Baseball and a nine-ball walk, according to Cecil.

Given this column:

Is there a link to “baseball law”? Being a hockey player myself, I understand there are current regulations and rules, but baseball still seems to mystify me as to certain origins.

Not pickin’ a debate. Just a hockey player curious about the nuances of baseball.

Just lookin’ for historical references out of curiosity.

Here are the current rules.

If you are looking for the ways the rules have changed over the years, I can’t help you.

Here’s a descrption of the changes up unitl 1899.

The walk on 9 balls was quickly reduced to 7, then to 6, 5, and finally 4 for the obvious reason that otherwise nearly everybody would be called out on strikes.

I personally believe the reason the number of balls necessary for a walk was 9 had to do with the way the numbers 3 and 9 pervade the game of baseball. There are 9 men on a team, there are 3 bases each 90 feet apart, the ball is 9 inches in circumference, 3 strikes and you’re out, 3 outs ends the inning, and there are 9 innings in a game. (In the original rules, there weren’t necessarily 9 innings; the game ended after the first inning in which a team had accumulated 21 runs – but 21 is divisble by 3, too.)

Actually, there are four bases. I haven’t come across anything that substantiates the belief that baseball gives any special status to “3” or “9” in its rules.

No, there are four bases in rounders, but in baseball, there are three bases.

1st, 2nd, 3rd, Home

Looks like 4 to me.

home is a plate, not a base.


And more importantly, as I said in the first place, Rounders actually has a Fourth Base. Elimination of Fourth Base is one of the things that makes Baseball Baseball.


Official Rules: 2.00 Definition of Terms

Ah. I keep forgetting. The official position of Major League Baseball is that Rounders doesn’t exist, along with the first page of “Northanger Abbey” and any other evidence that might upset the Doubleday hoax.

I love a good non sequitur. Baseball has four bases therefore it doesn’t recognize Rounders or the fact that baseball wasn’t invented by Abner Doubleday.

It is a fact that, in Rounders, the batter starts at home, and runs to first, second, third, and fourth base, scoring when he reaches the last. One of the changes from Rounders to Baseball was that fourth base was eliminated, and the runner ended at home, instead.

It is also a fact that establishing the Doubleday hoax meant that Rounders had to be erased from American history.

It is also the case the Major League Baseball has for some time rejected the Doubleday hoax, and recognizes baseball’s evolution from Rounders.

Baseball has 4 bases.

I dunno about rounders, but in Town Ball, as played at the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, the striker starts at a point half-way between fourth stake and first stake. That baseball conflated home and fourth base does not change the fact that there are four bases in baseball.

How many legs does a cow have if you call one of the legs an arm?

Sorry if this seems to be hijack of the thread, but I found OldGuy’s link very interesting:

In it there are a couple of mentions of cricket uniforms and cricket bats, does this imply that cricket was an alternative ballgame prior to the civil war? It’s just that coming from a cricketing country I find the notion of an American cricketing heritage somewhat unsettling in a Twilight Zone kind of way :slight_smile:

I don’t know how prior you mean, but yeah. My source for this is I went to college in Williamsburg, Virginia, where the colonial town employees (it’s supposed to be 1760’s) played cricket frequently.

I’d have to dig for some references, but, yes, many early ballists were also cricketers. Early base ball scoring (the recording of achievements in a game) was similar to cricket scoring.

Not sure I could walk with nine balls…


Yeah, I deserved that smack.

Harry Wright, one of professional baseball’s most influential founders, was born in England and played cricket in New York before turning to baseball. His 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings squad, the first all-professional team, played some cricket matches durings its nationwide tour.