How Would You Rule? –XIV
You are presented with a situation that actually occurred or might occur in a game. To play along, decide how you would rule or score. Then click the button to find out what either the umpires or the official scorer actually decided.
Runner Passes Preceding Runner
"Any runner is out when he passes a preceding runner before such runner is out." Rule 5.09 (b)(9)

Situation 1: Runner on 1st, one out.
The batter hits a high fly ball that just clears the outfield fence. The runner on first holds halfway between 1st and 2nd in case the ball is caught. By the time he begins running, the batter, who has been watching the ball and then preening, passes the runner.

Situation 2: Runner on 1st, one out.
Same situation as #1 except that the base runner turns and grabs the batter so that he doesn't pass him. The two then continue, in order, around the bases to home plate.

Situation 3: Runner on 1st, one out.
Same situation as #1 except that the first base coach, sensing that the batter does not realize that he is about to pass the runner, grabs the batter as he rounds 1st and tells him not to pass the runner.

Situation 4: Runners on 1st and 3rd, two outs.
The batter hits a long fly to the outfield. Not sure the ball will travel over the fence, the batter runs hard around first. However, the runner on 1st, convinced the ball will clear the fence, jogs toward 2nd. Still looking at the ball as it sails over the fence, the batter passes the runner on 1st.

Reference: "'Do Not Pass' is a Fundamental but Sometimes Ignored Rule of Baserunning", Rich Marazzi, Baseball Digest, July/August 2019


Pitcher Throws Ball into Dugout

Situation: August 20, 2009 - Red Sox vs. Blue Jays; fourth inning

Brett Cecil is pitching for Toronto. Jason Bay draws a leadoff walk. After ball four is called, C Rod Barajas weakly throws the ball back to Cecil, who misses the catch. Cecil then walks over to the ball, looks at it quickly, and throws it into the Blue Jays dugout.

Is there any consequence to the pitcher's action?

Reference: So You Think You Know Baseball?, Peter E. Meltzer (2013)
Batter Injured Running Out Home Run
The batter hits a long shot down the LF line that would easily clear the fence, but there is some doubt whether it is fair or foul. As the batter trots to 1st, intensely watching the ball to be certain that it remained in fair territory, he trips over 1B while jumping for joy, and turns his ankle. The fair ball is signaled a home run by the umpire, but it is physically impossible for the batter to circle the bases because of his injured ankle.
The manager asks the umpire if he can insert a pinch-runner to complete the circuit around the bases.

Reference: The Rules and Lore of Baseball, Rich Marazzi (1980)
Rebound Home Run
1952: Western League game between Denver and Omaha.

Situation: Bill Pinckard of Denver socked a drive to deep left field. Omaha LF Dick Cordell leaped high for the ball as he crashed into the fence, but Pinckard's blow ticked his glove and hit the fence, then came back to clip Cordell in the forehead and richochet over the retaining barrier.
After a long argument with the managers of both teams, the umpires awarded Pinckard a home run.
That was the only run in the game and gave Pinckard the league HR crown and Denver the pennant.

Was the umpires' ruling of a HR correct?

Reference: The Rules of Baseball: An Anecdotal Look at the Rules of Baseball and How They Came to Be,
David Nemec (1994)
Runner Misses Home Plate

Nyjer Morgan
August 28, 2010: St. Louis @ Washington

Situation: Nationals have the bases loaded in the bottom of the 8th.

Willie Harris hits a double to clear the bases. However, Nyjer Morgan, the runner on 1st, misses home plate after running into C Bryan Anderson. Ivan Rodriguez, who just scored, pushes Morgan back toward the plate, and Nyjer touches home before being tagged.

Reference: "Rule Review: Baserunning is touchy subject,"
Rich Marazzi, USA Today Sports Weekly, Sept. 1-7, 2010

Ivan Rodriguez
DH Plays RF in Top of 1st

Manny Ramirez
July 22, 1999: Toronto @ Cleveland

Situation: Indians manager Mike Hargrove listed cleanup hitter Manny Ramirez as the designated hitter and #7 hitter Alex Ramirez as the right fielder. However, the wrong Ramirez - Manny - player RF in the top of the 1st instead of Alex.

What happens in terms of the DH?

Reference: So You Think You Know Baseball? Peter E. Meltzer, 2013

Alex Ramirez
Manager Asks for Review of Call That Ruled His Runner Safe

Nate Freiman
July 3, 2015: Toronto Blue Jays @ Oakland A's

Situation: Top of 2nd; bases loaded and one out.

Anthony Gose hit a sharp grounder to 1B. Nate Freiman fielded the ball cleanly and tried to make a tag on Munenori Kawasaki, the runner on 1B, before throwing home. The 1B umpire ruled that Kawasaki avoided the tag and immediate­ly made the safe sign. Since the force play at home was still in effect, C Stephen Vogt recorded the out when he caught the ball with a foot on the plate. Strangely, the Toronto manager John Gibbons argued the call at 1st even though his runner had been called safe and asked for a video review.

Why would he do that?

John Gibbons
Reference: "Baseball Rules Corner," Rich Marazzi, Baseball Digest, January/February 2015
Foul Tip Off Catcher's Glove

Steven Souza
September 19, 2017: Chicago Cubs @ Tampa Bay Rays

Situation: Bottom of 6th; Steven Souza batting with 3-2 count, two outs, and bases empty.

Souza foul tips the pitch from Mike Montgomery. The ball caroms off the glove of C Willson Contreras, who cradles the ball just to the side of his chest projector.

Is the batter out?

Willson Contreras
Reference: "Baseball Rules Corner," Rich Marazzi, Baseball Digest, March/April 2018
First Baseman Yogi?

Johnny Pesky
July 4, 1949: Red Sox vs Yankees at Yankee Stadium

Situation: Top of 9th, bases loaded and one out with Yankees leading 3-2

Al Zarilla hit a shot into RF. Johnny Pesky, the runner on 3rd, broke for the plate but, hearing 3B coach Kiki Cuyler yelling at him to tag up, went back to 3rd. But as Pesky reached the bag, he saw Ted Williams, the runner on 2nd, bearing down on him. Williams screamed at Johnny to go home because the ball had dropped for a base hit. Pesky stumbled momentarily, then raced home. RF Cliff Mapes fielded and threw over the cut off man to home plate. The ball reached Yogi Berra on one hop. The Yankee C stretched like a 1B to snag the ball a fraction of a second before Pesky slid in. Home plate umpire Joe Papparella, seeing no tag, called the runner safe.

Yogi Berra
Reference: "It's Uncommon for a Force Play to Develop at Home Plate, Baseball Digest, Oct/Nov 2008, Rich Marazzi (1980)

Chub Feeney

Brawl Breaks Out While Play Is Live

May 6, 1973: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants

Situation: Bottom of 4th. Milt Pappas pitching for the Cubs. One out. Dave Rader on 1st. P Jim Barr batting.

As Rader takes off for 2B, Pappas throws a pitch that sails behind Barr to the backstop. C Randy Hundley retrieves the ball and, noticing Rader heading for 3rd, fires the ball into LF to enable Rader to score easily. In the meantime, Barr charges the mound, accusing Pappas of throwing at him. Players from both benches pour onto the field, and a brawl ensues. The Cubs protest the game to NL President Chub Feeney, saying that Rader's run should not count since players from both teams were on the field.

Reference: The Rules and Lore of Baseball, Rich Marazzi (1980)

Grand Slam Lost

Situation: July 4, 1976 - The Phillies have the bases loaded with nobody out in a game at Pittsburgh. Tim McCarver hits a long fly. Thinking the ball might be caught, the runner on 1st, Garry Maddox, goes back to tag up. Watching his clout go over the fence, McCarver passes his teammate, and 1B umpire Ed Vargo gives the out sign. How is the play scored?

Reference: "When baserunners pass each other, who's out?", Rule Review, Rich Marazzi, USA Today Sports Weekly, July 21-27, 2010