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View Full Version : Can a umpire call "play ball"?


David3
09-13-2008, 11:53 AM
My friend asked me if is this situation legal or illegal.

B1 hit double. After he reached the second base a coach took the offensive time and B1 went to him. Then B1 goes back and stays 5 feet before third base. F1 has a ball and stays on the rubber.

Can a umpire call "play ball" or not? If not, why?

I think it is legal under OBR because a runner must retouch the base only after foul ball but this situation isn't baseball , that's like "Cuban fake" :wink:

dash_riprock
09-13-2008, 12:30 PM
SSShhh!!! For God's sake, please don't tell any major league managers about this.

The umpire will require the runner to return to 2nd base before the ball is put in play. If he refuses, he gets ejected.

carolinablue
09-13-2008, 12:33 PM
Like already stated, I would tell the runner to get back to second. If I am F1 I would not get on the rubber until the runner returned. I would point him out to the umpire if needed.

umpduck11
09-13-2008, 02:51 PM
Although the rules say a player must retouch his base in this situation, most umpires will put the ball into play if the runner goes back to the
vicinity of that base. There's no way anyone I know would allow a situation like yours to occur.

Tim_C
09-13-2008, 03:21 PM
Other than Rich Ives (for some reason he is unbelieving of this) this is how this rule evolved.

During the 1950's Don Hoak (who gained most his fame playing third base for the championship 1960 Pirates) when being a base runner would, after a foul ball uncaught, take a position about a foot from the next base.

When the umpire would place the ball into play he would step on the bag and "steal" the base. During the season the rule was changed and worded "to return and touch the last legally occupied base" (my words).

This has slowly evolved into being in "vicinty".

This same rule goes for the OP.

Regards,

Rich_Ives
09-13-2008, 04:03 PM
Other than Rich Ives (for some reason he is unbelieving of this) this is how this rule evolved.

During the 1950's Don Hoak (who gained most his fame playing third base for the championship 1960 Pirates) when being a base runner would, after a foul ball uncaught, take a position about a foot from the next base.

When the umpire would place the ball into play he would step on the bag and "steal" the base. During the season the rule was changed and worded "to return and touch the last legally occupied base" (my words).

This has slowly evolved into being in "vicinty".

This same rule goes for the OP.

Regards,

I'm the ONLY person that asked for documentation? Amazing!


How many people believe that Jim Piersall ran the bases in reverse order on his 100th HR - causing the "travesty" rule to be added? Lots. Flat out not true though.

DaveReed
09-15-2008, 01:16 AM
Rich,
Here is a reference that says that Hoak was the cause of the rule:

http://www.aarongubin.com/sports/baseball/

Rich_Ives
09-15-2008, 04:24 AM
Rich,
Here is a reference that says that Hoak was the cause of the rule:

http://www.aarongubin.com/sports/baseball/

From a book written in 1998? I've seen published reports of the Pierdall reverse running story.

How about a newspaper account of the game in question?

Can anyone document that the rule change was made then and not earlier?

DaveReed
09-15-2008, 06:53 AM
Sorry Rich, I should have said a little more in my previous post. Actually, I thought TimC was just "firing for effect", and I posted the link to show that he hadn't made it up out of the whole cloth. I've since searched in Google, and I now realize that he apparently believes the tale.

I don't own a JEA, but I imagine that if the Hoak story were true, Evans would write about it, and illustrate how the rule was changed. Perhaps somebody could check on that?

The following link seems to show that runners have been required to return to their base after an uncaught (meaning not gloved on the first bounce or fly :wink: ) foul ball since the 1860s, and that they were originally liable to be put out if the ball could be returned to the base before the runner. In 1887, the rule was changed to allow the runner free return to the base. But for approximately the last one and one half centuries, the runner has been required to return. In those early days, the ball became live once the pitcher had it in his possession, while he was in the pitcher's box. Of course, with the ball automatically becoming live, a runner trying to take a lead of 89 feet would easily be put out.

I imagine (but don't know) that with advent of the rubber (1893, I think) and the requirement for the pitcher to be in contact before pitching, the concept of the umpire putting the ball into play would have emerged. It is inconceivable to me that a loophole allowing the runner to advance 89 feet without liability to be put out could have remained unexploited for roughly 50 years. Of course, I've been surprised from time to time.

Note that Hoak is generally listed as the catalyst for the 1956 change to 7.09 that allows two outs to be charged on intentional interference with a batted ball. Perhaps that has lead to some confusion, or perhaps Hoak was just very good at pushing the envelope of the rules!

http://www.19cbaseball.com/rules-foul-fair.html

Ozzy
09-15-2008, 11:00 AM
Other than Rich Ives (for some reason he is unbelieving of this) this is how this rule evolved.

During the 1950's Don Hoak (who gained most his fame playing third base for the championship 1960 Pirates) when being a base runner would, after a foul ball uncaught, take a position about a foot from the next base.

When the umpire would place the ball into play he would step on the bag and "steal" the base. During the season the rule was changed and worded "to return and touch the last legally occupied base" (my words).

This has slowly evolved into being in "vicinty".

This same rule goes for the OP.

Regards,

I'm the ONLY person that asked for documentation? Amazing!


How many people believe that Jim Piersall ran the bases in reverse order on his 100th HR - causing the "travesty" rule to be added? Lots. Flat out not true though.
Maybe because the rest of us don't really care?

Richard_Siegel
09-15-2008, 02:17 PM
The hoak story is true. It is well documented in the book:

The official rules of baseball: An anecdotal look at the rules of baseball and how they came to be

by David Nemec

He has authored over 20 books on the history of baseball. I have the book at home. I read it several years ago.

The travesty rule is attributed to Ty Cobb who would run back to 1B after successfully stealing 2B to try and draw a throw. It was believed that Cobb was frustrated when the defense ingored his base stealing because he was so fast that they were seldom able to retire him anyway. It is truw that Persall ran the base backwards when he hit is 100th HR. I remember hearing my father telling me about this on the day it happened. However, as far as I know, no rules were changed or created as a result of Persall's antics.

DaveReed
09-15-2008, 03:57 PM
The hoak story is true. It is well documented in the book:
The official rules of baseball: An anecdotal look at the rules of baseball and how they came to be
by David Nemec



Great! Would you mind posting the date(s) of the game(s) and the year the rule was changed? The book cited in the link I posted omits any verifiable facts.

Thanks.

BrianC14
09-15-2008, 04:19 PM
Someone else said it in another thread, but it seems necessary to repeat in this one:


"Must be September." :roll:

Richard_Siegel
09-15-2008, 04:54 PM
I was poking around doing some searches on Don Hoak to try and find some reliable info on this issue when I came across numerous references to this:

In a Braves-Reds game on April 21, 1957, Hoak was on second and Gus Bell was on first when Wally Post grounded to shortstop. Hoak fielded the ball himself, flipping it to a stunned Johnny Logan at short. Hoak was declared out for getting hit by a batted ball, but the Reds still had two on and Post was credited with a single. The third such incident involving the Reds that season, it moved league presidents Warren Giles and Will Harridge to jointly announce a rule change that declared both the runner and the batter out if the runner intentionally interfered with a batted ball, with no runners allowed to advance.

I also found this tid-bit too.... interesting...

Joe Pignatano, who has the dubious distinction as the only player to hit into a triple play in his final big league at-bat, is probably the only man in organized baseball history to hit two homers in one inning but only get credit for one.

Playing for Fort Worth in the Texas League in a game against Shreveport in 1956, "Piggy" was listed eighth in the batting order but batted in Maury Wills' seventh spot on his first trip to the plate when he walloped a home run. But Shreveport manager Mel McGaha wisely protested that because Wills failed to bat in turn, Pignatano's home run would be nullified. Wills was ruled out and Pignatano, batting again in his proper spot, went yard again!

umpduck11
09-15-2008, 10:58 PM
It is truw that Persall ran the base backwards when he hit is 100th HR. I remember hearing my father telling me about this on the day it happened. However, as far as I know, no rules were changed or created as a result of Persall's antics.

He ran BACKWARD, not in reverse order, correct ?

Richard_Siegel
09-15-2008, 11:54 PM
It is truw that Persall ran the base backwards when he hit is 100th HR. I remember hearing my father telling me about this on the day it happened. However, as far as I know, no rules were changed or created as a result of Persall's antics.

He ran BACKWARD, not in reverse order, correct ?

From Wikipedia....The veteran outfielder was sent to the New York Mets on May 23, 1963, for cash and a player to be named later. In a reserve role with the second-year team, Piersall played briefly under manager Casey Stengel. In the fifth inning of the June 23 game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Piersall ran the bases while facing backward (though in the correct order) after hitting the 100th home run of his career off Phillies pitcher Dallas Green. One month after reaching the milestone, Piersall was released by the Mets.

widac
09-16-2008, 12:37 AM
My friend asked me if is this situation legal or illegal.

B1 hit double. After he reached the second base a coach took the offensive time and B1 went to him. Then B1 goes back and stays 5 feet before third base. F1 has a ball and stays on the rubber.

Can a umpire call "play ball" or not? If not, why?

I think it is legal under OBR because a runner must retouch the base only after foul ball but this situation isn't baseball , that's like "Cuban fake" :wink:

David3, do you feel like your question has been answered?

carolinablue
09-16-2008, 01:06 AM
What would happen if an umpire wasn't paying attention and called play with a runner on the next base from where he was when the dead ball occured. How should this be handled ?

TejasSlim
09-16-2008, 04:21 AM
The hoak story is true. It is well documented in the book:

The official rules of baseball: An anecdotal look at the rules of baseball and how they came to be

by David Nemec

He has authored over 20 books on the history of baseball. I have the book at home. I read it several years ago.

The travesty rule is attributed to Ty Cobb who would run back to 1B after successfully stealing 2B to try and draw a throw. It was believed that Cobb was frustrated when the defense ingored his base stealing because he was so fast that they were seldom able to retire him anyway. It is truw that Persall ran the base backwards when he hit is 100th HR. I remember hearing my father telling me about this on the day it happened. However, as far as I know, no rules were changed or created as a result of Persall's antics.

Richard,

You have the right team and the correct era for when running the bases in reverse became a travesty of the game. But, it was a teammate of Cobb's who did this trying to draw a throw back to first so a teammate could run from third and score. The name of the player escapes me at this moment. I believe he was a second baseman for the Tigers.

Tejas Slim

umpduck11
09-17-2008, 02:19 AM
It is truw that Persall ran the base backwards when he hit is 100th HR. I remember hearing my father telling me about this on the day it happened. However, as far as I know, no rules were changed or created as a result of Persall's antics.

He ran BACKWARD, not in reverse order, correct ?

From Wikipedia....The veteran outfielder was sent to the New York Mets on May 23, 1963, for cash and a player to be named later. In a reserve role with the second-year team, Piersall played briefly under manager Casey Stengel. In the fifth inning of the June 23 game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Piersall ran the bases while facing backward (though in the correct order) after hitting the 100th home run of his career off Phillies pitcher Dallas Green. One month after reaching the milestone, Piersall was released by the Mets.

Thank you, Richard. I thought I had that right, but I just wanted confirmation.

Chuck

David3
09-17-2008, 10:39 AM
Thank you all for yours look at this situation. David #3