This month's BaseballChronology
Book of the Month is The Game
of Base Ball by Henry Chadwick, published in 1868. You are on web
page 3 of 6 of The Game of Base Ball. Click here
to go back to the first page.
commencing our second book with a running commentary on the playing rules
of the game from Rule First, Section First, to Rule Seventh, Section
Seventh. The rules in full will be found at the end of
the third book, being placed there simply for reference. In this book
we shall introduce them for the purpose of making explanatory comments on
each separate rule.
Rule First refers, in
its several sections, to the "Ball, Bat, and Bases," beginning
with the ball. A ball, to be used in any match game between clubs
belonging to the National Association
or any State branch thereof, must be made only of India-rubber and yarn,
and be covered with leather, and must not exceed in weight five and
one-quarter ounces avoirdupois, nor measure more than nine and
one-half inches in circumference. Each ball, in a match game, is to be
furnished only by the challenging club, and whichever club wins the
game retains possession of the ball as the trophy. To win the ball is the
chief aim of a club in every legitimate contest, and to attain this end by
skillful and honorable play is the principal object in view among all
gentlemanly contestants. In selecting a ball for a match, clubs should see
tint every ball they purchase has not only the maker's name stamped on it,
but also the figures giving the size and weight of the ball, for none
other are allowed to be used in a regular match. If they expel in
fielding, and have the choice of the ball, as the challenging club, they
should select the lightest and least elastic ball, but if batting is their
forte, they should choose a full-weight ball and one very hard and
elastic; the reason is, that in the case of a light, dead ball, it is not
only easier to field it, but more difficult to hit it well into the field;
while, on the other hand, a herd and lively ball goes " red hot"
from the bat of an experienced player, and, in such case, is anything but
a pleasant or easy thing to handle.
The bat must be round, must not exceed forty-two
inches in length, and in its thickest part must not be of greater
diameter than two and a half inches. The bat cannot be made of any
material but wood. Cane can be used, but not the whalebone which we have
seen used in the handles of sonic bats. A light bat, about thirty-eight
inches in length, is about the right thing for the general class of
players. The wood used in the manufacture of bats should be tough in fiber
and light in material. Good seasoned willow, with strips of cane inserted
in the handles, makes very serviceable bats. But all kinds of light and
elastic wood are used, ash being the wood most generally selected. Frank
Wright, of Auburn, has got up a fine sycamore bat. A full-sized bat, even
of the lightest wood, strong enough for its size, requires a strong arm to
use it to advantage.
The bases used in the game are four in number, three of
them being canvas bags and the fourth a flat plate, either of iron or
stone. There are also two other plates of less size than the home base,
which are called the " pitcher's points." The four regular bases
are placed upon the corners of a square, the sides of which are
respectively thirty yards. The home base is the flat plate, while the
first base—on the tight—second base, and third base—on the
left—consist of canvas bags filled with soft material. Each of the three
bases must cover one square foot of surface. The canvas bag is declared to
be the base by the rules, and not the post to which it is, or ought to be,
fastened, and, consequently, if in running to a base the bag slip away
from you, you mast strive to keep on it, for if you do not touch it with
some part of your person—no matter if you have your foot on the base
post—and you are touched with the ball in the hands of a fielder, you
will be declared out. The bases must be so constructed and placed as to be
distinctly seen by the umpire. The base from which the ball is struck is
called the home base; that upon the right hand, the first base; that
facing the home base, the second, and that upon the left-hand side, the
third base. In all match games the rules require that a chalk line shall
be made from home base to first base, and as far beyond it as can be laid
down; and, also, a similar line from home base to third, and beyond it if
to the pitching department end governs the movements of the pitcher. This
player's position is located near the center of a triangle formed by the
home, first, find third bases. The pitcher's first point is located on the
line from home to second base, and distant from the home base fifteen
yards. The above position occupies a space of ground four feet by six, the
front line of six feet being at right angles with the line from home to
second base. The second point above the position is marked by a fixed iron
plate, located on the line from home base to second, and distant four feet
from the first plate.
The pitcher is required to stand within the lines of the
above position when about to deliver the ball, and he cannot step outside
these lines until the ball has left his hands.
Should the pitcher repeatedly fail to deliver to
the striker fair balls —that is, balls within the legitimate reach of
the batsman—for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or for any
cause—such, for instance, as inability to pitch fairly—the umpire,
after warning him, shall call "one ball," and, if the
pitcher persists in such action, "two" and "three
balls." When three balls have been called, the striker must take the
first base; and, should any base he occupied at that time, each player
occupying a base must take one base, and he cannot be put out in taking
it. All balls delivered by the pitcher which strike the ground before
reaching the home base, or which are pitched over the head of the batsman,
or to the side opposite that he is in the habit of striking from, shall be
considered unfair balls, and they must be called by the umpire whenever
delivered, provided that due warning has b2en previously given the
pitcher. Any words of warning will do, but "ball to the bat" is
the form most used.
The ball must be pitched, not jerked or thrown to
the bat; and, whenever the pitcher moves, with the apparent purpose
or pretension to deliver the ball, he shall so deliver it, and must have
neither foot in advance of the front line of his position, or beyond the
back line at the time of delivering the ball. Should he fail in any of
these particulars he commits a "balk" and the umpire must so
declare it. The ball is to be considered as jerked, in the meaning
of the rule, if the pitcher's arm touches his person when the arm is swung
forward to deliver the ball; and it is regarded as a throw if the
arm be bent at the elbow at an angle from the body, or horizontally from
the shoulder, when it is swung forward to deliver the ball. A fairly
pitched ball is one delivered with the arm swinging free and
perpendicularly from the body while the pitcher is standing as nearly
upright as possible. The pitcher makes a balk if he holds the ball in one
hand and makes the motion of delivery with the other hand.
No player can be put out on any hit ball on which a
"balk" or a "ball" has been called; neither shall a
"strike" or a "foul ball" be called on such a hit
ball, and no base can be run on any such hit ball. But bases can be
taken—as the rules order—on third called balls that are hit, and also
on balked balls hit, except, in the latter case, by the strikers, who
cannot, under any circumstances, take a base on a balk.
governs the batting department and is the guide for the strikers in
reference to their movements while at the bat.
The striker, when about to strike the ball, must stand astride
of a line drawn through the center of the home base, not exceeding three
feet from either side thereof, and parallel with the front line of the
pitcher's position; and he must not take any backward step when striking
at the ball. The penalty for an infringement of this rule is the calling
of " one strike," and when three such strikes have been called
the striker shall be declared out. If a ball on which such a strike is
called be hit and caught, either fair or foul, the striker is out. No base
can be run on any such called strike; but if a base runner run a base on
such a strike he must return to the base he left, and he cannot be put out
in so returning. As soon as the striker hits a fair ball he becomes
"a player running the bases" and ceases to be the
"striker," in the meaning of the rules.
Batsmen must take their turns at the bat in regular
rotation, commencing with the player whose name is the first on the score
book. After the first killings. is played the player next on the list to
the batsman last put out hi the previous innings becomes the first striker
Thus, if the first and second strikers be put out and the third one makes
his base, and after the fourth striker has also been at the bat and
reached his base, and the third striker be put out at second or third
bases, the fourth striker becomes the first striker in the next innings,
as he was the next player on the list to the one last put out, though he
was the last man to strike.
Should a striker stand at the bat without striking at fair
balls, for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or of giving
advantage to a player, the umpire, after warning him, must call
" one strike," and, if he persists in such action, two and three
strikes; and when three strikes are Called and the ball be caught either
on the fly or first bound, the striker is out. Should he willfully strike
balls for the purpose of striking out, then such strikes are not to be
called; and neither must strikes be called when balked or called balls are
struck at and hit. When three balls have been struck at and missed, and
the last one is not caught either on the fly or the first bound, the
striker must attempt to make his base, and he can be put out at first base
in the Sallie way as if he had hit a fair ball. In both cases, if put out,
the out is recorded on the score books as struck out.
The striker is out if he hit a foul ball and it be caught
either on the fly or first bound; or if a fair ball is hit and the ball be
held on the fly; or, if the ball, after a fair hit, be held by the first
baseman, while having some part of his person on the base, before
the batsman touches it. If held at the same time the batsman is not out.
rule governs the movements of players running the bases, and the several
sections are in substance as follows:
Players must make their bases in the order of striking; and when a fair
ball is struck, and not caught flying, the first base must be vacated, as
also the second and third, if they are occupied at the same time; and
players, under these circumstances, can be put out on any base in the same
manner as when running to first base. Any player running the bases is out
if at any time he Is touched by the ball, while it is in play and in the
hands of an adversary, unless some part of the base runner's person is on
the base. No base can be made or rim scored upon a foul ball. Such a ball
shall be considered dead, and not in play, until it shall first have been
settled in the hands of the pitcher. In such cases players running bases
shall return to them, and may be put out in so returning, in the same
manner as when running to first base. Neither can a base be made, or a run
scored, when a fair ball has been caught without having touched the
ground; but, in the latter case, such a ball shall be considered alive and
in play. In such cases, also, players running bases shall return to them,
and may be put out in so returning, and in the same manner as when running
to first base; but players, when balls are caught flying, may run their
bases immediately after the ball has been settled in the hands of the
player catching it.
Players running bases must touch them, and, so far as
possible, keep upon the direct line between them, and must touch them in
the following order—first, second, third, and home; and if returning,
must reverse this order; and should any player run three feet out of this
line, for the purpose of avoiding the ball in the hands of an adversary,
he shall be declared out; or if he fail to touch each base he runs to, he
shall be declared out, unless he returns to such base before the ball be
held on it. Unless he runs out of the line of the bases to avoid the ball,
lie does not infringe the rule.
If the player is prevented from making a base by the intentional
obstruction of an adversary, he shall be entitled to that base, and shall
not be put out. Any obstruction, that could readily have been avoided,
shall be considered as intentional in the meaning of the rules. Thus, if a
base player stands in the way of a base runner, when he is receiving the
ball from the fielder, when he could just as readily have received it and
yet been out of his way, the obstruction is regarded as intentional. Also,
if a fielder be about to catch a high ball while standing on the line of
the bases, the base runner has no right to run up against him because he
happens to be on a line between him and the base, for the base runner
could as readily have run on one side of the player as not, and not,
thereby, have been prevented from reaching his base. In such instance the
base runner obstructs the fielder by preventing him from catching the
ball. In striking at a ball, too, a batsman has no right to swing his bat
back further than lie is accustomed to, for the purpose of preventing the
catcher —standing close behind the batsman—from catching the ball;
such action is an infringement of the rule, and the batsman, in such
eases, should be given out by the umpire.
When a balk is made by the pitcher, every player running
the bases is entitled to one base, without being put out. If a player
tries to steal more bases than the one given him, he can do so, but only
at the risk of being put out. If two hands are already out, no player
running home at the time the ball is struck can make a run to count in the
score of the game if the striker of it is put out. In this case it is the
striker of the ball that is referred to, viz , the batsman, and not the
"striker" named in the rules as such. As the rule now reads no
player running home, when two hands are out, can score his run unless the
striker has struck at three balls and missed them, and the ball not being
caught, the batsman has to run to first base; and not even in this
instance unless the base runner touch the home base before the player be
put out. For instance, if a player he on the third base when a high ball
is hit to center field, and being dropped, the striker of the ball tries
to make his second base and is put out there, the player who has got home
from third base cannot score his run, as the striker of the ball was put
out. But if another base runner, not the striker, be put out at second or
third base, or run out, and the home base be touched before the third hand
is pill, out, then the run counts. This is the meaning of the rule as
defined by the Committee on Rules. In the case of the three strikes, the
ball not having been struck, the run counts if the base is touched before
the innings terminates. A player making the home base shall be entitled to
score one run. To "make" a base is to touch it, being entitled
to do so.
rule in a measure describes the game and governs the regulation of match
The game consists of nine innings to each side, when,
should the number of runs be equal, the play shall be continued until a
majority of runs, upon an equal number a innings, shall be declared, which
shall conclude the game. Thus, if at the close of the ninth innings of a
match each party have scored twenty runs, for instance, a tenth innings
has to be played, and, if the score still remains a tic at the close of
the tenth innings, the game is to be continued, inning after inning, until
one side or the other have the highest score. An innings is not concluded
until the third hand is put out. It sometimes happens that one player is
put out three times in an innings, but such a thing only occurs where the
fielding is very poor.
In playing all matches, nine players from each club shall
constitute a full field; and they must all be members of the club which
they represent. They also must not have been members of any other club,
either in or out of the National Association, for thirty days immediately
prior to the match. Positions of players and choice of innings shall be
determined by captains previously appointed for that purpose by the
respective clubs. Every player taking part in a regular match game, no
matter what number of innings are played, shall be, in the meaning of this
section of the rules, considered a member of the club he plays with.
Consequently no player is eligible to play in a regular match game, club
vs. club, who has played in any game as a player of another club, within
thirty days of the date of the match he is to play in.
When a club sends a challenge to play a first nine match
game of base ball, and the challenge is accepted, the first game must be
played upon the grounds of the challenging club, within fifteen days from.
the date of the acceptance of the challenge, the second game mast be
played upon the grounds of the challenged club within fifteen days
thereafter; and, if a third game be necessary, it shall be played upon
grounds to be mutually agreed upon, within fifteen days from the date of
the second game, provided—that the above arrangement may be
varied by mutual consent. And when a first nine match game is to be
played, the contestants must present on the field their recognized first
nines, as far as practicable.
This rule only has force when no special agreement is made
between duos as to the date of return or home and home games. Thus, if a
club challenges another club to play a match, best two out of three, and
names a special date for the first game, but makes no mention of the
return game, and if the challenge, thus worded, be accepted without any
proviso, then the above rule be-comas binding in regard to the limit of
the time for playing the succeeding game or games, but not otherwise. When
a match is agreed upon between two clubs, if no particular nine be named,
then both clubs mast present their recognized first nines.
Whenever a match shall have been determined upon between
two clubs, play shall be called at the exact hour appointed; and should
either party fail to produce their players within thirty minutes
thereafter, the party so failing shall admit a defeat, and shall deliver
the ball before leaving the ground, which ball shall be received by the
club who arc ready to play, and the ball shall he considered as won, and
the game is to be counted as such in the list of m itches played; and the
winning club shall be entitled to a score of nine runs for any game so
forfeited, unless the delinquent side fails to play on account of the
recent death of one of its members, and sufficient time has not elapsed to
enable them to give their opponents due notice before arriving on the
ground. The "sufficient time" alluded to refers to the time
necessary to notify a club by letter through the post-office.
When a game has been mutually agreed upon to be commenced'
at an appointed hour, and thirty minutes thereafter, one of the contesting
nines shall not be ready to play, the party ready should take their
regular positions in the field and call for the striker, and if no one
appears then the ball is forfeited.
No person who shall be in arrears to any other club than
the one he plays with, or who shall at any time receive compensation for
his services as a player shall be competent to play in any match game. No
players, who play base ball for money, shall take part in any match game;
and any club giving any compensation to a player, or having, to their
knowledge, a player in their nine playing in a match for compensation,
shall be debarred from membership in the National Association; and such
club shall not be considered by any club belonging to the National
Association as a proper club to engage in a match with; and should any
club, playing with a club thus guilty of infringing the rules of the
Association, shall forfeit membership thereof.
No player, not in the nine taking their positions on the
field in the third innings of a game, shall be substituted for a player,
except for reason of illness or injury. Of course if the club, minus the
services of a regular player of their nine, choose to play with eight men,
until the absentee comes, they can do so; and up to the last innings they
can place the absentee, or a substitute In the field. But, if they
commence the game with nine players, only up to the close of the third
innings of the game are they privileged to substitute a new player in the
nine in place of one previously playing in their nine.
No match game shall be commenced when rain is falling; and
neither shall any such game be continued after rain has fallen for five
minutes. No match game shall be postponed unless by the mutual consent of
the contesting clubs. If, in a match game, nine innings have been played
and the score be a tie, anti the contesting clubs mutually agree to
consider it a drawn game, they can do so; but, unless both parties
consent, the game must be continued until one or the other side lead the
score, and the parties refusing to proceed with the game forfeit the ball.
Every match made shall be decided by the best two games
out of three, unless a single game shall be mutually agreed upon by the
contesting clubs; and all matches shall terminate before the close of the
season.. No games are now allowed to be postponed to the ensuing season.
If a match is not played out during the season it is considered a drawn
contest. The club winning two games wins the match.
rule is miscellaneous in its character, and refers to points of play not
alluded to under any previous heading.
Any player who intentionally prevents an adversary from
catching or fielding the ball, shall be declared out; or if any player be
prevented from making a base by the intentional obstruction of an
adversary, he shall be entitled to that base, and shall not be declared
out even if touched with the ball. As in the previous rule, bearing upon
the same point, any obstruction that could readily have been avoided, must
be considered as intentional. Thus, for instance, if the base runner runs
up against the base player, while the latter is standing on the base but
not in his way at all, such action should be considered as obstructing the
base player from fielding the ball, and the base runner should be promptly
given out. So, too, in the case of the striker, when about to strike at
the ball when the catcher is standing close up to the bat, the striker
having no right to swing his bat back further than usual, for if lie does
it may safely be regarded as an effort to obstruct the batsman. On the
other hand, if the batsman, from fear of striking the catcher when the
latter stands close up behind the bat, is at all cramped in his movements,
the umpire may justly regard the catcher's movement in standing so close
as obstructing the batsman.
If an adversary stops the ball with his hat or cap, or if
a ball be stopped by any person or persons not engaged in the game, no
player can he put out unless the ball shall first have been settled in the
hands of the pitcher while he stands in the line of his position. It
should be borne in mind that whereas, in the case of a foul ball, when the
ball, to be in play, must first have been settled in the hands of the
pitcher, the pitcher can take the ball from tare hands of the fielder
wherever he chooses; but, in the case of a ball stopped by a crowd or an
outsider, the pitcher has to stand within the lines of his position and
there hold the ball before lie, or any other fielder, can put a player out
If a fair ball be held by a player before touching the
ground, after rebounding from the hands or person of a player, it shall be
considered a fair catch. And if a foul ball be similarly held, after
touching the ground but once, it shall be considered a fair catch.
If the ball, from the stroke of a bat, first touches the
ground, the person of a player, or any other object, behind the line or
range of home and the first base, or home and the third base, it shall be
termed foal, and must be so declared by the umpire, unasked. If the ball
first touches the ground, either upon or in front of the line or range of
those bases, it shall be considered fair. For instance, a base player may
be standing on his base or within the in-field, and yet reach out to catch
a ball with his hand on the other side of the line, in which case the ball
must be regarded as foul.
Clubs may adopt such rules respecting balls knocked
outside of the bounds of the field as the circumstances of the ground may
demand; and these rules shall govern all matches played upon the ground,
provided that they are distinctly made known to the umpire previous to the
commencement of the game. For instance, it may be mutually agreed upon
that a ball hit over a fence shall only give one base; or, that a ball
passing the catcher and striking a fence, too close to his position, shall
give one base; or, that a ball passing the catcher when no fence is
located behind him shall give but one base, etc. If a club, too, have any
special rules of their ground bearing upon similar points to the above,
unless mutually agreed otherwise, such rules will be binding in a match
game, provided the umpire is informed of them, not otherwise.
The captains of each nine shall alone be allowed to appeal
for the reversal of a decision of the umpire. It is the duty of the umpire
to disregard every appeal for a reversal made by any player except the
No base can be run or player be put out on a dead ball.
The dead balls referred to by this rule are those made when a called or
balked ball is hit, and when " time" is called, until "
play" is again called. All other halls, referred to in the rules as
dead, are only dead partially, the exceptions being specially described,
as in the case of foul balls when the ball is dead only so far as base
runners are concerned.
rule refers specially to the duties of the umpire, which are as follows:
The umpire shall take care that the regulations respecting
the ball, bats, bases, and the pitcher's and striker's positions are
strictly observed, and he shall require the challenging club to furnish a
ball on which the size and weight of the ball, and the name of the
manufacturer shall be stamped. He shall be the sole judge of fair and
unfair play, and shall determine all disputes and differences which may
occur during the game. He shall take special care to declare all foul
balls and balks immediately upon their occurrence, in a distinct and
audible manner. He shall, in every instance, before leaving the ground,
declare the winning club, and shall record his decision in the books of
the scorers. The umpire shall also require that the game be recorded by a
scorer for each of the contesting clubs. In all matches the umpire shall
be selected by the captains of the respective sides, and shall perform all
the duties above enumerated. He shall also determine -when play shall be
suspended; and, if the game cannot be fairly concluded, it shall be
decided by the last equal innings, provided five innings have been played;
and the party having the greatest number of runs shall be declared the
winner. If five innings are not completed then it shall be declared no
match, unless one of the contesting parties should refuse to continue the
game, in which case the party willing to play shall occupy their positions
and act as the umpire may direct.
When the umpire calls "play," the game must at
once be proceeded with; and the party failing to take their appointed
positions in the game, within five minutes thereafter, shall forfeit the
game. When the umpire calls "time," play shall be suspended
until he calls "play" again. After "time" has been
called, the ball is dead, and the game suspended until "play" is
again called. No balls can be delivered, bases run, or players pat out,
after " time" has been called, and neither can a game commence
until " play" is called.
When the umpire "calls" a game, it shall end;
but when he merely suspends play for any stated period, it may be resumed
at the point at which it was suspended, provided such suspension does not
extend beyond the day of the match. Unless an unfinished game is ended the
day it is commenced, it is to be considered a drawn game. No game can be
commenced on one day and finished on another.
No person engaged in a match, either as umpire, scorer, or
player, shall be either directly or indirectly interested in any bet upon
the game. Nor shall any person be permitted to act as umpire or scorer in
any match unless he shall be a member of the national Association, or of a
State branch thereof. Neither shall the umpire or scorer be changed during
a match, unless with the consent of both parties, except for reason of
illness or injury, or for a violation of the rules of the Association.
No decision given by the umpire shall be reversed upon the
testimony of any player; and no decision whatever shall be reversed except
for a palpable infringement of the rules, and then only on an appeal by
the captain. If the umpire misinterprets a rule, such—for instance, as
one umpire did in giving the striker a base on a called ball, but not a
player occupying the third base—the captain of the nine, whose interests
the mistaken decision affects, is alone empowered to appeal.
No person shall be permitted to approach or to speak with
the umpire, scorers, or players, or in any manner to interrupt or
interfere during the progress of the game, unless by special request of
Any match game played by any club in contravention to the
rules adopted by the National Association, shall be considered null and
void, and shall not be counted in the list of match games won and lost.
Clubs, by this rule, are prohibited from mutually ignoring any playing
rule of the game.
player should make himself familiar with the rules as they are amended
each season. A first-class player ought to be able to define every rule of
the game, if not to the very letter of the rule, at least in regard to its
purport. To facilitate the study of the rules we give them below in brief,
using as few words as possible for each rule.
Bat, and Bases—The size and weight of the ball is nine and one half
inches and five and one quarter ounces, and made of rubber, yarn, and
The bat to be round, two and one half inches in
diameter, and forty-two inches long—made of wood only.
The first, second, and third bases, canvas bags;
home base, flat plate; all four bases to cover a foot square. The base bag
is the base.
There must be chalk lines to mark the foul ball
lines and the lines of the home base and pitcher's position.
Pitching Department—The pitcher stands within a space four feet by
six, distant fifteen yards from the home base. He must deliver the ball
over the home base and within the legitimate reach of the batsman.
Should he fail to do this, from any cause, he incurs the
penalty of having balls called on him. Before this is done, the umpire
must warn him, and also wait until he has repeatedly failed to send in
All balls out of the legitimate reach of the bat are
unfair and must be called.
The pitcher must not throw, jerk, or bowl the ball, but
simply pitch it, and when he makes a motion to pitch and does not do so,
or steps outside his ground in pitching, he makes a balk.
No player can be put out, or a base run, on a hit called
or balked ball. Base runners can have bases given them on such balls in
accordance with the rules.
Department—The batsman must stand astride the home base line
when lie bats, and must not step backward in striking; if he does, he
incurs the penalty of strikes called. No base can be run on such strikes.
The striker can be put out if he hits the ball unlawfully.
Batsmen must strike in regular rotation. The first striker
in the next innings is the one next to the last man put out.
If the batsman refuses to strike at fair balls, he incurs
the penalty of having strikes called on him. On a third called strike, if
the ball be caught, he is out, if not, he must run to first base.
The batsman is out if the ball be caught on a fair fly,
foul fly, or foul bound, and, also, if it be held at first base before
he reaches it.
the Bases—Bases must be made in the order of striking, and, when
fair balls are hit and not caught, base runners must vacate their bases,
if all the bases, or the first, be occupied, but not otherwise. When
forced from a base the runner can be put out as at first base.
Any base runner touched off a base is out.
No base can be run on a foul ball until the pitcher has
first held the ball. When a base is run on a foul ball the runner must
return, and he can be put out as at first base.
No base can be run on a fly ball caught, but the runner
can leave his base when the ball is held in the field.
Base runners only take bases on balls. The strikers can
take them only on called balls.
No run can be made until the home base is touched.
When two hands are out, no run can be scored if the ball
be struck and the striker of it be put out anywhere.
Bases must be touched, and runners must not run three feet
beyond the line of the bases to avoid the ball, if they do they are out.
If a runner is improperly prevented from making his base
by a fielder, he is not out. All obstruction that can be avoided is
Game—Nine innings makes a game. In tie games more innings have to be
played, until one or the other party has the highest score.
The third hand out closes the innings.
Nine players make a full field. These must be members of
the club. No player belonging to another club can play, and no player who
has played in any other club match within thirty days. Captains place the
players and toss for innings.
When a challenge is accepted, the return game must be
played in fifteen days, unless otherwise agreed upon; and, likewise, the
third game of a match.
When a game is appointed, the party failing to appear on
time forfeits the ball, unless the delay is from the death of a member. No
one can play in a match who owes for dues.
No player can be changed, after the third innings, except
for illness or injury.
No game can be commenced, or continued, in the rain, and
none can be postponed unless by mutual consent.
The best two out of three games decides a match, and all
matches end with the year.
No man who receives pay for playing, can take part in a
match, and any club employing professionals does so at the risk of
expulsion from the National Association.
player can be put out on a ball stopped by the cap of a fielder, or by
outsiders, until the bad has been held by the pitcher in his position.
A player preventing a fielder from catching a ball is out.
A catch is a fair one if the ball is held before touching
the ground, though from the hands of another fielder.
A fair ball is one hit in front of the lines of the bases;
a foul ball is one hit behind the lines.
Special rules of grounds hold good if made known to the
umpire before "play" is called.
Captains of nines can alone ask for a reversal of the
No player can be put out, or base run on a dead ball,
unless the rules specially state so.
Duties—The umpire has to see that all the above rules are enforced,
and also to see that the ball played with has the size and weight of the
ball and the maker's name stamped on it. He is the sole judge of the play,
and settles all disputes. He must call foul balls and balks without being
asked, and must record the name of the winning club in the score books. He
sees that each club has a scorer, and is chosen by the two captains.
He determines when play shall close. When a game is
interrupted, he settles the victory by the score of the last even
innings—if five have been played.
When "play" is called, the game must go on, and
the club failing to appear in their positions forfeit a ball. When
"time" is called, the game is suspended until resumed by the
call of "play."
When a game is "called," it ends, but when
merely suspended it can be resumed the same day, but not after.
No one acting as umpire, scorer, or player can bet on a
game, if they do, the game is null end void, Neither can the umpire or
scorers be changed, unless by mutual consent, except for violating the
No decision can be reversed by the testimony of any
player. No person is allowed to speak to the umpire, scorers, or players
without his consent.
Any game played in violation of any of the above rules is null and void.
For the past
ten years we have used a short-hand system of recording the movements of
players in a base ball match, which we have improved from time to time
until we have got the system "down to a spot," as the saying is,
and, by means of this method of recording the movements of a player, and
that, too, as fast as Ire makes them, we are enabled to arrive at a very
correct analysis of the play of the contesting nines in a match. But a
record like this is not requisite for ordinary scoring, and, though we
practice it in every match we report, still, we do not publish all the
details we record, one reason being that all games do not merit such
detailed descriptions; and lack of space, too, for such lengthy accounts
as the full details of a game would necessarily lead to, has hitherto
required us to confine our reports to general descriptions of contests,
except in a few instances. Now that we have at our command not only a
journal in which we shall have ample space provided for detailed reports,
but, also, a book in which the first class matches of a season can be
described in detail at the close of each yeas, it becomes necessary that
we should apply our system to scoring generally with a view of obtaining
full reports of contests taking place in distant parts of the country,
and, this past Winter, we prepared a new system, calculated, we believe,
to make detailed scoring au easier task to club scorers than it hitherto
From the very first number of the Chronicle, all our
published scores of games played, which we have specially reported, have
been marked by the absence of all details of errors committed, all such
reference to them being confined to the descriptive portion of the report.
Another feature has been a transfer of our method of recording games to
the scores, such as giving the particulars of "bases made on
hits," and of the assistance rendered in the field in base play. The
new score sheet for score books, which we have copyrighted, is prepared in
such form as to insure a correct analysis of each man's play in a match,
both at the bat and in the field, to the extent necessary to arrive at a
true estimate of his skill as a player in both departments. The best
player in a nine is he who makes the most good plays in a match, not the
one who commits the fewest errors, and it is in the record of his good
plays that we are to look for the most correct data for an estimate of his
skill in the position be occupies. The following is the form of the score
sheet we refer to, as far as our pages will permit of its being given in
The above form is entirely new. We first used the plan of
recording batsmen and fielders on the score sheet some six years ago. The
record of bases on hits first appeared in the columns of The Chronicle.
But the score sheet, of which the above is but a partial copy, was first
printed in this office, and no sheet like it, in its peculiar form, has
ever before been published. In this diagram only the initials of the words
heading the columns are given from lack of space. In the regular score
sheet the full headings appear. Thus, to the left the initials represent
the words Runs, Outs, Times, Bases, Muffs, Balks, Left, Home. On the right
the initials are in place of the words Position, Bases, Fly, L for Foul, D
for Bound, K for Struck, R for Run Out, Totals and Assistance.
In recording a game on this form of score sheet we proceed
as follows: Under the head of "Batsmen" we place the
names of the batting nine, and under the heading "Fielders"
we place the names of the opposing nine. Thus, on the two score sheets
used in recording every game, are placed the names of the the nines twice
over, once as Fielders and once as Batsmen. Over the head of the batsmen's
column you place the figures indicating the hour "play" was
called, and, when the game is finished, over head of the fielder's column
you record the figures showing the hour the game ended. Over the figures
of the "innings" you write down the name of the grounds the game
was played and the date of the match. In writing down the positions of the
fielders, all that is requisite is to use the initial letter for each
position, thus, C for catcher, P for pitcher, etc. In recording the center
field, however, we use M instead of C, recording it as middle field, as C
is used for catcher. Each fielder is numbered from one to nine, and, in
recording by whom players are put out, these figures are used to indicate
the name of the fielder. This: if the first named player on the list is
the catcher, the first cal he makes behind on a foul fly is recorded 1LF,
viz., put out on a foul (L) fly (F). The whole record of a game, by this
system, is done simply by dots, figures, and letters. Dots for runs and
for the record of the plays made in the statistical columns to the right
and left; figures for the outs, players' names, and bases players are left
on, together with the total scores, and letters as abbreviations of the
words used to indicate the manner in which a player is put out.
Suppose the fielders in their places and the batsman in
his, and the scorers ready to record the game. "Play" is called,
and the time of beginning the game at once recorded. The striker then hits
a ball, which is caught on the fly by the left fielder, who is the seventh
striker, we will say, on the other side. On the square of the first
innings, opposite the striker's name, you first write down the figure 1,
indicating the first hand out, and, above it, write the figure 7 and the
letter F, and your record will then appear thus:
the 7 representing the name of the fielder and the letter F the initial of
the word fly, showing by whom and in what manner the player was put out.
Opposite the name of the seventh fielder, too, under the head of "On
Fair Fly," you write down a dot. The second striker now takes the
bat, and hitting a low bounder to center field makes his second base just
before the ball is well fielded in to the second baseman. To record this
properly you place a dot opposite the batsman's name to the left, and
under the head of "No. of times" bases are made on hits,
and in the next column you place two dots, showing the number of bases
made on the hit, or, if you like to be more particular, you can write the
figure 2 in place of the two dots, and then you will know the bases he
made on each hit. The third striker now comes to the bat, and, hitting a
ball to the short-stop, who passes it to the first base man in time to pat
the player out, you now have to record the second hand out, and you do it
thus: first, the figure 2 for second out, and the figure 3 for the
short-stop—who is the third striker on the list on the other side—and
then 4 for the first base man, who is the fourth striker. The square will
then appear thus:
You then, opposite the fielder's name, to the right, under the head of
"No. of times assisting" place a dot opposite the third
fielder's name, and under the head of "on bases," a dot
opposite the name of the fourth fielder. The fourth striker now takes the
bat and strikes out, and you then record the out by the figure 3, for the
third hand out, and the letter K for struck out, (in this instance, as in
one or two others we will show, we use the last letter of the word used,)
and, under the head of "On third strike," opposite the fielder's
name acting as catcher, we place a dot. This closes the innings. The above
will suffice to show the general plan of scoring we adopt in this system.
The statistics of the batsman's play, to the left of the batsman's name,
includes his total score of outs and runs; the total number of times on
which bases are made, and the number of bases made on clean hits, and a
similar record of bases made on "muffed" and wildly thrown
balls, and on balked and called balls, together with the number of times
base runners are left on bases, and the number of clean home runs. The
statistics of the fielding, to the right of the fielders' names, include
the totals of oats on bases, on fair fly catches, on foul fly catches, and
foul bound catches, on three strikes, from being run out, and the totals
of the players put out and of times assisting to put them out. The
following are the abbreviations of words used, a system we introduced
A, Put out at first base.
B, Put out at second base.
C, Put out at third base.
H, Put out at home base.
F, Put out on fly catch.
D, Put out on bound catch.
K, Put out on three strikes.
RO, Put out between bases.
LF, Put out on foul fly.
LD, Put out on foul bound.
TF, Put out on tip fly.
The small letters, "h. r.," are used to indicate home runs,
and a dot (•) to score a run; while the small figures, 1st, 2d, and 3d,
are used to indicate left on bases.
A. B. C. represent the first three bases, and all the other
abbreviations are either the first or last letters of the words
abbreviated; thus, we give the first letters of fly, tip, run out, and
home run, and the last letters of bound, foul, and struck out, as we have
already used B for second base and F for fly, and the letter K, in struck,
is easier to remember in connection with the word, than S.
The above system includes everything necessary to record the important
details of a game, in which it is desirous to show the good plays made at
the bat and in the field. In reporting the details of a match, however, we
have a more elaborate system, as all are aware who have ever seen the
hieroglyphics on our own score book. The details of this system of
reporting will he found in the Book
of Reference. Of course any regular short hand writer can apply a
system of abbreviations of his own, but to learn this requires the study
of short hand to quite an extent. The system we use is one in which the
form of the abbreviations are themselves explanatory of their meaning.
The only correct estimate of a batsman's skill is that made from the
record of the number of times bases are made by "clean"
hits, that is, by the ball being hit out of the reach of fielders, and not
by hits which only yield bases through errors of fielding. There is quite
a difference between an estimate of batting made on the number of bases
made on hits, and that made on the number of times bases are so
made. Suppose the first striker hits a long ball and makes a clean home
run, he is credited with having made four bases on hits and with having
made his base on his hit once. The next striker makes his first base by
his clean hit, and the next three strikers do so. likewise, and if every
man following was to do the same, nine runs would be made without the loss
of a hand out, unless from careless base running, for any clean hit on
which the first base is secured prevents any player running the bases from
being put out through having to vacate the base he occupies. Now, although
the first striker made four bases on his hit, he only secured one run,
whereas the players who made but one base on their hits necessarily each
secured a run. But we can more strikingly illustrate the difference by
quoting from actual play. In the match between the Mutuals and Haymakers
last Fall, Pike scored four runs, made his base four times on clean hits,
and made seven bases on the same hits, and not one hit on an error in
fielding. C. Hunt made two runs, one of which was a clean home run, for
which he was credited with four bases on his hit, and once with having
made his base on his hit, the other run being made from a base given on a
wild throw. Now, according to the average of bases on clean hits, Pike is
credited with less than two to a hit, and Hunt with four, yet Pike secured
his base four times by clean hits, getting four runs, and Hunt only once,
getting two runs, one of which followed his getting a base by an error of
fielding. Had Hunt scored home runs instead of being twice put out, though
he would have sent no more men home by his hits than Pike did by his, he
would have been credited with twelve bases on hits, to Pike's seven,
although Pike would have scored four runs to Hunt's three, and made his
first base by his hit four times to Hunt's three, and, as a matter of
course, batted the most effectively for the interests of his club in the
match, and yet, Hunt would have carried off the honors in an estimate of
batting made on the number of bases made on hits.
Another objection, however, to such an estimate lies in the difficulty
of calculating fairly how many bases a player is to be credited with on
his hit. It is comparatively easy to judge whether he was sure of his
first base on his hit, but in running to second or third bases on a hit,
the errors of fielding, by which such base running is permitted, are
multiplied five fold compared to the number on which the first base can be
reached, and hence it is very difficult to decide impartially how often a
batsman is entitled to his second or third base on his hit, although quite
easy to judge in the case of first base, and, also, of home base in cases
of clean home runs.
In regard to the score of outs and
runs, that is no criterion of a batsman's skill at all. We have known of
dozens of instances in which batsmen have secured their first or second
bases on their hits, and, either by being left on their bases or put out
in being forced off through the inferior batting of their immediate
successors, have had a large score of outs and no runs, or been left on
their bases five times out of six; while batsmen who have escaped being
put out on poor hits, either by throws to second or third bases, when
players are put out from being forced off; or who have made their bases by
errors in the field, have scored five or six runs, and, perhaps, been put
out but once. In such eases, the batting score has shown six outs and one
run for the good batting, and one out and six runs for the poorest display
perhaps of the nine. This occurs, more or less, in every game that is
played. For instance, the first striker takes the bat, hits a fine daisy
cutter, between first and second, and easily takes his first base by the
hit. The second striker hits a poor ball to short, which the short-stop
picks up and sends to second to put out striker No. 1, forced off his
first, while the poor hit is rewarded with a base given. It will be
readily seen, therefore, that the score of outs and runs is no criterion
of a batsman's skill. In reference to being left on bases, too, that is
not always a criterion either of good batting or base running. Take, for
instance, the case of striker No. 2, just referred to; had strikers Nos. 3
and 4 sent him round to third base, and had he there been left, he would
stand credited with "left on his third," when he had not earned
a base. If it were possible to record "left on bases," so as to
discriminate between bases earned by good bits or good base running, and
bases given by errors of fielding or the good batting of others, this
would do well enough as an assistance in judging of a man's play; but
taking into consideration the fact that men are frequently left on bases
from poor base running, and still more frequently through being batted off
the first or second base, it will be seen that it is but little better as
a criterion of play than is the score of outs and runs. In fact, there is
but one true criterion of skill at the bat, and that is the number of
times bases are made on clean hits. Next to this comes the number of bases
made, then, left on bases, and, finally, the score of outs and runs.
HINTS TO CAPTAINS.
In placing your field for
any special object, see that you first have an understanding with your
nine, as to the positions they are to take when certain strikers go to the
bat, or when the pitcher changes his tactics. Unless this is done, you
will be forced to show your hand to your opponents when you make any
change, and, by doing this, you lose half the advantage of the change.
We have prepared two diagrams, showing the lines of the ball from the
bat, under different styles of pitching, which will enable a captain to
judge pretty well of the right position to place his men for swift and
slow pitching, and according to the direction batsmen face to hit a ball.
Our first diagram shows the lines of the different character of hits,
such as long hit balls, safe hits, bounders, ground hits, and foul balls.
Diagram No. 2 shows the lines of the ball in delivery from the three
several standpoints the pitcher has at his command, and, likewise, the
line of the ball from a square hit made from each separate delivery. Thus,
the line of delivery of the ball from the extreme left of the pitcher's
position obliges the batsmen, in hitting the ball squarely—as all try to
do—to send it direct to short-stop; while the line of a ball pitched
from the center of the pitcher's position, sends it to the pitcher, and
the line from the extreme right of the position would send it to right
short. All these several lines of delivery cause the ball, when not hit
squarely, to go nearer the line of the delivery than otherwise. Hence, it
will be seen that when a pitcher has two men on the first and second
bases, for instance, and he wants to force the batsman to hit towards
short field or third base, in order to give these fielders chances for
double plays, he would do well to deliver from the extreme left of his
position. But all these changes must be disguised to be effective. If,
too, he finds that the batsman can hit a ball, delivered from the center
of his position, to right short, between first and second bases, he should
try a delivery from his extreme left, and this would be likely to force
the ball over towards the first baseman. These several re-suits, however,
do not always follow the movement, unless the batsman is unaware of the
In time, the game will be brought down almost to a mathematical
calculation of results from given causes; but, at present, it is merely in
its experimental life, as it were.
DIAGRAM No. 1. Showing the lines of
the different classes of hits.
DIAGRAM No. 2. Showing the lines of
square hit balls from the bat, when delivered from the three stand-points
of the pitcher's position.
note: The book continues on Book
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