Is there a common word for "base on (four) balls," hit by pitch, balk, or anything else that might let a batter get on first base without hitting the ball? The term I liked to use was "walk," but I've been told that is synonymous with "base on balls," and doesn't include the others.

Or does it?


No. There really isn't a hypernym for it. Generally they are regarded seperately. There are 4 ways to reach base without putting the ball in play.

  • 4 balls (a walk), this can be from 4 pitches out of the zone or a balk resulting in ball 4
  • HBP (when the batter is hit by the ball)
  • Catcher's interference. Not a common result in MLB but relatively common in little league play. If catcher contacts the batter, the batter is awarded first base. (though like a balk, if live play results and the batting team benefits, they can choose to keep the results of the play).
  • A 3rd strike is dropped and the batter makes it to first base safely. (still scored as a strikeout, just without the out, factored as a K in the batters OBP too)

There really isn't a single word that sums all of these up.

  • What about awarding free bases on thrown balls that go into the stands or dugout? – Jason P Sallinger Jan 8 at 14:23

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