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The situation: a runner on first with 1 out. The batter hit a ground ball to first, but the runner at that base stayed there.

The fielder grabbed the ball, tagged first base, then tagged the runner still occupying the base.

Is he out because he never tried to advance?

  • No, as stated below, but the reverse, in which he tags the "runner" on 1st and then steps on first would result in a double play – qwertylpc Jun 28 '16 at 20:05
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In your scenario, the batter (who becomes a runner upon hitting the ground ball to first) is out and the runner originally on first is safe because the force play had been removed upon putting out the batter. This article asking about a similar circumstance and this question about a batter being put out while the runner stayed on first also alludes to such.


This is addressed under Rule 5.09(b)(6) in the 2016 MLB Rule Book.

Any runner is out when:

  • He or the next base is tagged before he touches the next base, after he has been forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner. However, if a following runner is put out on a force play, the force is removed and the runner must be tagged to be put out. The force is removed as soon as the runner touches the base to which he is forced to advance, and if he overslides or overruns the base, the runner must be tagged to be put out.

The definition of "force play" and the example provided illustrate when the force is removed.

A FORCE PLAY is a play in which a runner legally loses his right to occupy a base by reason of the batter becoming a runner.

Example: Man on first, one out, ball hit sharply to first baseman who touches the bag and batter-runner is out. The force is removed at that moment and runner advancing to second must be tagged.


Note that the runner on 1st is forced to vacate his base, as addressed under Rule 5.06(a)(1):

A runner acquires the right to an unoccupied base when he touches it before he is out. He is then entitled to it until he is put out, or forced to vacate it for another runner legally entitled to that base.

When is another runner legally entitled to first base? When he hits a fair ball. This is addressed under Rule 5.05(a)(1):

The batter becomes a runner when:

  • He hits a fair ball
  • So if I'm reading it right isn't the runner on 1st forced to advance to 2nd – tim Jun 28 '16 at 3:13
  • Yes. That's what rule 5.06(a)(1) states. The force is removed if the batter is put out before the runner. – user527 Jun 28 '16 at 3:50
  • So is the situation different if the fielder tags the runner still standing on 1st, and then tags the base? – user11569 Jun 28 '16 at 12:27
  • I keep reading conflicting rules. Bottom line when the batter hits a ground ball in fair territory is the runner on 1st "forced" to advance – tim Jun 28 '16 at 12:38
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    @PeterCooperJr. Yes. This would be a double play. Rule 5.09(b)(6) states "A runner is out when: He or the next base is tagged before he touches the next base, after he has been forced to advance by reason of the batter becoming a runner." This answer also states "Until the out at first is completed the runner standing on first has no rights to the base." Both answers reference both rules 5.06(a)(1) and 5.09(b)(6). – user527 Jun 28 '16 at 12:40
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The runner on 1st is safe. Making the 1st out out at 1st base removes the runner's obligation to vacate the base. The runner should have been tagged before touching the base.

This happened to the Red Sox in 2013.

"Had Napoli taken a step off the base to receive the throw from Pedroia, he could have tagged Jackson -- and Jackson would have been out just the same as if he'd been running to second base. Napoli then could have stepped on first base to force out Hunter."

http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20130623/SPORTS/306239987

  • Good quote (and good, concise, layman's statement) that explains the scenario the OP is asking about. – user527 Jul 1 '16 at 15:46

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