Flycatcher (1883)

“Weihe, the great left fielder of the Shamrocks, yesterday signed a contract to play with the Cincinnatis next season. He is very nearly a sure fly catcher, a long thrower, and a very hard batter.” “Notes,” Cincinnati Enquirer, August 26, 1883, p2

NOTE: This is the earliest use of the term to refer specifically to an outfielder. There were several examples of box scores in the 1860s that listed “Fly Catchers” among the statistics. When these box scores named specific players under “Fly Catchers” they were almost never outfielders. The earliest of these (Monmouth Democrat (Freehold, NJ), March 29, 1866, p3) marked nine plays under “Fly Catchers”: six by the two catchers; two by the two pitchers; and one by a short stop.

An 1878 article in the Independence (KS) Kansan said that “The champion fly catcher of the game was Mr. Lassman,” but didn’t indicate his position.

Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
1887.  “If the ladies were asked to choose the cutest little center fly-catcher, Johnson would get all the votes.” (San Francisco Examiner, Aug. 14; Peter Morris).