Official Rules(view all)

5.09 (a) (6.05) Retiring the Batter

5.09 (a) (6.05) Retiring the Batter

A batter is out when:

(1) His fair or foul fly ball (other than a foul tip) is legally caught by a fielder;

Rule 5.09(a)(1) Comment (Rule 6.05(a) Comment): A fielder may reach into, but not step into, a dugout to make a catch, and if he holds the ball, the catch shall be allowed. A fielder, in order to make a catch on a foul ball nearing a dugout or other out-of-play area (such as the stands), must have one or both feet on or over the playing surface (including the lip of the dugout) and neither foot on the ground inside the dugout or in any other out-of-play area. Ball is in play, unless the fielder, after making a legal catch, steps or falls into a dugout or other out-of-play area, in which case the ball is dead. Status of run- ners shall be as described in Rule 5.06(b)(3)(C) Comment (Rule 7.04(c) Comment).

A catch is the act of a fielder in getting secure possession in his hand or glove of a ball in flight and firmly holding it; providing he does not use his cap, protector, pocket or any other part of his uniform in getting possession. It is not a catch, however, if simultaneously or immediately following his contact with the ball, he collides with a player, or with a wall, or if he falls down, and as a result of such collision or falling, drops the ball. It is not a catch if a fielder touches a fly ball which then hits a member of the offensive team or an umpire and then is caught by another defensive player. In establishing the validity of the catch, the fielder shall hold the ball long enough to prove that he has complete control of the ball and that his release of the ball is voluntary and intentional. If the fielder has made the catch and drops the ball while in the act of making a throw following the catch, the ball shall be adjudged to have been caught.

Catch Comment: A catch is legal if the ball is finally held by any fielder, even though juggled, or held by another fielder before it touches the ground. Runners may leave their bases the instant the first fielder touches the ball. A fielder may reach over a fence, railing, rope or other line of demarcation to make a catch. He may jump on top of a railing, or canvas that may be in foul ground. No interference should be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk.

If a fielder, attempting a catch at the edge of the dugout, is “held up” and kept from an apparent fall by a player or players of either team and the catch is made, it shall be allowed.

(2) A third strike is legally caught by the catcher;

Rule 5.09(a)(2) Comment (Rule 6.05(b) Comment): “Legally caught” means in the catcher’s glove before the ball touches the ground. It is not legal if the ball lodges in his clothing or paraphernalia; or if it touches the umpire and is caught by the catcher on the rebound.

If a foul tip first strikes the catcher’s glove and then goes on through and is caught by both hands against his body or protector, before the ball touches the ground, it is a strike, and if third strike, batter is out. If smothered against his body or protector, it is a catch provided the ball struck the catcher’s glove or hand first.

(3)  A third strike is not caught by the catcher when first base is occupied before two are out;

(4)  He bunts foul on third strike;

(5)  An Infield Fly is declared;

(6)  He attempts to hit a third strike and the ball touches him;

(7)  His fair ball touches him before touching a fielder. If the batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule 5.04(b)(5) (Rule 6.03), and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be ruled a foul ball;

(8)  After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a second time in fair territory. The ball is dead and no runners may advance. If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the ball is alive and in play. If the batter is in a legal position in the batter’s box, see Rule 5.04(b)(5) (Rule 6.03), and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, a batted ball that strikes the batter or his bat shall be ruled a foul ball;

Rule 5.09(a)(8) Comment (Rule 6.05(h) Comment): If a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and is hit by a batted ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and no interference called. If a batted ball hits part of a broken bat in foul territory, it is a foul ball.

If a whole bat is thrown into fair or foul territory and interferes with a defensive player attempting to make a play, interference shall be called, whether intentional or not.

In cases where the batting helmet is accidentally hit with a batted ball on or over fair territory or a thrown ball, the ball remains in play the same as if it has not hit the helmet.

If a batted ball strikes a batting helmet or any other object foreign to the natural ground while on foul territory, it is a foul ball and the ball is dead.

If, in the umpire’s judgment, there is intent on the part of a baserunner to interfere with a batted or thrown ball by dropping the helmet or throwing it at the ball, then the runner would be out, the ball dead and runners would return to last base legally touched.

(9) After hitting or bunting a ball that continues to move over foul territory, he intentionally deflects the course of the ball in any manner while running to first base. The ball is dead and no runners may advance;

(10)  After a third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base;

(11)  In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of ) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of ) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead; except that he may run outside (to the right of ) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of ) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball;

Rule 5.09 (a)(11) Comment (Rule 6.05(k) Comment): The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane and a batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three-foot lane or on the lines marking the lane. The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base.

(12) An infielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases;

APPROVED RULING: In this situation, the batter is not out if the infielder permits the ball to drop untouched to the ground, except when the Infield Fly rule applies.

(13) A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play;

Rule 5.09(a)(13) Comment (Rule 6.05(m) Comment): The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play. (See Rule 6.01(j).)

(14)  With two out, a runner on third base, and two strikes on the batter, the runner attempts to steal home base on a legal pitch and the ball touches the runner in the batter’s strike zone. The umpire shall call “Strike Three,” the batter is out and the run shall not count; before two are out, the umpire shall call “Strike Three,” the ball is dead, and the run counts;

(15)  A member of his team (other than a runner) hinders a fielder’s attempt to catch or field a batted ball. See Rule 6.01(b) (Rule 7.11). For interference by a runner, see Rule 5.09(b)(3) (Rule 7.08(b)).