Baseball rule changes have occurred many times throughout baseball’s history. In this page we will explore the changes in baseball since the inception of the Knickerbocker Rules of 1845 by Alexander Cartwright
BASEBALL RULE CHANGES OVER THE YEARS
1845: While there are no restrictions on bat size or shape at the game’s inception, the ball is required to weigh three ounces. The pitching distance is to be 45 feet.
1849: The New York Knickerbockers introduced the first uniforms, blue and white cricket outfits.
1854: The ball increases in weight to 51/2 to 61/2 ounces and is required to be 23/4 to 31/2 inches in diameter.
BASEBALL USED IN THE 1800’S
1859: The first limitation of bats sixe is introduced; bats are to be no more than e1/2 inches in diameter (previously a bat like that used in cricket with a 4-inch-wide flat face had been commonplace).
1860: Whitewash is used for the first time to mark the foul lines.
1863: All bats are required to be round and of wood, but the dimensions remain unchanged. Length is still not restricted.
|BASEBALL BATS OF THE 1800’S|
1865: The pitcher’s box is introduced, replacing a 12-foot line. The box is to be a 3-by-12-foot space.
1866: Another change for the pitcher’s box: it is enlarged to a 4-by-6-foot rectangle.
1868: The experimentation continues as the pitcher’s box shrinks to a 4-by-6-foot box. The batter, too, faces a new restriction, as the bat finally has a length limit established: no more than 42 inches long. The Cincinnati Red Stockings introduce knickerbocker trousers.
1869: The pitcher’s box changes again, this time to a 6-foot-square.
1872: The weight standards of the ball are refined (it is required to weigh not less than r or more the 51/4 ounces) and its circumference specified (not less than 9 or more than 91/4 inches).
1875: The glove (unpadded) is introduced, by Charles G. Waite.
1877: The bases must be canvas-covered. The required size of a bas is 15 inches square, which it is to this day. Home plate is relocated to what we now know as its final resting place, just within the diamond at the intersection of the first and third baselines.
1881: The pitchers are moved back 50 feet from the plate.
1882: The 3-foot baseline is adopted.
Baseball rule changes as you can see the rules have changed to develop the game we know today.
1885: Home base specifications permit it to be made of marble or whitened rubber. The bat may have one flattened side. (this change lasts a year)
!886: The pitcher’s box shrinks to 4 by 7 feet. First and third bases are moved within the foul lines.
1887: Home plate now can be made only of rubber; it’s not yet the shape we recognize, but a 12-inch square. Yet another new size is specified for the pitcher’s box: 4 by 51/2 feet.
1893: The pitcher’s plate (to be made of rubber) is introduced and the “box” abandoned; the rubber is 12 by 4 inches. Pitching distance, too, is changed, increased to the 60 6 inch standard it has remained.
EVOLUTION OF THE PITCHER’S RUBBER AND MOUND
FINAL DIMENSIONS OF HOMEPLATE
1895: The pitcher’s rubber is enlarged to 24 by 6 inches, where it is to stay. Bat maximum diameter changes for the last time, increasing to 23/4 inches.
1900: The familiar five-sided, 17 inch-wide plate replaces the 12-inch square.
1904: The height of the pitcher’s mound is limited to 15 inches above the baselines.
1910: The cork-center ball is adopted for regular use (it had been used in the previous year for occasional play).
1920: Enter the “lively ball.” One explanation is a change in the yarn used. Australian yarn is put to use in this year, and it is said to be stronger than its American equivalent. Because the balls are wound together tighter, their bounce and hard-ness are increased.
WOVEN BASEBALL THE “LIVELY” BASEBALL
1926: The cushioned cork-center baseball is introduced.
1934: For the first time, both major leagues are required to adopt the same brand of baseball.
1950: The pitcher’s mound is required to be a standard height: 15 inches above the level of the baselines.
1954: For the first time. The bat is allowed to be made of two or more pieces of wood laminated together.
1959: Minimum fence distances are established for new ball park construction (325 feet down the lines and 400 feet in center field.
PREVIOUS FIELD FENCE DIMENSIONS
1962: Oversize gloves are banned for use by pitchers, infielders, and outfielders. Players are allowed to apply any grip-improving substance to their bats, though not for more than the first 18 inches of its length beginning at the handle.
1968: The pitcher’s mound is lowered to 10 inches.
1971: Protective helmets are required for batters.
1975: The baseball may be covered with cowhide; before this, only horsehide had been allowed. Cupped bats are allowed.
BASEBALL PROTECTIVE HELMETS