Getting Outs

Among the most fundamental actions in baseball is putting runners and hitters out. While most put-outs are pretty obvious, the issue does beg the question: How many ways are there for runners and batters to be put out?

While preparing to write this article I did a bit of web browsing and found several sites that offered an answer to this question. Oddly, though, very few sites agreed. I found answers that ranged everywhere from from 18 to 136 ways to get an out. The first is clearly wrong, and the second is just plain silly. So let's work through the rule book and see what we come up with.

I come up with 33. That said, there are a few points where interpretations come into play, so I could be off by a few. Let This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. know if you come up with something different (and be sure to include rules reference).

Batter's out

  1. Fly out [ 5.09(a)(1) ]
  2. Strike out; third strike legally caught [ 5.09(a)(2) ]
  3. Swings at strike three and is touched by the ball [ 5.09(a)(6) ]
  4. Out at first base (ground out) [ 5.09(a)(10) ]
  5. Tagged out beyond first base [ 5.09(b)(4) ]
  6. Running lane violation on play to first base [ 5.09(a)(11) ]
  7. Illegally batted ball [ 6.03(a)(1) ]
  8. Bat hits batted ball a second time in fair territory [ 5.09(a)(8) ]
  9. Bunt foul with two strikes [ 5.09(a)(4) ]
  10. Enter the batter's box with an illegal bat [ 6.03(a)(4) ]
  11. Infield fly is declared [ 5.09(a)(5) ]
  12. Infielder intentionally drops fly ball [ 5.09(a)(12) ]
  13. Batter's interference [ 6.03(a)(3) ]
  14. Spectator interference [ 6.01(e) ]
  15. Offensive (team member) interference [ 5.09(a)(15), 6.01(b) ]
  16. Intentionally deflects batted ball in foul territory [ 5.09(a)(9) ]
  17. Hit by his own batted ball outside the batter's box [ 5.09(a)(7) ]
  18. Steps from one batter's box to the other while pitcher is ready to deliver the pitch [ 6.03(a)(2) ]
  19. Preceding runner interferes with opportunity for double play [ 5.09(a)(13) ]
  20. Does not return immediately to first base after overrunning and is tagged [ 5.09(b)(11), 5.09(c)(3) ]

Runner's out

  1. Forced out on infield hit (e.g., fielder's choice) [ 5.09(b)(6) ]
  2. Tagged out [ 5.09(b)(4) ]
  3. Out of the base path to avoid a tag [ 5.09(b)(1) ]
  4. Passing a preceding runner [ 5.09(b)(9) ]
  5. Offensive interference [ 6.01(a) ]
  6. Coach's interference [ 6.01(a)(8) ]
  7. Runs bases in reverse to make travesty of the game [ 5.09(b)(10) ]
  8. Fail to touch home and make no attempt to touch [ 5.09(b-12), 5.09(c)(4) ]
  9. Runner abandons base [ 5.09(b)(2) ]
  10. Missed base advancing or retreating (appeal) [ 5.09(c)(2) ]
  11. Failed to tag up (appeal) [ 5.09(b)(5), 5.09(c)(1) ]

Administrative outs

  1. Batting out of order [ 6.03(b) ]
  2. Illegal substitution [ 5.10(a, d) ]