Academy Courses

Common Ways to Put Out a Runner

Retiring the Runner: [Official Rule 5.09(b)(4)]

  • Runner is tagged out by a fielder.

    Fielder touches a base on a force out [Official Rule 5.09(b)(6)]

    • Force plays are situations where a runner on base is required to advance to the next base because a batter became a runner (e.g. through a hit or base on balls). If a runner is on first and a batter hits a single, for instance, the runner is legally required to advance to second because the batter himself has become a runner.
    • Similarly, if there are runners on first and second, both must advance when the batter makes a play to advance to first himself. Thus, a “force out” is any play where a runner who is forced to advance fails to reach the next base before a fielder tags him or the base itself.
    • In short, force plays only occur when a runner has no choice other than to advance on the bases. Since stealing bases is not a “forced” action, throw outs on stolen base attempts require a tag on the actual runner, versus just the bag. Additionally, if a preceding runner who was forcing a runner to advance is put out, the force is no longer in effect.
  • Runner fails to return to first base after overrunning [Official Rule 5.09(c)(3)]
    • The batter-runner is required to return immediately to 1B after overrunning the base. It is a judgement call for the umpire to decide if the runner returned to 1B quickly enough to prevent the fielder from tagging him out.

Runner Out: [Little League Rule 7.08]

  • Runner goes outside his established base path [Official Rule 5.09(b)(1)]
    • The base path is the imaginary straight line between the runner and the base he is attempting to acquire during a tag attempt. There is a three-foot allowance on either side of this imaginary line, creating a six-foot lane for the runner to remain within while trying to avoid a tag and reach a base. If the runner deviates from his base path, he will be ruled out except in exceptional situations.
    • MUST KNOW: Except when avoiding a tag, baserunners are allowed to take whatever path they desire to advance or return to a base.

This runner moves out of the baseline to avoid a tag.

  • Runner misses a base
    • While advancing around the bases, the runner must touch all of the bases he passes in proper order. He may touch a base with any part of his body. If he fails to touch any of the bases, the defensive team can put him out by either tagging him or the base (continuous appeal). If time has been called the defensive team can put the ball back in play and then make an appeal to the umpire for the base he missed.
    • Note: Returning to a Base
      • The runner may return to touch a base that he missed but as he returns, he must touch each base in reverse order. If the ball is dead, the runner may return to a missed base only if he has not yet reached the next base. For example, if a batter hits a home run and misses first base during his home run trot, he may not return to touch first base once he touches second base. In this case, the defensive team can appeal and he will be called out.
    • MUST KNOW: A runner may no longer return to touch a base once the runner behind him touches home plate. For example, a runner crosses home but fails to touch home plate.  He then fails to go back and touch home plate before the runner behind him touches home plate. In this case the preceding runner may no longer attempt to touch home plate and he may be called out on appeal.

Retouching Bases While Ball is Dead: [Umpire Interpretation 29]

Runner Misses Home Plate: [Umpire Interpretation 27]

Insider Reports: Runner Out

Baseball’s Confusing Safe Sign 

This Insider Report discusses the “safe sign” by umpires. It is not always what you might think. What about the “No Touch, No Tag, No Call” that frequently occurs at the plate? Read this report for expert analysis.

Runner Misses Plate and Catcher Misses Tag

When should an umpire call “Time?” A crazy play at the plate happened when the Cubs and Rockies played at Coors Field August 19, 2016. Watch the video, read the analysis here in this insightful Insider Report.

Player Fails to Touch Home Plate after Hitting Home Run

Sometimes a celebration at home plate for a walk off home run can backfire if any of the runners fail to touch home plate. This Insider Report chronicles two cases where this happened in professional baseball in 2015. Great tips for managers and catchers are included, too.

Runners are permitted to advance when a batted fly ball (fair or foul) is caught for an out. The runner must touch or retouch his base any time after the ball is caught before advancing to the next base. If the runner fails to tag up or “leaves too early” he may be put out on appeal. The appeal can be a “continuous appeal” which is when the defensive fielder tags the runner or the vacated base before time is called. Or, the appeal can happen after time is called and the defensive team puts the ball back in play and tags the runner or touches the runner’s original base.

KNOW THIS: A catch is defined as the fielder having control of the ball and showing a voluntary release of the ball. But when tagging up on a fly ball, runners may advance as soon as the fielder touches the ball, even if the fielder bobbles the ball before gaining control of the ball. This prevents a smart fielder from intentionally bobbling the ball in an effort to keep the runner from tagging up.