Official Rules(view all)

1.00 Objectives of the Game

1.01 – Little League Baseball in all divisions is a game between two teams of nine players each, under the direction of a manager and not more than two rostered coaches, played on a regulation Little League field in accordance with these rules, under the jurisdiction of one or more umpires. Tee Ball/ Minor League Instructional Division is a game between two teams, under the direction of a manager and not more than two coaches, played on a regulation Little League field in accordance with these rules, under the jurisdiction of one or more umpires. NOTE: Competitive Minor Leagues and above may only use nine players on defense. See Rules 4.16 and 4.17.

1.02 – The objective of each team is to win by scoring more runs than the opponent. (Tee Ball: It is recommended that no score be kept.)

1.03 – The winner of the game shall be that team which shall have scored, in accordance with these rules, the greater number of runs at the conclusion of a regulation game.

1.04THE PLAYING FIELD. The field shall be laid out according to the instructions, supplemented by Diagrams No. 1 and No. 2 (Diagrams No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 for Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior/ Big League).

The infield shall be a 60-foot square for Little League (Major) division and below. For Intermediate (50-70) Division, the infield shall be a 70-foot square. For Junior/ Senior/ Big League, the infield shall be a 90-foot square. (Tee Ball option: The infield may be a 50-foot square.)

The outfield shall be the area between two foul lines formed by extending two sides of the square, as in Diagram 1. The distance from home base to the nearest fence, stand, or other obstruction on fair territory should be 200 feet or more (200 feet or more for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 300 feet or more for Junior/ Senior/ Big League. A distance of 200 feet or more (200 feet or more for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 300 feet or more for Junior/ Senior/ Big League along the foul lines and to center field is recommended. The infield shall be graded so that the base lines and home plate are level.

The pitcher’s plate shall be six inches (eight inches for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 10 inches for Junior/ Senior/ Big League) above the level of home plate. The infield and outfield, including the boundary lines, are fair territory and all other area is foul territory.

It is desirable that the line from home base through the pitcher’s plate to second base shall run east-northeast.

It is recommended that the distance from home base to the backstop, and from the base lines to the nearest fence, stand, or other obstruction on foul territory should be 25 feet or more (45 feet or more for Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior/ Big League).

 

See Diagrams.

ll-diagram-no-1

When the location of home base is determined, with a steel tape measure 84 feet, 10 inches (99 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 127 feet, 3 3/ 8 inches for Junior/ Senior/ Big League) in the desired direction to establish second base. From home base, measure 60 feet (70 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 90 feet for Junior/ Senior/ Big League) towards first base; from second base, measure 60 feet (70 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 90 feet for Junior/ Senior/ Big League) towards first base, the intersection of these lines establishes first base. From home base, measure 60 feet (70 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 90 feet for Junior/ Senior/ Big League) towards third base; from second base, measure 60 feet (70 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 90 feet for Junior/ Senior/ Big League) towards third base, the intersection of these lines establishes third base. The distance between first base and third base is 84 feet, 10 inches (99 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 127 feet, 3 3/ 8 inches for Junior/ Senior/ Big League). All measurements from home base shall be taken from the point where the first and third base lines intersect. (Base paths of 80 feet are optional for Junior League regular season play only.)

The catcher’s box, the batter’s box, the base coaches boxes, and the three-foot runner’s lane shall be laid out as shown in Diagrams.

The catcher’s box extends approximately 6 feet 4-3/ 4 inches to the rear of home plate. It is determined by extending each foul line 9 feet beyond the back point of home plate. Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior/ Big League: The rear line of the catcher’s box is 8 feet directly back from the point of home plate. It extends forward to the rear line of the batter’s box. It is 3 feet 7 inches wide.

The batter’s box shall be rectangular, 6 feet by 3 feet (6 feet by 4 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior/ Big League). The inside line, if used, shall be parallel to and 4 inches (6 inches for Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior/ Big League) away from the side of home plate. It shall extend forward from the center of home plate 3 feet and to the rear 3 feet.

The base coaches boxes shall be 4 feet by 8 feet (10 feet by 20 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior/ Big League) and shall not be closer than 6 feet (10 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior/ Big League) from the foul lines.

The foul lines and all other playing lines indicated in the diagrams by solid black lines shall be marked with chalk or other white material. Caustic lime must not be used.

The grass lines and dimensions shown on the diagrams are those used in many fields, but they are not mandatory. Each league shall determine the size and shape of the grassed and bare areas of its playing field.

1.05 – Home base shall be marked by a five-sided slab of whitened rubber. It shall be a 17-inch square with two of the corners filled in so that one edge is 17 inches long, two 8-1/ 2 inches, and two are 12 inches. It shall be set in the ground with the point at the intersection of the lines extending from home base to first base and to third base; with the 17-inch edge facing the pitcher’s plate and the two 12-inch edges coinciding with the first and third base lines. The top edges of home base shall be beveled and the base shall be fixed in the ground level with the ground surface. The black beveled edge is not considered part of home plate.

1.06 – First, second, and third bases shall be marked by white canvas or rubber covered bags, securely attached to the ground. The first and third base bags shall be entirely within the infield. The second base bag shall be centered on second base. The base bags shall not be less than fourteen (14) nor more than fifteen (15) inches square and the outer edges shall not be more than two and one-fourth (2 ¼) inches thick and filled with a soft material. Leagues are required to ensure that first, second, and third bases will disengage their anchor.

NOTE 1: If a base is dislodged from its position during a play, any following runner on the same play shall be considered as touching or occupying the base if, in the umpire’s judgment, that runner touches or occupies the dislodged bag or the point marked by the original location of the dislodged bag.

NOTE 2: Use of the “Double First Base” is permissible at all levels of play. See Rule 7.15.

1.07 – The pitcher’s plate shall be a rectangular slab of whitened rubber 18 inches by 4 inches [24 inches by 6 inches for Intermediate (50-70) Division/ Junior/ Senior/ Big League]. It shall be set in the ground as shown in the Diagrams, so that the distance between the front side of the pitcher’s plate and home base (the rear point of home plate) shall be 46 feet [50 feet for Intermediate (50-70) Division and 60 feet, 6 inches for Junior/ Senior/ Big League];

NOTE: 54 feet pitching distance is optional for Junior League regular season only.

1.08 – The league shall furnish players’ benches, one each for the home and visiting teams. Such benches should not be less than 25 feet from the base lines. They shall be protected by wire fencing.

NOTE 1: The on-deck position is not permitted in Little League (Major) Division and below.

A.R.— Fenced-in areas MAY NOT be used for an on-deck batter.

NOTE 2: Only the first batter of each half-inning will be permitted outside the dugout between half-innings in Little League (Major) Division and below.

A.R.— The next batter should be ready with a helmet on, but may not pick up a bat until it is his/ her turn at bat.

1.09 – The ball used must meet Little League specifications and standards. It shall weigh not less than five (5) nor more than five and one-fourth (5-1/ 4) ounces, and measure not less than nine (9) nor more than nine and one-fourth (9-1/ 4) inches in circumference. (Tee Ball: The ball may carry the words “Little League Tee Ball.”)

NOTE: Baseballs licensed by Little League will be printed with one of two designations: “RS” (for regular season play) or “RS-T” (for regular season and tournament play).

1.10 – The bat must be a baseball bat which meets Little League specifications and standards as noted in this rule. It shall be a smooth, rounded stick, and made of wood or of material and color tested and proved acceptable to Little League standards.

Little League (Major) and below: it shall not be more than thirty-three (33) inches in length nor more than two and one-quarter (2 ¼) inches in diameter. Non-wood bats shall be labeled with a BPF (bat performance factor) of 1.15 or less.

EXCEPTION: Little League (Major) and below, for regular season play and Tournament, composite barrel bats are prohibited unless approved by Little League International. A list of approved and licensed composite barrel bats can be found on the Little League website at www.LittleLeague.org/ batlist.

Intermediate (50-70) Division and Junior League: it shall not be more than 34 inches in length; nor more than 2-5/ 8 inches in diameter, and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/ 16) inches in diameter (7/ 8 inch for bats less than 30″) at its smallest part. All composite barrel bats shall meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be so labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. The certification mark shall be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side, and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color. If a 2 ¼ barrel bat has no composite materials in the barrel, it may be used provided it is labeled with a BPF (bat performance factor) of 1.15 or less. (NOTE: Solid wooded barrel bats do not require a BPF label.)

NOTE: Beginning with the 2018 season, non-wood and laminated bats used in the Little League (league age 12 and below), Intermediate (50-70) Division, and Junior League shall bear the USA Baseball logo signifying that the bat meets the USA Baseball Performance Standard. All BPF – 1.15 bats will be prohibited beginning with the 2018 season. Additionally, starting in 2018, the bat diameter shall not exceed 2 5/8 for these divisions of play.

Senior/Big League: it shall not be more than 36 inches in length, no more than 2-5/8 inches in diameter. and if wood, not less than fifteen-sixteenths (15/16) inches in diameter (7/8 inch for bats less than 30″) at its smallest part. The bat shall not weigh, numerically, more than three ounces less than the length of the bat (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot weigh less than 30 ounces). All bats not made of a single piece of wood shall meet the Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution (BBCOR) performance standard, and such bats shall be so labeled with a silkscreen or other permanent certification mark. The certification mark shall be rectangular, a minimum of a half-inch on each side and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color. Aluminum/alloy and composite bats shall be marked as to their material makeup being aluminum/alloy or composite. This marking shall be silkscreen or other permanent certification mark, a minimum of one-half inch on each side, and located on the barrel of the bat in any contrasting color.

In all divisions, wood bats may be taped or fitted with a sleeve for a distance not exceeding sixteen (16) inches (18 inches for Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League) from the small end. A non-wood bat must have a grip of cork, tape, or composition material, and must extend a minimum of 10 inches from the small end. Slippery tape or similar material is prohibited.

NOTE 1: Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League: The 2 3/4 inch in diameter bat is not allowed in any division.

NOTE 2: The traditional batting donut is not permissible.

NOTE 3: The bat may carry the mark “Little League Tee Ball.”

NOTE 4: Non-wood bats may develop dents from time to time. Bats that have cracks or sharp edges, or that cannot pass through the approved Little League bat ring for the appropriate division must be removed from play. The 2 1/4 inch bat ring must be used for bats in the Little League (Major) Division and below. The 2-5/8 inch bat ring must be used for bats in the Intermediate (50-70) Division, Junior, Senior, and Big League divisions of baseball.

NOTE 5: An illegal bat must be removed. Any bat that has been altered shall be removed from play. Penalty – see Rule – 6.06(d).

A.R. – If the certification mark/s on a bat are not legible, that bat cannot be used and shall be removed from the game.

1.11

(a)(1) All players on a team shall wear numbered uniforms identical in color, trim, and style.

(2) The Little League Official Shoulder Patch must be affixed to the upper left sleeve of the uniform blouse. Patches are worn 3″ below the left shoulder seam on raglan sleeve; 1″ below the seam on set-in sleeve; over the left breast on sleeveless style.

(3) Any part of the pitcher’s undershirt or T-short exposed to view shall be of a solid color. The pitcher’s undershirt sleeves, if exposed, shall not be white or gray. Neoprene sleeves, if worn by a pitcher, must be covered by an undershirt. NOTE: A pitcher shall not wear any items on his/her hands, wrists, or arms which may be distracting to the batter, e.g. sweat bands.

(b) A league must provide each team with a distinctive uniform. Uniforms are the property of the league. Tee Ball and Minor League: T-shirts and caps are recommended, but hand-me-down uniforms may be worn.

(c) Sleeve lengths may vary for individual players, but the sleeves of each individual shall be approximately the same length. No player shall wear ragged, frayed, or slit sleeves.

(d) No players shall attach to a uniform tape or other material of a different color than the uniform.

(e) No part of the uniform shall include a pattern that imitates or suggests the shape of a baseball.

(f) Glass buttons and polished metal shall not be used on a uniform.

(g) No player shall attach anything to the heel or toe of the show other than a toe plate.

(h) Shoes with metal spikes or cleats are not permitted. Shoes with molded cleats are permissible. [Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League: shoes with metal spikes or cleats are permitted.]

A.R. – Little League (Majors) and below: Removable spikes or cleats are permitted if, when removed, no metal remains exposed.

(i) Managers and coaches must not wear conventional baseball uniforms or shoes with metal spikes but may wear cap, slacks, and shirt. [Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League: Managers and coaches may wear conventional baseball uniforms or cap, slacks, and shirts. They may not wear shoes with metal spikes.]

(j) Players must not wear jewelry such as, but not limited to, rings, watches, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, nor any hard cosmetic/decorative items. This rule applies regardless of the composition of such jewelry, hard cosmetic item, or hard decorative item. (EXCEPTION: Jewelry that alerts medical personnel to a specific condition is permissible.)

(k) Casts may not be worn during the game by players and umpires.

NOTE: Persons wearing casts, including managers and coaches, must remain in the dugout during the game.

1.12 – The catcher must wear a catcher’s mitt (not a first baseman’s mitt or fielder’s glove) of any shape, size, or weight consistent with protecting the hand.

1.13 – The first baseman must wear a glove or mitt of any weight with the following maximum specifications:

(a) not more than 14 inches long (measured from the bottom edge or heel straight up across the center of the palm to a line even with the highest point of the glove or mitt), and;

(c) webbing not more than 5 3/4 inches wide (measured across the top end or along any line parallel to the top). See Diagram No. 6.

1.14 – Each defensive player (other than the first baseman and catcher) must wear a glove of any weight, with the same maximum specifications as noted in Rule 1.13.

1.15

(a) The pitcher’s glove may not, exclusive of the piping, be white or light gray, nor, in the judgment of an umpire, distracting in any manner.

(b) No pitcher shall attach to the glove any foreign material of a color different from the glove. The pitcher may wear a batting glove on the non-pitching hand under the pitcher’s glove provided the batting glove is not white, gray, or optic yellow.

1.16 – Each league shall provide in the dugout or bench of the offensive team six (6) [seven (7) for Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League] protective helmets which must meet NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) specifications and standards. Use of the helmet by the batter, all base runners, and base coaches is mandatory. Use of a helmet by an adult base coach or any defensive player is optional. Each helmet shall have an exterior warning label. Helmets must have a non-glare surface and cannot be mirror-like in nature. The helmets provided by each league must meet NOCSAE specifications and bear the NOCSAE stamp as well as an exterior warning label as noted above. Warning! Manufacturers have advised that altering helmets in any way can be dangerous. Altering the helmet in any form, including painting or adding decals (by anyone other than the manufacturer or authorized dealer) may void the helmet warranty. Helmets may not be re-painted and may not contain tape or re-applied decals unless approved in writing by the helmet manufacturer or authorized dealer.

A.R. – If a player, during play, removes his/her helmet or causes his/her helmet to come off, he/shall shall NOT be called out, but shall be warned not to intentionally remove his/her helmet and, if it continues, the player may be removed for unsportsmanlike conduct, as this can cause an unsafe condition.

1.17 – All male players must wear athletic supporters. Male catchers must wear the metal, fibre, or plastic type cup, and approved long or short-model chest protector. Female catchers must wear long or short model chest protectors. All catchers must wear chest protectors with neck collar, throat guard, shin guards, and catcher’s helmet, all of which must meet Little League specifications and standards. The catcher’s helmet must meet NOCSAE specifications and standards, and bear the NOCSAE stamp. All catchers must wear a mask, “dangling” type throat protector, and catcher’s helmet during infield/outfield practice, pitcher warm-up, and games. NOTE: Skull caps are not permitted. Warning! Manufacturers have advised that altering helmets in any way can be dangerous. Altering the helmet in any form, including painting or adding decals (by anyone other than the manufacturer or authorized dealer) may void the helmet warranty. Helmets may not be re-painted and may not contain tape or re-applied decals unless approved in writing by the helmet manufacturer or authorized dealer.

A.R. – Wearing of a catcher’s helmet with mask and dangling throat guard (even if the mask has a wire extension) is required during games, pitcher warm-up, and any form of infield/outfield practice. The “Hockey Style” helmet is authorized for use at all levels of play. The “dangling” throat guard still must be attached properly.