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  #1  
Old 06-29-2007, 04:27 PM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is offline
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Baseball: If the Home-Run Hitter Can't Make It Around the Bases

Not that this is ever likely to happen in a MLB game, but what do the rules say about the unlikely event that a batter hits a home run but is unable to make his way around the bases? For example: he trips and breaks his ankle rounding third - does he have to crawl to home plate? What if he falls over dead between third and home?
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2007, 05:26 PM
Ass For A Hat Ass For A Hat is offline
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I'll probably regret posting this without consulting the rulebook, but here goes...

The player would need to touch home for a run to be awarded. A couple possibilities come to mind if he is unable to do so. Eventually, an injured/deceased player is certain to be removed from the playing field. Once this happens, I would think he could be called out for running (?) outside the basepaths. Otherwise, I would think that the runner could be put out at one of the bases he failed to touch, by an appeal play.
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  #3  
Old 06-29-2007, 05:44 PM
El Cheapo El Cheapo is offline
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It has happened...

Here's the rule that speaks to it:
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info..._in_play_5.jsp -> 5.10(a)(1)

Retrosheet.org lists two examples:
http://www.retrosheet.org/courtesy.htm

Last edited by El Cheapo; 06-29-2007 at 05:46 PM..
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  #4  
Old 06-29-2007, 05:47 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Cheapo
It has happened...

Here's the rule that speaks to it:
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info..._in_play_5.jsp -> 5.10(a)(1)

Retrosheet.org lists two examples:
http://www.retrosheet.org/courtesy.htm
Good find! Minor correction: the rule is 5.10(c)(1).
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  #5  
Old 06-29-2007, 05:55 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is online now
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Missed the edit window...

The rules don't quite make this clear, but I'm curious as to where the replacement runner begins. For example (based on the last item in El Cheapo's link), if you have a runner on first when a homerun is hit, and the lead runner goes down between second and third and can't finish running, where do you "spot" the replacement?

He can't start from second because that would put him on the same base as the batter. So does he start from the spot that the injured player went down? Or does he simply start from third so as to ensure that all previously untouched bases are subsequently touched?
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  #6  
Old 06-29-2007, 06:08 PM
Public Animal No. 9 Public Animal No. 9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian
Missed the edit window...

The rules don't quite make this clear, but I'm curious as to where the replacement runner begins. For example (based on the last item in El Cheapo's link), if you have a runner on first when a homerun is hit, and the lead runner goes down between second and third and can't finish running, where do you "spot" the replacement?

He can't start from second because that would put him on the same base as the batter. So does he start from the spot that the injured player went down? Or does he simply start from third so as to ensure that all previously untouched bases are subsequently touched?
I don't think that the rules care whether the replacement runner starts at the exact same point as the injured runner. The key is that the injured runner was entitled to third base (and subsequently home) once the ball went over the fence and out of play. The replacement runner only needs to step on third and home (in that order, and without the following runner(s) passing him) for the play to be legal.

If, instead of the ball going over the fence at the time Kapler was injured, it had been fielded and the player threw the ball past third base and into the stands, the situation (for Kapler) would have been the same. He would have been entitled to third base because of the overthrow, plus an additional base because the ball went out of play. The replacement runner would then be able to enter the game, touch third base (from whatever direction), and then proceed to score.

If you read through the rules, there is considerable discussion of being entitled to a base under various circumstances. The intervening distances are not the critical issue.
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  #7  
Old 06-29-2007, 06:13 PM
OldGuy OldGuy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asimovian
Missed the edit window...

The rules don't quite make this clear, but I'm curious as to where the replacement runner begins. For example (based on the last item in El Cheapo's link), if you have a runner on first when a homerun is hit, and the lead runner goes down between second and third and can't finish running, where do you "spot" the replacement?

He can't start from second because that would put him on the same base as the batter. So does he start from the spot that the injured player went down? Or does he simply start from third so as to ensure that all previously untouched bases are subsequently touched?
Since this situation is not explicitly covered in the rules, it would be up to the discretion of the umpires. Since the rule make no specific mention that the runner can't teleport and skip intervening distances, but they do say he must touch each base, I'd assume they'd simply tell him to touch the remaining bases and not sepcify he must start where the previous runner fell.

Note it is also permissible for one runner (but not the coaches) to phsyically help another. But a following runner may not pass a preceeding runner. So a runner ahead of the injured runner could presumably drag the injured runner around keeping ahead of him. Or a runner behind the injured runner could carry him -- keeping him in front. In each case they'd have to make sure the injured runner touched the bases.

I cannot now locate any reference in the rules to permittiing such assisttance, but I know I've read it -- perhaps in one of those "Knotty Problems" books
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  #8  
Old 06-29-2007, 06:20 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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It's the old singularities question from topological physics again, this time in baseball guise.

For a batter to score on a ball(s) hit fairly inside the park and not caught on the fly, he must run from the batter's box to first base, to second base, to third base, and back to home plate, in that order, without being put out, tagging up at a base as he sees necessary and of course not necessarily circumnavigating the bases on the ball he himself hit.

But for a batter to score on a ball hit outside the park, he is not obligated to run the bases per se, but merely to touch all three bases and home plate in numerical order. He could go to right field and dance a performance of Khatchaturian's Sabre Dance between touching each base if appropriate to a promotion for the day. Obviously, the simplest way for him to touch each base in order is to run the bases. But that is not what the rules call for in the case of an outside-the-park HR or ground-rule double, only that he touch each in order.

And a pinch runner may be substituted whenever the ball is dead -- which is the case once a GRD or OTP HR has been called. His duty in this case is to touch each base the runner he replaces had not already.
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  #9  
Old 06-30-2007, 01:59 AM
Mesquite-oh Mesquite-oh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Cheapo
It has happened...Retrosheet.org lists two examples:
http://www.retrosheet.org/courtesy.htm
Records going back to 1887 of every time a certain kind of substitution happened? Complete stats and play by play of a reg. season game in 1977? Baseball stat geeks are both amazing and at the same time very scary.
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  #10  
Old 06-30-2007, 03:18 PM
Moirai Moirai is offline
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Wasn't it Hank Aaron who was stiff-arming fans swarming him on the field while the game was still active after his record-setting home run, so that he would be able to touch all the bases and have the hit count?
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  #11  
Old 06-30-2007, 05:06 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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I think Aaron was stiff-arming the fans because he thought they were out to hurt him.
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  #12  
Old 06-30-2007, 05:31 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie
Not that this is ever likely to happen in a MLB game, but what do the rules say about the unlikely event that a batter hits a home run but is unable to make his way around the bases?
There's Robin Ventura's grand-slam single for the N.Y. Mets in a playoff game.

He was mobbed by his teammates after he knocked a pitch over the fence, never made it to second (much less home plate) and was credited with only a single and one RBI.

Ya gots to touch the base(s), as Fred Merkle would tell you (if he was alive and wasn't sick of the subject anyway).

On another note, "Oyster Burns" is a good baseball name. I am also fond of "Suitcase Bob Seeds".

Last edited by Jackmannii; 06-30-2007 at 05:34 PM..
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  #13  
Old 06-30-2007, 10:21 PM
mhendo mhendo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Cheapo
It has happened...

Here's the rule that speaks to it:
http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info..._in_play_5.jsp -> 5.10(a)(1)

Retrosheet.org lists two examples:
http://www.retrosheet.org/courtesy.htm
If you're interested, the Red Sox website has video of the second example, Gabe Kapler's injury from 2005.

Go to this page, scroll down to the September 14 game against the Blue Jays, and click on the "Kapler injured rounding bases" link.
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  #14  
Old 07-01-2007, 12:08 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhendo
If you're interested, the Red Sox website has video of the second example, Gabe Kapler's injury from 2005.

Go to this page, scroll down to the September 14 game against the Blue Jays, and click on the "Kapler injured rounding bases" link.
Good find...and it looks like the replacement runner started running prior to reaching 3rd base, although as several others have pointed out, there is nothing in the rules that says he had to.
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  #15  
Old 07-01-2007, 02:07 PM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJsGirl
Wasn't it Hank Aaron who was stiff-arming fans swarming him on the field while the game was still active after his record-setting home run, so that he would be able to touch all the bases and have the hit count?
As I remember it, two fans came out and ran the bases with Aaron. They didn't get in Aaron's way or otherwise impede him. I'm sure these two guys didn't know that Aaron had been receiving death threats.

Fans are not supposed to do this even in normal circumstances - it's considered trespassing, and fans who go onto the field can be arrested. In my opinion, in this case the two fans really overstepped their bounds. This was Henry Aaron's moment, not theirs.
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  #16  
Old 07-02-2007, 10:03 AM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
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EJs Girl:

Quote:
Wasn't it Hank Aaron who was stiff-arming fans swarming him on the field while the game was still active after his record-setting home run, so that he would be able to touch all the bases and have the hit count?
You might be thinking of Chris Chambliss's home run that won the 1976 ALCS for the Yankees. Yankee fans swarmed over the field, and later that night, after the crowd had dispersed, Billy Martin had some of the umpires from the game come out to the field and witness Chambliss touching all four bases again, just so he can't later be challenged on that point.
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  #17  
Old 07-02-2007, 10:15 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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John McGraw had Fred Merkel do the same thing, so he could claim he did touch second base that day.
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  #18  
Old 07-02-2007, 12:21 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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There are many instances in baseball history of fans storming the field especially after game winning hits. Baseball didn't really crack down on this until the 1990s.
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  #19  
Old 07-02-2007, 12:55 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anson2995
There are many instances in baseball history of fans storming the field especially after game winning hits. Baseball didn't really crack down on this until the 1990s.
Before WWII, fans sometimes stood on the field during games. It was sometimes practice to sell standing room only tickets and then rope areas off where fans could stand.

I can still remember a lot of championship celebrations in the 1980s when fans rushed the field. I can distinctly recall, when the Cardinals won the World Series in 1982, fans jumping off the outfield fence to get in on the action. That's a ten foot drop, so these were determined fans. Then security started being really beefed up about 15, 20 years ago, and that's a good thing, IMHO.
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  #20  
Old 07-02-2007, 07:04 PM
JSexton JSexton is offline
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I'm having trouble understanding why this matters. If you knock it out of the park, you score, right? Nothing the opposing team does can stop that?

So...why do you have to touch the bases?
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  #21  
Old 07-02-2007, 07:21 PM
mhendo mhendo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSexton
I'm having trouble understanding why this matters. If you knock it out of the park, you score, right? Nothing the opposing team does can stop that?

So...why do you have to touch the bases?
I think you have it the wrong way around.

The rules define a run, or score, as follows:
Quote:
A RUN (or SCORE) is the score made by an offensive player who advances from batter to runner and touches first, second, third and home bases in that order.
So, by definition, scoring involves touching all the bases in order.

Hitting the ball out of the park does not officially score a run. It simply allows the batter to advance around the bases without being thrown or tagged out. And the rules specifically state that the run isn't scored until all bases have been touched:
Quote:
A fair ball passes over a fence or into the stands at a distance from home base of 250 feet or more. Such hit entitles the batter to a home run when he shall have touched all bases legally.
Bolding mine.

This is why, after someone hits a homer, you see the umpire following him around the bases to make sure that he touches each bag.

It's different, for example, in cricket, where hitting the ball over the fence on the full scores six runs. Those runs are automatically added, and the batter does not have to run up and down the pitch six times in order to score the runs.
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  #22  
Old 07-03-2007, 07:26 AM
Captain Socks Captain Socks is offline
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My dad, who used to be an umpire, says that even though the ball is over the fence, he still has to touch all the bases or he's out.
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  #23  
Old 07-03-2007, 09:26 AM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Socks
My dad, who used to be an umpire, says that even though the ball is over the fence, he still has to touch all the bases or he's out.
Does the batter have the option of staying at, say, second base, and just taking the double ... or would the batter still be out? Ridiculous, of course ... just wondering what the letter of baseball law would say about that.
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  #24  
Old 07-03-2007, 11:46 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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He might get busted for "making a mockery of the game" or however that rule is written.
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  #25  
Old 07-03-2007, 12:10 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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A batter refusing to complete the circuit of the bases after a home run could be ejected by an umpire and a substitute runner put in for him or, even worse, under rule 4.15, could end up having the game forfeited for "Refuses to continue play during a game unless the game has been suspended or terminated by the umpire;" or "After warning by the umpire, willfully and persistently violates any rules of the game;"

Rule 4.09(b) has a provision that in a bases-loaded situation, if a runner on third is forced home with what would be the winning run because of a walk of hit batter, and refuses to touch home, the umpire can call the runner out and order the game continued.
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  #26  
Old 07-03-2007, 12:46 PM
bordelond bordelond is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobT
Rule 4.09(b) has a provision that in a bases-loaded situation, if a runner on third is forced home with what would be the winning run because of a walk of hit batter, and refuses to touch home, the umpire can call the runner out and order the game continued.
It's interesting that this situation is addressed specifically. The implication is that this had been tried in baseball's distant past ... if that is indeed the case, I wonder why?
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  #27  
Old 07-04-2007, 12:35 AM
BobT BobT is offline
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If you were playing the first game of a doubleheader and you knew the nightcap could be rained out or not played because of darkness, you could just have a guy refuse to go home to keep the next game from starting. Or the guy could keep crawling home.

The rule is also in place for other innings, presumably to avoid stalling.
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  #28  
Old 07-04-2007, 12:40 AM
Frylock Frylock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmkeller
EJs Girl:



You might be thinking of Chris Chambliss's home run that won the 1976 ALCS for the Yankees. Yankee fans swarmed over the field, and later that night, after the crowd had dispersed, Billy Martin had some of the umpires from the game come out to the field and witness Chambliss touching all four bases again, just so he can't later be challenged on that point.
Did this really happen?

Is there some rationale for this rule? Why don't they just say "If you hit the ball out of the stadium, then your team is awarded a run for the batter and for every member standing on base, and those team members must now leave the field?"

-FrL-
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  #29  
Old 07-04-2007, 12:41 AM
Frylock Frylock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bordelond
It's interesting that this situation is addressed specifically. The implication is that this had been tried in baseball's distant past ... if that is indeed the case, I wonder why?
I guess a player (or his team) might want to freeze the game for some reason?

-FrL-
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  #30  
Old 07-04-2007, 12:47 AM
BobT BobT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
Did this really happen?

Is there some rationale for this rule? Why don't they just say "If you hit the ball out of the stadium, then your team is awarded a run for the batter and for every member standing on base, and those team members must now leave the field?"

-FrL-
That was the case in 1976 and after that, the rule was changed to allow any automatic runs to count if spectators on the field prevented the players from making the circuit of the bases at the end of the game.
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  #31  
Old 07-05-2007, 01:35 PM
Moirai Moirai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
I guess a player (or his team) might want to freeze the game for some reason?

-FrL-

Sure they might- especially if they had money riding on a game, or were closely associated with people who did. Point spread betting is nothing new, and baseball had a bit of trouble with that in the past...
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  #32  
Old 07-05-2007, 07:08 PM
Frylock Frylock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJsGirl
Sure they might- especially if they had money riding on a game, or were closely associated with people who did. Point spread betting is nothing new, and baseball had a bit of trouble with that in the past...
I was just thinking they might want to freeze the game if they were losing.

-FrL-
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  #33  
Old 07-05-2007, 07:58 PM
mhendo mhendo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frylock
I was just thinking they might want to freeze the game if they were losing.

-FrL-
What possible reason could they have for doing that, apart from some sort of illegal betting racket?
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