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The platoon system in baseball is a method of designating two players to a single defensive position—usually one right-handed and one left-handed. Typically the right-handed half of the platoon is played on days when the opposing pitcher is left-handed and the left-handed player is played otherwise. The theory behind this is that generally players hit better against their opposite-handed counterparts, and that in some cases the difference is extreme enough to warrant complementing the player with one of opposite-handedness.
Platoons can also be organized along other axis, for example, splitting games between home run hitters and speedy contact hitters as the park dictates. In a sense, late-inning defensive replacements are a form of complex platooning.
Managers well known for platooning include Earl Weaver, Tris Speaker, and Casey Stengel. The players involved in platoons are typically journeymen—players not considered so valuable in any sense that they must be played every day, though if well complemented, they can be very effective.
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