The Rules of 1884, as adopted by the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs
1884 National League Rules from Spalding's Official Base Ball Guide
ADOPTED IN PURSUANCE OF SECTION 51 OF THE LEAGUE CONSTITUTION.
THE MATERIALS OF THE GAME.
(1) Four in number, and designated as First Base, Second Base, Third Base and Home Base.
(2) The Home Base must be of white marble or white stone twelve inches square, so fixed in the ground as to be even with the surface, and so placed in the corner of the infield that two of its sides will form part of the boundaries of said infield.
(3) The First, Second and Third Bases must be canvas bags, fifteen inches square, painted white, and filled with some soft material, and so placed that the center of each shall be upon a separate corner of the infield, the First Base at the right, the Second Base opposite, and the Third Base at the left of the Home Base.
RULE 5. The Pitcher's Lines must be straight lines forming the boundaries of a space of ground, in the infield, six feet long by four feet wide, distant fifty feet from the center of the Home Base, and so placed that the six feet lines would each be two feet distant from and parallel with a straight line passing through the center of the Home and Second Bases. Each corner of this space must be marked by a flat iron plate or stone six inches square, fixed in the ground even with the surface.
RULE 9. The Player's Bench must be furnished by the Home Club, and placed upon a portion of the Ground outside the Players' Lines. It must be twelve feet in length and immovably fashioned to the ground. At each end of such bench must be immovably fixed a bat-rack, with fixtures for holding twenty bats; one such rack must be designated for the exclusive use of the Visiting Club, and the other for the exclusive use of the Home Clib.
RULE 10. The Batsman's Lines must be straight lines forming the boundaries of a space on the right, and of a similar space on the left of the Home Base, six feet long by four feet wide, extending three feet in front of and three feet behind the center of the Home Base, and with its nearest line distant one foot from the Home Base.
RULE 11. The Three Feet Lines must be drawn as follows: From a point on the Foul Line from Home Base to First Base, and equally distant from such bases, shall be drawn a line on Foul Ground, at a right angle to said Foul Line, and to a point three feet distant from it; thence running parallel with said Foul Line, to a point three feet distant from the First Base; thence in a straight line to the Foul Line, and thence upon the Foul Line to point of beginning.
RULE 12. The lines designated in Rules 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 must be marked with chalk or other suitable material, so as to be distinctly seen by the Umpire. They must all be so marked their entire length, except the Captain's and Players' Lines, which must be so marked for a distance of at least thirty-five yards from the Catcher's Lines, or to the limits of the grounds
(1) Must not weigh less than five nor more than five and one-quarter ounces avoirdupois, and measure not less than nine nor more than nine and one-quarter inches in circumference. It must be composed of woolen yarn, and contain not more than one ounce of vulcanized rubber in mould form, and be covered in leather. It must be furnished by the Secretary of the League, whose seal shall be final evidence of the legality of the ball.
(2) In all games the ball or balls played with shall be furnished by the Home Club, and become the property of the winning club.
(3) Should the ball become out of shape, or cut or ripped so as to expose the yarn, or in any way so injured as to be unfit for fair use in the opinion of the Umpire, on being appealed to by either captain, a new ball shall at once be called for by the Umpire.
(1) Must be made wholly of wood.
RULE 17. No person shall be allowed upon any part of the field during the progress of the game, in addition to the nine players on each side and the umpire, except such officers of the law as may be present in uniform to preserve the peace.
RULE 20. Every Club shall furnish sufficient police force upon its own grounds to preserve order, and in the event of a crowd entering the field during the progress of a game, and interfering with the play in any manner, the Visiting Club may refuse to play further until the field be cleared. If the ground be not cleared within fifteen minutes thereafter, the Visiting Club may claim, and shall be entitled to, the game by a score of nine runs to none (no matter what number of innings have been played).
THE PLAYERS AND THEIR POSITIONS.
(1) When in the field (designated "Fielders" in these rules) such as may be assigned them by their Captain, except that the Pitcher must take his position within the Pitcher's Lines, as defined in Rule 5.
(2) When their side goes to the bat the players must immediately return to and seat themselves upon the Players' bench and remain there until the side is put out, except when batsman or base-runner. All bats not in use must be kept in the bat racks, and the two players next succeeding the batsman, in the order in which they are named on the Score, must be ready with bat in hand to promptly take position as batsman: Provided, That the Captain and one assistant only may occupy the space between the Players' Lines and the Captain's Lines to coach Base-Runners.
(3) The Batsmen must take their positions within the Batsman's Lines, as defined in Rule 10, in the order in which they are named on the Score, which must contain the batting order of both nines and must be followed, except in case of disability of a player, in which case the substitute must take the place of the disabled player in the batting order.
RULE 27. A Fair Ball is a ball delivered by the Pitcher, while wholly within the lines of his position and facing the Batsman, and the ball passing over the Home Base at the height called for by the Batsman.
RULE 28. An Unfair Ball is a ball deliverd by the Pitcher as in Rule 27, except that the ball does not pass over the Home Base, or does not pass over the Home Base at the height called for by the Batsman.
(1) A motion made by the Pitcher to deliver the ball to the bat without delivering it, except the ball be accidentally dropped; or,
(2) The ball be held by the Pitcher so long as to delay the game unnecessarily; or,
RULE 30. A Dead Ball is a ball delivered to the bat by the Pitcher, that touches the Batsman's bat, without being struck at, or any part of the Batsman's person while standing in his position, without being struck at, or any part of the Umpire's person, without first passing the Catcher.
RULE 32. A Fair Hit is a ball batted by the Batsman, standing in his position, that first touches the ground, the First Base, the Third Base, the part of the person of a player or any other object that is in front of or on either of the Foul Lines or (exception) batted directly to the ground by the Batsman, standing in his position, that (whether it first touches Foul or Fair Ground) bounds or rolls within the Foul Lines, between Home and First, or Home and Third Bases, without first touching the person of a player.
RULE 33. A Foul Hit is a ball batted by the Batsman, standing in his position, that first touches the ground, the part of the person of a player, or any other object that is behind either of the Foul Lines, or that strikes the person of such Batsman, while standing in his position, or (exception) batted directly to the ground by the Batsman, standing in his position, that, (whether it first touches Foul or Fair Ground) bounces or rolls outside the Foul Lines, between Home and First, or Home and Third bases, without first touching the person of a player.
RULE 34. When a batted ball passes outside the grounds, the Umpire shall decide it fair should it disappear within, or foul should it disappear outside the range of the foul lines, and Rules 32 and 33 are to be construed accordingly.
(1) A ball struck at by the batsman without its touching his bat; or,
(1) If the side first at bat scores less runs in nine innings than the other side has scored in eight innings, the game shall then terminate.
(2) If the side last at bat in the ninth innings scores the winning run before the third man is out, the game shall then terminate.
(3) If the score be a tie at the end of nine innings to each side, play shall only be continued until the side first at bat shall have scored one or more runs than the other side, in an equal number of innings; or until the other side shall score one more run than the side first at bat.
RULE 44. A Drawn Game shall be declared by the Umpire when he terminates a game, on account of darkness or rain, after five innings have been played, if the score at the time is equal to the last even innings played; but (exception) if the side that went second to bat is the at the bat, and has scored the same number of runs as the other side, the Umpire shall declare the game drawn, without regard to the score of the last equal innings.
(1) If the nine of a club fail to appear upon the field, or, being upon the Field, fail to begin the game within five minutes after the Umpire has called "Play" at the hour appointed for the beginning of the game.
(2) If, after the game has begun, one side refuses or fails to continue playing, unless such game has been suspended or terminated by the Umpire.
(3) If, after play has been suspended by the Umpire, one side fails to resume playing within five minutes after the Umpire has called "Play."
RULE 49. The Umpire must call "Play" at the hour appointed for beginning a game. The game must begin when the Umpire calls "Play." When he calls "Time," play shall be suspended until he calls "Play" again, and during the interim no player shall be put out, base be run, or run be scored. The Umpire shall suspend play only for an accident to himself, or a player; (but in case of accident to a Fielder, Time shall not be called unitl the ball be returned to, and held by the Pitcher, standing in his position); or in case rain falls so heavily that the spectators are compelled, by the severity of the storm, to seek shelter, in which case he shall note the time of suspension, and, should such rain continue to fall thirty minutes thereafter, he shall terminate the game. The Umpire shall also declare every "Dead Ball," "Block," "Foul Hit," "Foul Strike," and "Balk."
RULE 50. The Batsman, on taking his position, must call for a "High Ball," a "Low Ball," or a "High or Low Ball," and the Umpire shall notify the pitcher to deliver the ball as required; such call shall not be changed after the first ball delivered. The Umpire shall count and call every "Unfair Ball" delivered by the Pitcher, and every "Dead Ball," if also an "Unfair Ball," as a "Ball;" and he shall also count and call every "Strike." Neither a "Ball" nor a "Strike" shall be called or counted until the ball has passed the Home Base.
(1) If he fails to take his position at the bat in his order of batting, unless the error be discovered, and the proper Batsman takes his position before a fair hit has been made, and in such case the balls and strikes call will be counted in the time at bat of the proper Batsman.
(2) If he fails to take his position within one minute after the Umpire has called for the Batsman.
(3) If he makes a Foul Hit, and the ball be momentarily held by a fielder before touching the ground, provided it be not caught in a fielder's hat or cap, or touch some object other than the fielder before being caught.
(4) If he makes a Foul Strike.
(1) Instantly after he makes a Fair Hit.
(2) Instantly after six Balls have been called by the Umpire.
RULE 53. ''The Base-Runner must touch each Base in regular order, viz: First, Second, Third and Home Bases, and when obliged to return, must do so on the run, and must retouch the base or bases in reverse order. He shall only be considered as holding a base until he has legally touched the next base in order, or has been legally forced to vacate it for a succeeding Base Runner.
(1) If, while he was Batsman, the Umpire called seven Balls.
(2) If the Umpire awards a succeeding Batsman a base on six balls, and the Base Runner is thereby forced to vacate the base held by him.
(3) If the Umpire calls a Balk.
(4) If a ball delivered by the Pitcher pass the Catcher and touch any fence or building within ninety feet of the Home Base.
(5) If he be prevented from making a base by the obstruction of an adversary.
(1) If the Umpire declares a Foul Hit, and the ball be not legally caught by a Fielder.
(2) If the Umpire declares a Foul Strike.
(2) If, having made a Fair Hit while Batsman, such fair-hit ball be momentarily held by a fielder, before touching the ground or any object other than a fielder:Provided, It be not caught in the Fielder's hat or cap.
(3) If, when the Umpire has declared three Strikes on him while Batsman, the third-strike ball be momentarily held by a Fielder before touching the ground:Provided, It be not caught in a fielder's hat or cap, or touch some object other than a Fielder before being caught.
(6) If, in running the last half of the distance between Home Base and First Base, he runs outside the Three Feet Lines, as define in Rule 11, except that he must do so if necessary to avoid a Fielder attempting to field a batted ball, and in such case shall not be declared out.
(7) If, in running from First to Second Base, from Second to Third Base, or from Third to Home Base, he runs more than three feet from a direct line between such bases to avoid being touched by the ball in the hands of a Fielder ; but in case a Fielder be occupying the Base Runner's proper path, attempting to field a batted ball, the the Base Runner shall run out of the path and behind said Fielder, and shall not be declared out for so doing.
(8) If he fails to avoid a Fielder attempting to field a batted ball, in the manner prescribed in (6) and (7) of this Rule, or if he, in any way, obstructs a Fielder attempting to field a batted ball: Provided, That if two or more Fielders attempt to field a batted ball, and the Base Runner comes in contact with one or more of them, the Umpire shall determine which Fielder is entitled to the benefit of this Rule, and shall not decide the Base Runner out for coming in contact with any other Fielder.
(9) If, at any time while the ball is in play, he be touched by the ball in the hand of a Fielder, unless some part of his person is touching a base he is entitled to occupy, provided the ball be held by the Fielder after touching him; but (exception as to First Base), in running to First Base, he may overrun said base without being put out for being off said base after first touching it, provided he returns at once and retouches the base, after which he may be put out at any other base. If, in overrunning First Base, he also attempts to run to Second Base, he shall forfeit such exemption from being put out.
(10) If, when a Fair or Foul Hit ball is legally caught by a Fielder, such ball is legally held by a Fielder on the base occupied by the Base Runner when such ball was struck (or the Base Runner be touched with the ball in the hands of Fielder), before he retouches said base after such Fair or Foul Hit ball was so caught. Provided, That the Base Runner shall not be out in such case, if, after the ball was legally caught as above, it be delivered to the bat by the Pitcher before the Fielder holds it on said base, or touches the Base Runner with it.
(11) If, when a Batsman becomes a Base Runner (''excpet as provided in Rule 54, the First Base, or the First and Second Base, or the First, Second and Third Bases, be occupied, any Base Runner so occupying a base shall cease to be entitled to hold it, until any following Base Runner is put out, and may be put out at the next base or by being touched by the ball in the hands of a Fielder in the same manner as in running to First Base, at any time before any following Base Runner is put out.
(13) If when running to a base or forced to return to a base, he fail to touch the intervening base or bases, if any, in the order prescribed in Rule 53, he may be put out at the base he fails to touch, or being touched by the ball in the hand of a Fielder, in the same manner as in running to First Base. Provided, That he shall not be declared out unless the Captain of the fielding side claim such decision before the ball is delivered to the bat by the Pitcher.
RULE 58. The Umpire shall declare the Batsman or Base Runner out, without waiting for an appeal for such decision, in all cases except where such player is put out in accordance with these rules, except as provided in Rule 57, (10), (13), and (14).
RULE 59. In case of a Foul Strike, Foul Hit not legally caught flying, Dead Ball, or Base Runner put out for being struck by a fair-hit ball, the ball shall not be considered in play until it is held by the pitcher standing in his position.
RULE 60. Whenever a Block occurs, the Umpire shall declare it, and Base Runners may run the bases without being put out, until after the ball has been returned to and held by the Pitcher standing in his position.
RULE 61. One Run shall be scored every time a Base Runner, after having legally touched the three bases, shall touch the Home Base before three men are put out. If the third man is forced out, or is put out before reaching First Base, a run shall not be scored.
RULE 62. If the Pitcher causes the ball to strike the Batsman, and the Umpire be satisfied that he does it intentionally, he shall fine the pitcher therefor in a sum not less than Ten Dollars, nor more than Fifty Dollars. (See League Contract paragraph 11).
RULE 63. No Player except the Captain or his assisstant shall address the Umpire concerning any point of play, and any violation of this Rule shall subject the offender to a fine of five dollars by the Umpire.
(1) Applications for such positions will be received by the Secretary until the 1st day of March.
(2) A written contract shall be made with each of the four umpires selected, stipulating for his service from May 1 to Oct. 15, at a salary of one thousand dollars for such period, payable in equal monthly payments, at the expiration of each month of service. He shall also be allowed and paid his actual expenses while absent from home in the service of the League.
(3) He shall be under the sole control and direction of the Secretary, from whom he will receive all assignments to duty and all instructions regarding the interpretation of the playing rules, and the Secretary shall see that he is proficient in the discharge of his duties, and that he shall appear in proper dress when acting as umpire.
(4) In the envent of the failure of such umpire to umpire a game assigned to him, it shall be the duty of the Secretary to provide a substitute to umpire such game, and, in such case, there shall be deducted from the next monthly payment to the League Umpire the sum of twelve dollars for each game assigned to him, which, for any reason, he shall have failed to umpire.
(5) It shall be the duty of each League Club to accept as Umpire for any championship game such League Umpire or substitute as the Secretary shall assign to such game, and only in the event of the failure of the League Umpire or substitute so assigned to appear at the hour appointed for the beginning of such game, shall the duty devolve upon the visiting glub to designate an Umpire for such game.
(1) Before the commencement of a Match Game, the Umpire shall see that the rules governing all the materials of the game are strictly observed. He shall ask the Captain of the Home Club whether there are any special ground rules to be enforced, and if there are, he shall see that they are duly enforce, provided that they do not conflict with any of these Rules. He shall also ascertain whether the fence directly in the rear of the Catcher's position is distant ninety feet from the Home Base.
The Umpire shall not reverse his decision on any point of play upon the testimony of any player engaged in the game, or upon the testimony of any bystander.
RULE 67. Any League Umpire who shall be convicted of selling, or offering to sell, a game of which he is Umpire, shall thereupon be removed from his official capacity and placed under the same disabilities inflicted on expelled players by the Constitution of the League. (See also Constitution, Section 42.)
(1) The gentleman selected to fill the position of Umpire must keep constantly in mind the fact that upon his sound discretion and promptness in conducting the game, compelling player to observe the spirit as well as the letter of the Rules, and enforcing each and every one of the Rules, largely depends the merit of the game as an exhibition, and the satisfaction of spectators therewith. He must make his decisions distinct and clear, remembering that every spectator is anxious to hear such decision. He must keep the contesting nines playing constantly from the commencement of the game to its termination, allowing such delays only as are rendered unavoidable by accident, injury or rain. He must, until the completion of the game, require the players of each side to promptly take their positions in the field as soon as the third hand is put out, and must require the first striker of the opposite side to be in his position at bat as soon as the fielders are in their places.
(2) The players of the side "at bat" must occupy the portion of the field allocated to them, subject to the condition that they must speedily vacate any portion thereof that may be in the way of the ball, or any fielder attempting to catch or field it. The triangular space behind the Home Base is reserved for the exclusive use of the Umpire, Catcher and Batsman, and the Umpire must prohibit any player of the side "at bat" from crossing the same at any time while the ball is in the hands of the Pitcher or Catcher, or is passing between them, while standing in their positions.
(3) Section 9 of the League Constitution makes the League Umpire a member of the League. During the progress of a game he is the sole representative of the League, to see that the game is played and determined solely on its merits, and these Rules invest him with ample powers to accomplish this purpose. In the performance of his duties he must remember that his sole allegiance is due to the League.
(4) The Umpire is master of the Field from the commencement to the termination of the game, and must compel the players to observe the provisions of all the Playing Rules, and he is hereby invested with authority to order any Player to do or omit to do any act, as he may deem it necessary to give force and effect to any and all of such provisions, and power to inflict upon any player disobeying any such order a fine of not less than five nor more than fifty dollars fo each offense, and to impose a similar fine upon any player who shall use abusive, threatening or improper language to the Umpire, audience, or other player, and when the Umpire shall have so punished the player, he shall not have the power to revoke or remit the penalty so inflicted. (See League Contract, paragraph 11).
(5) The Umpire shall at once notify the Captain of the offending player's side of the infliction of any fine herein provided for, and the club to which such player belongs shall, upon receipt of a notice of said fine from the Secretary of the League, within ten days transmit the amount of such fine to the Secretary of the League.
RULE 69. For the special benefit of the patrons of the game, and because the offenses specified are under his immediate jurisdiction, and not subject to appeal by players, the attention of the Umpire is particularly directed to possible violations of the purpose and spirit of the Rules, of the following character:
(1) Laziness or loafing of players in taking their places in the field, or those allotted them by the Rules when their side is at the bat, and especially any failure to keep the bats in the racks provided for them; to be ready (two men) to take position as Batsmen, and to remain upon the Players' Bench, except when otherwise required by the Rules.
(2) Any attempt by players of the side at bat, by calling to a fielder, other than the one designated by his Captain, to field a ball, or by any other equally disreputable means seeking to disconcert a fielder.
(3) Indecent or improper language addressed by a player to the audience, the Umpire, or any player.
In any of these cases the Umpire should promptly fine the offending player.
(4) The Rules make a marked distinction between hindrance of an adversary in fielding a batted or thrown ball. This has been done to rid the came of the childish excuses and claims formerly made by a Fielder failing to hold a ball to put out a Base Runner, but there may be cases of a Base Runner so flagrantly violating the spirit of the Rules and of the Game in obstructing fielding a thrown ball, that it would become the duty of the Umpire, not only to declare the Base Runner "out" (and to compel any succeeding Base Runners to hold their bases), but also to impose a heavy fine upon him. For example: If the Base Runner plainly strike the ball while passing him, to prevent its being caught by a Fielder: if he hold a Fielder's arms so as to disable him from catching the ball, or if he knock the Fielder down with his fist for the same purpose.
(5) In the case of a "Block," if the person not engaged in the game should retain possession of the ball, or throw, or kick it beyond the reach of the Fielders the Umpire should call "Time," and require each Base Runner to stop at the last base touched by him, until the ball be returned to the Pitcher, standing in his position.
(6) The Umpire must call "Play" at the exact time advertised for beginning a game, and any player not then ready to take the position allotted him, must be promptly fined by the Umpire.
Left as a future typing exercise.
CONSTRUCTION AND AMENDMENTS.