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Beyond the Fences

Ballhawk vs. Ball Snagger

It's been written about in our MLBlogs, it's been talked about on TV and Radio and I am now going to stir it up here as well: Ballhawk vs. Ball Snagger, what's the difference?

If you look up the definition of Ballhawk online you will find that most of the definitions say a skilled outfielder or one skilled in catching a ball. There is one definition that goes as far as saying that a ballhawk is an athlete who is skilled at stealing or catching a ball.

So who is a Ballhawk and who is a Ball Snagger? Well you can use 2 examples here, I see myself as a Ballhawk. I have actually caught or chased down 65-70% of the baseballs that I have grabbed over the past 30+ years. Then you have self proclaimed King of the Ball Hawks, and someone I call a friend, Zack Hample who is actually more of a Ball Snagger. Zack is great at getting players to throw balls to him as well as using the Glove Trick to get 65-70% of his baseballs. Although as many see the glove trick or cup trick as stealing then that might include those that use devices in the Ballhawk category.

Is there anything wrong with the way that either of us get our baseballs? Of course not, to each his own, but the baseball Ballhawk purists will say that Zack is a Ball Snagger and not a Ballhawk. To me, personally, I see Zack as both . Zack is the KING of the Ball Snaggers and probably somewhere in the top 30 in the Ballhawk classification.

Factors in classifying Ballhawks and Ball Snaggers would be the ratio of balls caught / chased down vs. balls thrown to someone by players or snagged with devices used. For myself it is about 2.75 to 1 balls caught/chased down to balls thrown. On the other side for many Ball Snaggers it is 4 to 1 or more the other way. The majority of Ballhawks are all about the game home runs. Even with my 100 game home runs caught and almost 3000 balls caught during regular season games I know that there are others with more.

What we need to remember is that the Ballhawk originated in Chicago on Waveland Avenue where the only way of getting a ball is by catching or chasing it down. Whether you catch the baseballs, chase them down, beg for them or even use a device the bottom line is that we are all having fun! What is even more exciting, is that Ballhawking / Ball Snagging is on the map and people know who many of us are! In a way we to are sports celebrities, as crazy as that sounds it is more than just our 15 minutes!

Don't forget to check out the Forum and read about what I hope is the 1st Annual Ballhawk Winter Meetings. I guess I need to make that the Ball hawk / Ball Snagger Winter Meetings ;-)

Go Phillies!!

- The photo shown is courtesy of Zack Hample -

John Witt is a contributing columnist to and also maintains a Blog.

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