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. Later, the term evolved to indicate the combined effectiveness of pitcher and catcher.
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. They started 212 games together.
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.
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. 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. Battery mates Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte caught each other for 20 years from 1991 to 2011. Together they won five World Series Championships.
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).
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- Barra, Allen (2009). Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee. W. W. Norton. p. 269. ISBN 0393062333.
- "Yogi Berra's Pitchers". Catcher's Battery Mates. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
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- Grosshandler, Stan. "Pitcher's Choice". Research Journals Archive. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved October 20, 2012.