Baseball Player  What They Do

Just the Facts


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dotProfessional basebal is a famously old-fashioned sport. The origins of baseball date back over 200 years.

For a baseball player, nothing beats the adrenaline rush of hitting a fastball out of the park, jumping over the fencel to catch a hit that looked like a home run or striking out a batter in the bottom of the ninth.

But as exciting as baseball is, it's also hard work. Baseball players deal with weekend and evening work, lots of travel and a great deal of physical stress. If you're playing pro ball, you also have to deal with fame. And there is always training -- players have to be in top physical condition.

dotJustine Siegal is the founder and executive director of a Massachusetts-based organization that offers baseball instruction for men and women. She says the duties of a baseball player go far beyond just throwing or hitting the ball.

"A professional baseball player's job is to perform," she explains. "The player must succeed on the field. After performance, the player's job is to be an ambassador for their team. This includes appearing at community events, signing autographs and speaking responsibly to the media."

Siegal says that although it's not always the case, having a personality that makes your teammates like and respect you goes a long way when playing ball. But what it comes down to is how well you play.

"It helps when a pro baseball player is also a good teammate, someone the other players respect," she says. "The difference between an amateur baseball player and a pro player is that it's the pro player's job to perform on the field. If she does not perform, they are likely out of a job. There is always someone trying to replace you."

dotThe truth of the matter is that it's hard to become a professional baseball player in the first place. Countless kids would like to be a professional ball player, but only a few of those succeed.

"All kids dream of pursuing a career in professional sports and, as we know, there are not many that make it," says Robin Tolhurst. Tolhurst is operations manager of a baseball camp.. "Baseball is no different; however, Canadians have been doing quite well in being drafted to professional baseball."

Tolhurst adds that in the 2010 baseball draft, almost 2,000 players were drafted and offered jobs in baseball. So it does happen!

dotProfessional baseball players play in either the major or minor leagues. The major leagues tend to most of the attention. But the minor leagues feature many talented players.

It is common for major league players to start their careers in the minor leagues.The minor leagues are separated into single-A, double-A, and triple-A baseball.

A baseball team has nine active players -- players who are participating in the game. There are up to 15 more players waiting on the bench to get in the game. On the team there are numerous positions including outfielders, infielders, a pitcher and a catcher.

There are careers in baseball that don't involve signing a contract for the big leagues. You can be a coach or an umpire at a minor league level. You can work for a baseball magazine. You can sell refreshments at baseball games, work as a baseball statistician or announce games for the local baseball team. There are lots of possibilities.

dotThere are no female players in the major leagues. However, there are baseball leagues just for women.

One thing that often confuses people is the difference between softball and baseball. There is a misconception that softball is a sport for females only. But men and women play softball -- and baseball.

"In actuality, baseball and softball are completely different sports with different rules, field dimensions, regulations, etc." says Ashley Bratcher. Bratcher is the director of a national women's baseball team. "Unfortunately, until awareness efforts are made, the 12-year-old female baseball player is not necessarily going to be aware that she has the option to continue with baseball rather than switch to softball."

At a Glance

Hit the ball, catch the ball, throw the ball

  • Most ball players are male
  • Talent, determination and luck are required
  • Athletic scholarships do require players to maintain a good average