Clipping:Discussions of Rule 10

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Date Sunday, June 30, 1867

THE NEW RULE.–Since the change of section 10 of the rules much talk has been indulged in as to the right of making bases on called balls, and the pro and con arguments have been freely discussed.

The rule expressly says that “If a batsman strikes a ball on which one, two or three balls have been called, no player can make a base on such a strike;” further on it says, “in either case the ball shall be considered dead,” etc.

This either case means hitting the called ball, and does not mean that the ball itself is dead. So that, if a player is on a base and “one ball” or “two balls” is called, such player has a perfect right to run, but is liable to be put out by a ball thrown to the baseman from any other player, without the ball going into the hands of the pitcher, provided the ball called is not hit.

A called ball is not a dead ball in the sense of a balked ball. It is, according to the sense of Sec. 6, merely intended as a punishment to the pitcher, and does not make the ball dead; hence, when “three balls” are called, the striker is allowed to take the first base.

The definition of Rule 10, as it now reads, is as follows:–If the batsman, almost simultaneously with the umpire’ call of three balls, hits the called ball, and it be caught on the fly, the striker is not out; and, moreover, he can take his first base on the third ball, just the same as if he had not hit the ball; and so, also, can any base-player [sic], occupying a base at the same time, take a base on the third called-ball. In case of a balked-balled hit by the striker and caught on the fly, however, though the striker is not out, he cannot take a base on the balk, because he is not a player running the base; but any player occupying a base can take a base on the balked-ball. Umpires should study the bearings of this rule well; for though easily interpreted when perfectly understood, a cursory glance at it would lead to some confusion of ideas in defining it. The principle of the rule, however, is that no player can be put out on a hit, balked, or called ball, and that neither can a base-player take a base on a called-ball, except according to such specifications as appear in Rule 6. If a player desires to risk, or attempt to run on a base or called-ball, he can do so; but he cannot be given one on such a ball unless as provided in Rule 6. It should also be borne in mind that if the striker hit a dead-ball foul, the umpire is not to call “foul” as the striker cannot legitimately hit a ball foul unless he strikes at a fair ball. Players occupying bases when balls are called can run on them as before, the ball only being regarded as dead when a called or balked ball is struck at and hit. In such case, the base-player must return and touch his base, as in the case of a foul-ball, leaving it the moment it is settled in the hands of the pitcher.

The fuss made about the recent change in the rules is childish. A mistake in the report of the Committee of Rules led to an error by the Printing Committee. As soon as it was discovered, the President was notified, and he, as the constitution requires him to do, ordered the rule to be corrected as adopted. The Committee are responsible to the next Convention, and to them only.

Source New York Sunday Mercury
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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