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Why Catchers Wear Nail Polish in Baseball | Helpful Benefits

Why Catchers Wear Nail Polish in Baseball | Helpful Benefits

Have you ever wondered Why Catchers Wear Nail Polish in Baseball? If so, then this blog post is for you! We will discuss the history of catchers and how it evolved over time.

Baseball catchers wear nail polish to make it easier for pitchers and themselves to communicate. Different colors signify different pitches, so the catcher can hold up a colored finger before each pitch. This helps keep everyone on the same page about what’s coming next.

Pitchers are always trying to get an edge over hitters, but sometimes they’re the ones being tricked. So that’s why catchers wear nail polish to help them signal to the pitcher what kind of pitch they’re about to throw.

Why do catchers wear nail polish?

By wearing colored nail polish, MLB catchers are allowed to communicate with their pitchers without having all the fans get distracted by what they’re saying. It’s an easy-to-see way for them to communicate using sign language through a pitcher’s viewfinder without causing too much of a problem.

Catchers will normally use red or blue colors since that’s the easiest color to see from behind home plate at night games, but it used to be indelible ink until ballparks became concerned about excessive dirt and sweat getting stuck in players gloves mid game.  

How does it help communication?

The main reason why catchers wear nail polish is to communicate with their pitchers without having the fans see what they’re saying.

By putting red or blue colors on their fingers, catchers are able to use sign language through the pitcher’s viewfinder without causing too many problems for people in the park.

How long has it been a tradition?

The first catcher to pick up the habit was Yankees catcher Yogi Berra who, according to legend, had his nails painted so he could tell teammate Whitey Ford which pitch he wanted him to throw next.

Some players will also wear colored fingernails if they’re free swinging hitters, but most of them don’t go overboard by using more than one color due to concerns over distractions from crowds at night games.

Isn’t it illegal for a player to use anything foreign that might assist them in the game?

While it is illegal to use foreign substances that might assist players in gripping or discoloring the baseball, catcher’s gloves are allowed. So while there isn’t anything specifically against nail polish, several MLB catchers admit to having stopped using it because of how fans reacted.

Why Catchers Wear Nail Polish in Baseball?

Since the catcher is closest to home plate, his hands have to be visible enough for him to show which pitch he wants next. By putting on red or blue nail polish, the catcher can use sign language without having it be seen by fans in the park due to limited visibility at night games.

Who else wears nail polish?

In addition to the vast majority of MLB catchers, a few other notable players have donned various colors on their fingernails over the years including Joe Torre, Jason Giambi and Kevin Youkilis.

Also San Diego Padres’ catcher Yasmani Grandal was seen wearing blue-colored nails during a game in June 2014 as he went 3-for-5 with an RBI.

Why does it work?

Catchers will usually put a colored nail on their glove hand index finger, which is the easiest to see from behind home plate. By putting a different color dot on each finger, the catcher can hold up high and wave his fingers in order to tell the pitcher what pitch he wants next.

It might not be as efficient with most MLB catchers using sign language with their fingers since they’re so close together behind home plate, but it’s helpful when playing against another team with foreign players who don’t speak your language.

Benefits of Nail Polish

The benefits of wearing bright colors like blue or red are that people sitting in the stands will be able to see your hands easier when you’re signaling for pitches.

This is especially helpful for night games when the lighting is poor and you need to make sure your fingers are visible from a distance.

Why aren’t all colors used?

The primary color that catchers wear on their index finger is red since it’s the easiest color to see from behind home plate. Usually, most players will also put a colored nail on their glove hand pinky finger as well if they’re free swinging hitters, but other than that players don’t usually use any of the other fingernails for brightly-colored polish.

If a catcher uses too many different colors or puts a distracting amount of nail paint on his fingers, he could face an ejection from the game. So while it can be helpful during night games in certain stadiums, the custom isn’t allowed to go too overboard in order to avoid any distractions.

Aside from nail polish what else can they use??

Though today’s catchers don’t use ink, some still opt for the old-fashioned way and paint their fingertips with a small dot of color. Others prefer adhesive stickers that can be purchased at any sporting goods store.

How many colors do they have to choose from?

There are no rules or limits when it comes to choosing colors, but some teams and players stick to tradition and choose red and blue. Other players like Francisco Cervelli of the New York Yankees prefer black while others like Yan Gomes of the Cleveland Indians go all white so there is no tip color at all.

Why does it matter? What if catchers didn’t wear nail polish?

It would be nearly impossible for pitchers to know what sort of pitch they were about to throw. Furthermore, catchers would have a harder time knowing what sort of pitches are being called.

The best catchers in baseball can use their hands to communicate with the pitcher and change up pitches without even saying a word. Without any method of communication, it would be nearly impossible for teams to perform at such high levels consistently so nail polish is an essential part of the game!

How does this affect other players? If you don’t wear nail polish what happens?

Even outfielders and players at other positions will find colors to use depending on the stadium they’re playing in so that their teammates can see where they want the ball thrown. If an outfielder is trying to show a teammate which direction he wants his throw, it’s much easier if he has color on his glove or hand.

If a player doesn’t wear any colored nail polish on his fingers, however, it could make him look unprepared or amateurish to those watching from home and would earn him scoffs from opposing players as well. It’s an unwritten rule that most professional baseball teams will follow by default even if they’re not required by MLB rules.

Why do you think it became so important for catchers to wear nail polish?

I think it became important because pitchers can’t call their own pitches. So without catchers wearing nail polish or putting stickers on their fingers the pitcher would be at a loss as well as the catcher.

What else do they need to know about baseball players and nail polish?

Catchers aren’t the only players who use different colors of nail polish during games! The Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays all have players that use colored nails while playing ball. Even infielder Dee Gordon from the Miami Marlins has been spotted with colored nails.

Why should they learn about it?

Proper indexing is necessary for any catcher to succeed in their role. This small bit of knowledge, especially if you are a catcher yourself, can take your game to the next level.

Pitcher to Catcher Communication

Even though a catcher is responsible for catching the ball, they also need to know what type of pitch will be thrown next. This allows them to signal to the pitcher where they want it placed to best catch the batter off balance .

To communicate with pitchers, catchers use hand signals. The colors on their fingertips come into play when they hold up the same color before each pitch.

Why do you think other MLB players use nail polish?

I believe that the other players either started to use it because they saw catchers using it, or they may have seen other high-level ballplayers wearing it and decided to give it a try.

The first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals carries around an emery board so he can keep his nails at a nice length between games. That makes sense because if one forgets their glove at home before game time, they are left without having anyone to cover their base.


It has become an unwritten rule in professional baseball for players to use some sort of nail polish, and it’s a tradition that is followed by many teams. Even if you’re not a catcher, it’s important to know about this so you don’t look unprepared or amateurish on the field. There are many other MLB players who use nail polish as well, so it’s something that all players should be aware of.

Why Catchers Wear Nail Polish in Baseball | Helpful Benefits