field pitcher n [field + OED3 pitcher n.2 1.a “A person who pitches hay or sheaves on to a cart, wagon, or rick”; 1336→] esp N Cent, Plains States Cf spike pitcher n, DCan
A member of a threshing crew who loads sheaves onto wagons in the field.
1894 Logansport Daily Reporter (IN) 23 Aug /3 (newspaperarchive.com), While threshing at James Arrasmith’s the field pitchers found twenty-five or thirty good sized rocks hidden in the sheaves, evidently put there with the intention of ruining the machine or killing somebody or both. 1911 IA Homestead 2 Mar 36/1, [Advt:] The Hart-Brown Wing Carrier saves 2 to 4 pitchers in stack and barn threshing. In shock threshing it also saves the field pitchers and half the bundle wagons if used with our Thresher Rack. [1920 Atchison Daily Globe (KS) 16 July 2/2, L.L. Madden is now with a threshing crew near Enid, Okla. The thresher furnishes ten bundle wagons, five pitchers in the field, two spike pitchers, one man to clean up around the machine and boards the crew.] 1922 Youth’s Companion 96.377, A field pitcher grinds his heel into the stubble, spits on his palms and, forking a stook deftly through the middle, lifts five sheaves at once into a rack. 1924 Decatur Daily Rev. (IL) 26 July /1 (newspaperarchive.com), Farmers can save close to one-fifth of all the labor connected with threshing by using basket racks to haul the grain from the field, thereby doing away with the extra men usually needed in the field to pitch the bundles. . . Threshing was done at the same rate on farms where the field pitchers were used and on those where the basket racks were used. 1931 Greeley Daily Tribune & Greeley Republican (CO) 4 Aug 2/7, Wages fixed by the association for the year are: field pitchers, $2. 1941 Dunkirk Eve. Observer (NY) 22 Aug 17/5, S.G. Washburn, Goodwin, S.D., farmer, has invented a machine designed to eliminate threshing crew field pitchers. 1963 in 2008 (acc) Steam Traction Archive (Internet) MT, The crew consisted of 14 on bundle wagons, 7 field pitchers, 2 spike pitchers, a man to haul water for the engine and horses, a separator man and myself as the engineer.