from home plate in order to prevent easy home runs, the phrase "out of left field" has come to be used in popular vernacular to describe any idea which seems wildly unrelated to the subject being discussed.
Here is a list of renowned left fielders who were inducted into the Hall of Fame (*), and/or were winners of the Gold Glove Award (GG). Currently active players are in bold type.
Other popular left fielders (currently active players in bold type) include:
|Outfielders:||Left field | Center field | Right field|
|Infielders:||3rd base | Shortstop | 2nd base | 1st base|