Base on balls

A base on balls (BB), also known as a walk, occurs in baseball when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls, and is in turn awarded first base without the possibility of being called out. The base on balls is defined in Section 2.00 of baseball's Official Rules,[1] and further detail is given in 6.08(a).[2] It is, however, considered a faux pas for a professional player to actually walk to first base; the batter-runner and any advancing runners normally jog on such a play.[3][4]

The term "base on balls" distinguishes a walk from the other manners in which a batter can be awarded first base without liability to be put out (e.g., hit by pitch (HBP), catcher's interference).[5] Though a base on balls, catcher's interference, or a batter hit by a pitched ball all result in the batter (and possibly runners on base) being awarded a base,[6] the term "walk" usually refers only to a base on balls, and not the other methods of reaching base without the bat touching the ball. An important difference is that for a hit batter or catcher's interference, the ball is dead and no one may advance unless forced; the ball is live after a walk (see below for details).

A batter who draws a base on balls is commonly said to have been "walked" by the pitcher. When the batter is walked, runners advance one base without liability to be put out only if forced to vacate their base to allow the batter to take first base. If a batter draws a walk with the bases loaded, all preceding runners are forced to advance, including the runner on third base who is forced to home plate to score a run; when a run is forced on a walk, the batter is credited with an RBI per rule 10.04.[7]

Receiving a base on balls does not count as a hit or an at bat for a batter but does count as a time on base and a plate appearance. Therefore, a base on balls does not affect a player's batting average, but it can increase his on-base percentage.[8]

A hit by pitch is not counted statistically as a walk, though the effect is mostly the same, with the batter receiving a free pass to first base. One exception is that on a HBP (hit-by-pitch), the ball is dead. On a HBP, any runners attempting to steal on the play must return to their original base unless forced to the next base anyway. When a walk occurs, the ball is still live: any runner not forced to advance may nevertheless attempt to advance at his own risk, which might occur on a steal play, passed ball, or wild pitch. Also, because a ball is live when a base on balls occurs, runners on base forced to advance one base may attempt to advance beyond one base, at their own risk. The batter-runner himself may attempt to advance beyond first base, at his own risk. Rule 6.08 addresses this matter as well.[9] An attempt to advance an additional base beyond the base awarded might occur when ball four is a passed ball or a wild pitch.

Rashad eldridge draws a walk
Rashad Eldridge of the Oklahoma Redhawks walks to first base after drawing a base on balls.

History

In 1880, the National League changed the rules so that eight balls instead of nine were required for a walk. In 1884, the National League changed the rules so that six balls were required for a walk. In 1886, the American Association changed the rules so that six balls instead of seven were required for a walk; however, the National League changed the rules so that seven balls were required for a walk instead of six. In 1887, the National League and American Association agreed to abide by some uniform rule changes and decreased the number of balls required for a walk to five. In 1889, the National League and the American Association decreased the number of balls required for a walk to four.[10] In 2017, Major League Baseball approved a rule change allowing for a batter to be walked intentionally by having the defending bench signal to the Umpire. The move was met with some controversy.[11]

Intentional base on balls

A subset of the base on balls, an intentional base on balls (IBB) or intentional walk is when the pitcher deliberately pitches the ball away from the batter in order to issue a base on balls. As with any other walk, an intentional walk entitles the batter to first base without liability to be put out, and entitles any runners to advance if forced. Intentional walks are a strategic defensive maneuver, commonly done to bypass one hitter for one the defensive team believes is less likely to initiate a run-scoring play (e.g., a home run, sacrifice fly, or RBI base hit). Teams also commonly use intentional walks to set up a double play or force out situation for the next batter.

Intentional walks do carry risks, however. They carry an obvious, inherent risk: they give the offensive team another runner on base, without any effort on their part, who could potentially score a run. They may carry additional risks.

Escobar IBB
Mark Hendrickson of the Florida Marlins intentionally walking the Atlanta Braves' Yunel Escobar in 2008. Note the Florida catcher, Mike Rabelo, in a standing position behind the opposite batter's box to receive the pitch

An intentional walk is signaled by the catcher standing and extending one arm to the side away from the batter. The pitcher then pitches the ball to that side several feet outside from home plate, usually outside the reach of the batter. A ball pitched in this manner is called an intentional ball and counts as a ball in the pitcher's pitch count. In order to count as an intentional ball, the ball must be legally pitched, i.e., the pitcher's foot must be on the pitcher's rubber, the catcher must be in the catcher's box, and the batter must be in the batter's box appearing ready to take a pitch at the time the ball is thrown. An intentional walk may be signaled at any time during the batter's turn at the plate; in these cases only enough additional intentional balls need to be thrown to bring the total to four. Only walks issued by the catcher signaling as described above are recorded as intentional walks (see below); walks issued without the catcher signaling – even if the pitches are intentionally thrown outside of the strike zone – are not recorded as intentional.

Another risk taken by the defensive team in issuing a base on balls is that since intentional balls must be pitched in a legal manner, they can legally become wild pitches or passed balls. Likewise, a baserunner can attempt to steal a base, or the batter can choose to swing at an intentional ball; however, these rarely occur since taking these risks is rarely more beneficial to the offensive team than allowing the walk. In the Major Leagues, the most recent example of a swing at an intentional ball resulting in a hit occurred during a June 22, 2006 game between the Florida Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles. In the top of the 10th inning, with a runner on second base, Baltimore pitcher Todd Williams was signaled to intentionally walk the Marlins' Miguel Cabrera. Noticing that the intentional ball came in too close to the plate, Cabrera swung at the ball, resulting in a base hit, and a run scored for Florida.[12]

Intentional walks also carry other nuanced risks. They might give the subsequent batter the strategic advantage of anticipating that the pitcher will avoid walking him. This subsequent batter might then more aggressively anticipate a pitch in the strike zone. If this batter guesses correctly, he could achieve more success than he otherwise would. Moreover, a subsequent batter might perceive an immediately preceding intentional walk as a slight to his abilities; if such a batter performs better when he feels underestimated by his opposition, an intentional walk could provide a spark.

Though intentional walks are recorded as such in the records of the official scorer, they are combined with standard, non-intentional walks when calculating a player's on-base percentage, and have only received a separate column in a player's statistics since 1955.

Batters, on occasion, have been given intentional walks with the bases loaded (effectively giving the offensive team a risk-free run), although this occurs very infrequently.[13]

A common nickname for the intentional walk is four-finger salute, since most managers call for an intentional walk by holding up four fingers. As of 2017, the manager may simply request to the plate umpire to let the batter go to first instead of having the pitcher waste four outside pitches.

Barry Bonds is the all-time record holder with 688 intentional bases on balls. The next most is Hank Aaron with 293.[14]

Major League Baseball leaders

Single-season

Rank Player Year Base on balls
1 Barry Bonds 2004 232
2 Barry Bonds 2002 198
3 Barry Bonds 2001 177
4 Babe Ruth 1923 170
5 Mark McGwire 1998 162
Ted Williams 1947 162
Ted Williams 1949 162
8 Ted Williams 1946 156
9 Barry Bonds 1996 151
Eddie Yost 1956 151

Game

Jimmie Foxx, Andre Thornton, Jeff Bagwell and Bryce Harper have each been walked six times during a major league regular season game.[15] Among pitchers, Tommy Byrne and Bruno Haas both gave up 16 bases on balls in a game.[16]

See also related lists

References

  1. ^ "Official Rules". Major League Baseball.
  2. ^ "Official Rules". Major League Baseball.
  3. ^ Bob Carter. "Hustle made Rose respected, infamous". ESPN.
  4. ^ Joe Kay (April 13, 2013). "Pete Rose brought hustle, first hit 50 years ago". philly.com.
  5. ^ Office of the Comm'r of Baseball. 2001 Official Rules of Major League Baseball, 6.08(a). Triumph Books. pp. 93 (Rule 6.08(a)). ISBN 1-57243-397-3.
  6. ^ Office of the Comm'r of Baseball (2000). 2001 Official Rules of Major League Baseball. Triumph Books. pp. 93–94 (Rule 6.08(a)-(c)) (describing (a) bases on balls, (b) hit-by-pitched-ball, and (c) interference). ISBN 1-57243-397-3.
  7. ^ "Official Rules". Major League Baseball.
  8. ^ In 1887, Major League Baseball counted bases on balls as hits. The result was skyrocketed batting averages, including some near .500, and the experiment was abandoned the following season. Current record books do not count walks in 1887 as hits.
  9. ^ Office of the Comm'r of Baseball (2000). 2001 Official Rules of Major League Baseball. Triumph Books. pp. 93–94 (Rule 6.08). ISBN 1-57243-397-3.
  10. ^ 2001 Official Major League Baseball Fact Book. St. Louis, Missouri: The Sporting News. 2001. pp. 276–280. 0-89204-646-5.
  11. ^ "Major League Baseball Poised To Change Intentional Walk Rule". npr.org.
  12. ^ "Marlins' Cabrera spoils intentional walk in win". espn.com. 2006-06-22. Archived from the original on 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2007-06-02.
  13. ^ Holtzman, Jerome (May 2000). Free Pass—Players who were intentionally walked with bases loaded – Brief Article. Baseball Digest. Retrieved on 2009-05-13.
  14. ^ "Career Leaders &Records for Intentional Bases on Balls - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  15. ^ "Batting Game Finder: From 1908 to 2018, (requiring BB>=6), sorted by greatest BB". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "Pitching Game Finder: From 1908 to 2018, (requiring BB>=14), sorted by greatest BB". Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 21, 2018.

External links

1887 Major League Baseball season

The 1887 MLB Season was the National League's twelfth season and American Association's sixth season. The Detroit Wolverines defeated the St. Louis Browns in a 15-game World Series match played in ten cities.

The Louisville Colonels set a Major League record which still stands for the most base on balls for a team in a game, with 19 against the Cleveland Blues on the 21st of September.

1908 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1908 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 27th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 17th season in the National League. The Cardinals had a 49–105 win-loss record during the season and finished 8th (last) in the National League. The season's attendance of 185,377, an average of less than 2,500 a game, which remains the lowest peacetime attendance level since 1901. The Cardinals set a Major League record which stills stands for the fewest base on balls by a team in a season, with 282. Additionally, they hold the MLB record for fewest runs scored in a season with 372, only 2.42 runs per contest.

1934 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1934 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the second playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10 at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan, the home of the New York Giants of the National League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 9–7.

The game is well known among baseball historians for the performance of NL starting pitcher Carl Hubbell. After allowing the first two batters to reach base on a single and a base on balls, Hubbell struck out five of the game's best hitters – Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin – in succession, setting a longstanding All-Star Game record for consecutive strikeouts.

At bat

In baseball, an at bat (AB) or time at bat is a batter's turn batting against a pitcher. An at bat is different from a plate appearance. A batter is credited with a plate appearance regardless of what happens during his turn at bat, but a batter is credited with an at bat only if that plate appearance does not have one of the results enumerated below. While at bats are used to calculate certain statistics, including batting average and slugging percentage, a player can qualify for the season-ending rankings in these categories only if he accumulates 502 plate appearances during the season.

A batter will not receive credit for an at bat if his plate appearance ends under the following circumstances:

He receives a base on balls (BB).

He is hit by a pitch (HBP).

He hits a sacrifice fly or a sacrifice bunt (also known as sacrifice hit).

He is awarded first base due to interference or obstruction, usually by the catcher.

He is replaced by another hitter before his at bat is completed, in which case the plate appearance and any related statistics go to the pinch hitter (unless he is replaced with two strikes and his replacement completes a strikeout, in which case the at bat and strikeout are still charged to the first batter).In addition, if the inning ends while he is still at bat (due to the third out being made by a runner caught stealing, for example), no at bat or plate appearance will result. In this case, the batter will come to bat again in the next inning, though the count will be reset to no balls and no strikes.

Rule 9.02(a)(1) of the official rules of Major League Baseball defines an at bat as: "Number of times batted, except that no time at bat shall be charged when a player: (A) hits a sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly; (B) is awarded first base on four called balls; (C) is hit by a pitched ball; or (D) is awarded first base because of interference or obstruction[.]"

Baseball statistics

Baseball statistics play an important role in evaluating the progress of a player or team.

Since the flow of a baseball game has natural breaks to it, and normally players act individually rather than performing in clusters, the sport lends itself to easy record-keeping and statistics. Statistics have been kept for professional baseball since the creation of the National League and American League, now part of Major League Baseball.

Many statistics are also available from outside Major League Baseball, from leagues such as the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players and the Negro Leagues, although the consistency of whether these records were kept, of the standards with respect to which they were calculated, and of their accuracy has varied.

Batting average against

In baseball statistics, batting average against (denoted by BAA or AVG), or opponents' batting average (denoted by OBA) is a statistic that measures a pitcher's ability to prevent hits during official at bats. It can alternatively be described as the league's hitters' combined batting average against the pitcher. It is calculated as: Hits Allowed divided by (Batters Faced minus Walks minus Hit Batsmen minus Sacrifice Hits minus Sacrifice Flies minus Catcher's Interference).

It is calculated as:

for which:

Beau Bell

Roy Chester "Beau" Bell (August 20, 1907 – September 14, 1977) was an American professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1935 to 1941 for the St. Louis Browns, Detroit Tigers, and Cleveland Indians. Bell was named to the 1937 American League All-Star Team.

Bell finished 13th in voting for the 1936 American League MVP for playing in 155 games and having 616 at bats, 100 runs, 212 hits, 40 doubles, 12 triples, 11 home runs, 123 runs batted in, four stolen bases, 60 base on balls, a .344 batting average, .403 on-base percentage, .502 slugging percentage, 309 total bases and six sacrifice hits.

He finished 17th in voting for the 1937 AL MVP for leading the league in hits (218) and doubles (51) and playing in 156 games and having 642 at bats, 82 runs, eight triples, 14 home runs, 117 runs batted in, two stolen bases, 53 base on balls, a .340 batting average, .391 on-base percentage, .509 slugging percentage, 327 total bases and three sacrifice hits. His 51 doubles remains an Orioles single season record.

In seven seasons Bell played in 767 games and had 2,718 at bats, 378 runs, 806 hits, 165 doubles, 32 triples, 46 home runs, 437 runs batted in, 11 stolen bases, 272 base on balls, a .297 batting average, .362 on-base percentage, .432 slugging percentage, 1,173 total bases and 26 sacrifice hits.

An alumnus of the University of Houston and Texas A&M University, he died in College Station, Texas at the age of 70.

Bill Hutchinson (baseball)

William Forrest "Wild Bill" Hutchinson (December 17, 1859 – March 19, 1926) was an American professional baseball player. He was a right-handed pitcher over parts of nine seasons (1884, 1889–1897) with the Kansas City Cowboys, Chicago White Stockings/Colts and St. Louis Browns. He was the National League wins leader for three straight seasons (1890–1892) and strikeout champion in 1892 with Chicago. For his career, he compiled a 182-163 record in 376 appearances, with a 3.59 earned run average and 1,235 strikeouts.During his seven seasons with the Chicago franchise (now the Chicago Cubs) he ranks 4th all-time in franchise history in wins (181), 6th in games pitched (367), 2nd in innings pitched (3021), 6th in strikeouts (1224), 3rd in games started (339), 1st in complete games (317), 10th in shutouts (21), 1st in base on balls allowed (1109), 1st in losses (158), and 1st in wild pitches (120).

He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, attended Yale University, and later died in Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 66.

Carl Warwick

Carl Wayne Warwick (born February 27, 1937) is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played six seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1961 to 1966 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Colt .45s, Baltimore Orioles, and Chicago Cubs. During the 1964 World Series, he set a record by reaching base in his first four plate appearances (three singles and one base on balls) as a pinch hitter, as he helped his Cardinals defeat the New York Yankees in seven games.

Intentional base on balls

In baseball, an intentional base on balls, usually referred to as an intentional walk and denoted in baseball scorekeeping by IBB, is a walk issued to a batter by a pitcher with the intent of removing the batter's opportunity to swing at the pitched ball. A pitch that is intentionally thrown far outside the strike zone for this purpose is referred to as an intentional ball.

Beginning with the 2017 season, Major League Baseball has removed the requirement to throw four intentional balls. In MLB and in amateur baseball, such as high school and college games, and in most levels of Little League Baseball, the manager of the team on the field now simply asks the plate umpire to let the batter go to first base.

List of Major League Baseball career bases on balls allowed leaders

A base on balls (BB), also known as a walk, occurs in baseball when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls, and is in turn awarded first base without the possibility of being called out. The base on balls is defined in Section 2.00 of baseball's Official Rules, and further detail is given in 6.08(a). It is, however, considered a faux pas for a professional player to actually walk to first base; the batter-runner and any advancing runners normally jog on such a play.

This is a list of top 100 Major League Baseball pitchers who have allowed the most walks of all time. Nolan Ryan holds the record for walking the most batters in a career with 2,795. Ryan is the only pitcher in MLB history to walk more than 2,000 batters.

List of Major League Baseball career bases on balls leaders

A base on balls (BB), also known as a walk, occurs in baseball when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls, and is turn awarded first base without the possibility of being called out. The base on balls is defined in Section 2.00 of baseball's Official Rules, and further detail is given in 6.08(a). It is considered a faux pas for a professional player to walk to first base; the batter-runner and any advancing runners normally jog on such a play.The following table lists the top 100 career base on balls leaders in Major League Baseball history. Since 2007, Barry Bonds holds the record for most career walks drawn with 2,558. Rickey Henderson (2,190), Babe Ruth (2,062), and Ted Williams (2,021) are the only other players to draw more than 2,000 walks in their careers. The active leader in walks is Albert Pujols with 1,285.

List of Major League Baseball career intentional bases on balls leaders

In baseball, an intentional base on balls, usually referred to as an intentional walk and denoted in baseball scorekeeping by IBB, is a base on balls (walk) issued to a batter by a pitcher with the intent of removing the batter's opportunity to swing at the pitched ball. A pitch that is intentionally thrown far outside the strike zone for this purpose is referred to as an intentional ball.

Barry Bonds is the all-time leader in intentional bases on balls with 688 career. Bonds is the only player to be intentionally walked more than 400 times. Albert Pujols is second all time and the active leader with 310 career intentional bases on balls and the only other player to be intentionally walked over 300 times.

Plate appearance

In baseball statistics, a player is credited with a plate appearance (denoted by PA) each time he completes a turn batting. Under Rule 5.04(c) of the Official Baseball Rules, a player completes a turn batting when he is put out or becomes a runner. This happens when he strikes out or is declared out before reaching first base; or when he reaches first base safely or is awarded first base (by a base on balls, hit by pitch, catcher's interference, or obstruction); or when he hits a fair ball which causes a preceding runner to be put out for the third out before he himself is put out or reaches first base safely (see also left on base, fielder's choice, force play). A very similar statistic, at bats, counts a subset of plate appearances that end under certain circumstances.

Runs created

Runs created (RC) is a baseball statistic invented by Bill James to estimate the number of runs a hitter contributes to his team.

Strike zone

In baseball, the strike zone is the volume of space through which a pitch must pass in order to be called a strike, if the batter does not swing. The strike zone is defined as the volume of space above home plate and between the batter's knees and the midpoint of their torso. Whether a pitch passes through the zone is decided by an umpire, who is generally positioned behind the catcher.

Strikes are desirable for the pitcher and the fielding team, as three strikes result in a strikeout of that batter. A pitch that misses the strike zone is called a ball (only if the batter doesn't swing). Balls are desirable for the batter and the batting team, as four balls allow the batter to take a "walk" to first base as a base on balls.

Total bases

In baseball statistics, total bases is the number of bases a player has gained with hits. It is a weighted sum for which the weight value is 1 for a single, 2 for a double, 3 for a triple and 4 for a home run. Only bases attained from hits count toward this total. Reaching base by other means (such as a base on balls) or advancing further after the hit (such as when a subsequent batter gets a hit) does not increase the player's total bases. In box scores and other statistical summaries, total bases is often denoted by the abbreviation TB.The total bases divided by the number of at bats is the player's slugging average.

Walk-to-strikeout ratio

In baseball statistics, walk-to-strikeout ratio (BB/K) is a measure of a hitter's plate discipline and knowledge of the strike zone. Generally, a hitter with a good walk-to-strikeout ratio must exhibit enough patience at the plate to refrain from swinging at bad pitches and take a base on balls, but he must also have the ability to recognize pitches within the strike zone and avoid striking out. Joe Morgan and Wade Boggs are two examples of hitters with a good walk-to-strikeout ratio. A hit by pitch is not counted statistically as a walk and therefore not counted in the walk-to-strikeout ratio.

The inverse of this, the strikeout-to-walk ratio, is used to compare pitchers.

Walk percentage

Walk percentage (also known as Base-on-balls percentage, BB%, or BBP) is a baseball statistic criterion.

The purpose of this offensive measurement is to gauge the percentage of a batter's plate appearances that result in the player being walked. A more recently developed statistic than batting average, it is used to determine hitters that have a better plate discipline.

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