Battery (baseball)

In baseball, the term battery refers collectively to the pitcher and the catcher, who may also be called batterymen[1] or batterymates of one another.

A baseball team's pitcher and catcher are referred to collectively as its 'battery'.


Henry Chadwick gave baseball jargon the term 'battery'.

The use of the word 'battery' in baseball was first coined by Henry Chadwick in the 1860s in reference to the firepower of a team's pitching staff and inspired by the artillery batteries then in use in the American Civil War.[2] Later, the term evolved to indicate the combined effectiveness of pitcher and catcher.[2]

Famous batteriesEdit

Frank Duncan Jr (pictured) and his son, Frank Duncan III of the 1941 Kansas City Monarchs are thought to have been the first professional father/son battery.

Some batteries are remarked upon as more than usually productive. Yogi Berra (catcher) and Whitey Ford (pitcher) were World-Series level players who were batterymates with the Yankees since Ford's rookie season in 1950.[3] They started 212 games together.[4][5]

In the early 20th century, some prominent pitchers were known to have picked their favorite catchers. Sportswriter Fred Lieb recalls the batteries of Christy Mathewson / Frank Bowerman beginning in 1899 with the New York Giants, Jack Coombs / Jack Lapp beginning in 1908 with the Philadelphia Athletics, Cy Young / Lou Criger gaining the greatest attention in 1901 with the Boston Americans (later the Red Sox), and Grover Cleveland Alexander / Bill Killefer beginning in 1911 with the Philadelphia Phillies.[6] Other successful batteries were Ed Walsh / Billy Sullivan beginning in 1904, along with Walter Johnson / Muddy Ruel and Dazzy Vance / Hank DeBerry both starting in 1923.[7][8][9]

Frank Duncan, Jr. and his son, Frank Duncan III, of the 1941 Kansas City Monarchs are thought to have been the first father-son battery in professional baseball history.[10][11]

In 1976, several major league pitchers chose their preferred catchers; a notion that had fallen out of practice for some decades. For instance, catcher Bob Boone of the Philadelphia Phillies, though one of the best catchers of his day, was replaced with Tim McCarver at the request of pitcher Steve Carlton. The Carlton/McCarver combination worked well in 32 out of Carlton's 35 games that season, plus one playoff game. The two had previously been batterymates for four years (1966-69) with the St. Louis Cardinals.[6] Another battery-by-choice was superstitious rookie pitcher Mark Fidrych who was new to the Detroit Tigers in 1976, insisting on rookie catcher Bruce Kimm behind the plate. The Fidrych/Kimm combination started all 29 of Fidrych's 1976 season games. The two continued as a battery through 1977.[6]

On July 13, 2014, pitcher Madison Bumgarner and catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants became MLB's first battery to hit grand slams in the same game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was Bumgarner's second grand slam of the season (April 11).[12]

The battery that appeared in the most games together was Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, with 598 games.[13]

Red Faber and Ray Schalk had the most total innings together (2553.2).[14]

Lefty Grove (ranked by Bill James as the second-greatest pitcher of all time)[15] and Mickey Cochran (ranked by James as the eighth-greatest catcher)[16] started 224 games together for the 1925-1933 Philadelphia Athletics.[17]

Most StartsEdit

The below table shows batterymates that have appeared in more than 200 starts together since 1914. [17] Last updated September 26, 2020. Bold indicates active teammates.

Games Started Pitcher Catcher Years Team
324 Mickey Lolich Bill Freehan 1963-1975 Detroit Tigers
316 Warren Spahn Del Crandall 1949-1963 Boston and Milwaukee Braves
306 Red Faber Ray Schalk 1914-1926 Chicago White Sox
289 Adam Wainwright Yadier Molina 2007-Present St. Louis Cardinals
283 Don Drysdale John Roseboro 1957-1967 Los Angeles Dodgers
282 Red Ruffing Bill Dickey 1930-1946 New York Yankees
270 Steve Rogers Gary Carter 1975-1984 Montreal Expos
264 Bob Lemon Jim Hegan 1946-1957 Cleveland Indians
250 Early Wynn Jim Hegan 1949-1957 Cleveland Indians
248 Tom Glavine Javy Lopez 1994-2002 Atlanta Braves
247 Lefty Gomez Bill Dickey 1931-1942 New York Yankees
240 Bob Feller Jim Hegan 1941-1956 Cleveland Indians
239 Fernando Valenzuela Mike Scioscia 1981-1990 Los Angeles Dodgers
237 Stan Coveleski Steve O'Neill 1916-1923 Cleveland Indians
237 Tom Seaver Jerry Grote 1967-1977 New York Mets
230 Lew Burdette Del Crandall 1953-1963 Milwaukee Braves
228 Steve Carlton Tim McCarver 1965-1969, 1972-1979 St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies
224 Lefty Grove Mickey Cochrane 1925-1933 Philadelphia Athletics
221 Paul Derringer Ernie Lombardi 1933-1941 Cincinnati Reds
212 Whitey Ford Yogi Berra 1950-1963 New York Yankees
208 Sandy Koufax John Roseboro 1957-1966 Los Angeles Dodgers
208 Mike Flanagan Rick Dempsey 1976-1986 Baltimore Orioles
207 Jack Morris Lance Parrish 1978-1986 Detroit Tigers
207 Cole Hamels Carlos Ruiz 2006-2015 Philadelphia Phillies
203 Rube Walberg Mickey Cochrane 1925-1933 Philadelphia Athletics
203 Billy Pierce Sherm Lollar 1952-1961 Chicago White Sox
202 Dave Stieb Ernie Whitt 1980-1989 Toronto Blue Jays

Sibling batteriesEdit

The following chart of major league sibling batteries lists pitcher/catcher siblings who played on the same major league team during a single major league season. The pair may or may not have performed as a battery in an actual major league game.[18]

Unique among those listed below are Mort and Walker Cooper, who formed the National League's starting battery at both the 1942 and 1943 MLB All-Star Games, and also appeared as a battery in the 1942, 1943, and 1944 World Series, the only sibling battery to achieve either feat.

There has not been another major league sibling battery since Larry and Norm Sherry of the 1962 Dodgers.
Team(s) Pitcher Catcher
1877 Boston Red Caps
1878 Cincinnati Reds
1879 Cincinnati Reds
Will White Deacon White
1884 Richmond Virginians Ed Dugan Bill Dugan
1885 Buffalo Bisons Pete Wood Fred Wood
1886 Baltimore Orioles Dick Conway Bill Conway
1890 New York Giants (PL)
1891 New York Giants
John Ewing Buck Ewing
1902 St. Louis Cardinals
1903 St. Louis Cardinals
Mike O'Neill Jack O'Neill
1912 New York Highlanders Tommy Thompson Homer Thompson
1914 Boston Braves Lefty Tyler Fred Tyler
1929 Boston Red Sox Milt Gaston Alex Gaston
1934 Boston Red Sox
1935 Boston Red Sox
1936 Boston Red Sox
1937 Boston Red Sox
1937 Washington Senators
1938 Washington Senators
Wes Ferrell Rick Ferrell
1940 St. Louis Cardinals
1941 St. Louis Cardinals
1942 St. Louis Cardinals
1943 St. Louis Cardinals
1944 St. Louis Cardinals
1945 St. Louis Cardinals
1947 New York Giants
Mort Cooper Walker Cooper
1941 Cincinnati Reds
1944 Cincinnati Reds
1945 Cincinnati Reds
1948 Pittsburgh Pirates
Elmer Riddle Johnny Riddle
1954 Philadelphia Athletics
1955 Kansas City Athletics
1960 New York Yankees
Bobby Shantz Billy Shantz
1959 Cincinnati Reds Jim Bailey Ed Bailey
1959 Los Angeles Dodgers
1960 Los Angeles Dodgers
1961 Los Angeles Dodgers
1962 Los Angeles Dodgers
Larry Sherry Norm Sherry

Further readingEdit

  • Long term battery combinations / 3,000 or more outs (1893–2017) at

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Battery (baseball) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  2. ^ a b Edward Gruver. "Koufax". Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-11-11.
  3. ^ Barra, Allen (2009). Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee. W. W. Norton. p. 269. ISBN 978-0393062335.
  4. ^ "Yogi Berra's Pitchers". Catcher's Battery Mates. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  5. ^ "Whitey Ford's Battery Mates". Catching Hall Of Fame Pitchers. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Grosshandler, Stan. "Pitcher's Choice". Research Journals Archive. Society for American Baseball Research. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  7. ^ * Billy Sullivan Sr. at the SABR Baseball Biography Project, by Trey Strecker, Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  8. ^ "Muddy Rule New York Times obituary at". Archived from the original on November 6, 2019. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  9. ^ "Hank DeBerry Dead". The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. 11 September 1951. p. 14. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  10. ^ Chris Landers (June 7, 2016). "The little-known but awesome story of professional baseball's first father-son battery". Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  11. ^ Ryan Whirty (February 11, 2016). "Seventy five years ago, father-son battery made baseball history with Kansas City Monarchs". Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  12. ^ Pavlovic, Alex. "Giants' battery of Bumgarner, Posey provide charge heading to All-Star break". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  13. ^ Dan Holmes (December 26, 2018). "The greatest batteries in baseball history". Baseball Egg. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  14. ^ Kevin Johnson (April 24, 2018). "Long-Term Battery Combinations". Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  15. ^ David Schoenfield (December 13, 2012). "Hall of 100: Best pitcher of all time". ESPN. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  16. ^ Bill James (December 14, 2017). "Catchers of the Last 40 years". Bill James Online. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Doug (January 28, 2016). "200 Game Batteries". High Heat Stats. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
  18. ^ Larry Amman and L. Robert Davids. "Baseball Brothers". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved January 9, 2020.