By adding a "break" in the catcher’s glove back in 1969, Randy Hundley and Johnny Bench changed everything. Now catching is a one-handed position, just like first base.
Back in the 70s
This quantum leap in equipment design allowed post-1970 catchers to safely maximize their athletic abilities. The old glove required two hands to catch, which pulled the upper body out of alignment (athleticism) and opened one up to serious finger injuries.
With the modern glove, we’re safer because the bare hand isn’t involved in receiving the ball. Plus the upper body can stay "stacked" and more upright when the arms can work independently of one another.
So, in a non-throwing/non-blocking situation, keep the bare hand behind the body, protected and out of the way.
Keeping Hand and Glove Separate
And even if you choose to have the bare hand out in front of the body in a throwing/blocking situation, make sure it doesn’t follow the glove out to receive the ball. It’s only there to aid with transition and works independently from the glove.
There are two exceptions to this rule. Try to use two hands when you’re catching a pop fly and when you’re tagging a runner out.
Brent Mayne is a 15-year veteran of the Major Leagues. He ranks 75th in the history of baseball with 1,143 pro games caught, and his .993 career fielding percentage is 4th all-time. Brent is the author of the book "The Art of Catching"--a comprehensive guide to teaching and building defensive catching skills.