Baseball Rule Six

Baseball Rule Six explains all aspects of a batter and batter-runner when a batter is out. You will also find rules concerning the batter’s box and the three-foot running lane


6.01 (a)(b)  Batters must bat in order

6.02  Once the batter is in the batter’s box and the pitcher is set, if he leaves the box the ball remains alive and the umpire calls the result of the pitch. Only the ump can call time. It is at the umpires’ discretion no matter what circumstance occurs.

Example:  There is dust in the batter’s eyes or batter is not set.

    (c) Please notice that baseball rule six pertains to batter delay getting in and out of the box. The umpire directs the pitcher to pitch and calls every pitch a strike!

Note:  If a batter does not enter the box when told and the umpire calls strike three no matter what occurs the batter is out and if runners are on base they can advance at their own risk! Even for a wild pitch or a passed ball the batter is out.

6.02  With some exceptions previously mentioned in baseball rule six, when there are no lines in the batters’ box don’t call infractions, however if lines exist please know the line is part of or within the batters’ box.

6.05  When is a batter OUT?

  (a) A fly ball is caught by a fielder legally.

  (b) He strikes out legally meaning if it is a foul tip, the catcher catches it or if it hits his mitt or hand first, he can smother it against his body or chest protector.

  (c) If first is occupied with less than two outs the batter is out.

  (d) A bunt that is a foul on the third strike according to baseball rule six.

  (f) He strikes at a third strike and it hits him, he is out (the ball becomes dead).

  (g) If the batter hits a fair ball and it hits him outside the batter’s box, he is out.

Note:  Please notice a small portion of the batter’s box is in fair territory.


  (h)  The article below defines rule 6.05(h) taken from Close Call Sports 2012 January 9, 2013

Rule 6.02 specifies that a batter’s legal position is established with both feet within the batter’s box. Subsequently, rule 6.05(h) comment addresses several components of batter’s (non-)interference:

BROKEN BAT (FAIR):  If batted ball hits broken bat in fair territory, there is no interference and the ball is live.

BROKEN BAT (FOUL):  If batted ball hits broken bat in foul territory, the play shall be declared a foul ball.

HELMET (FAIR):  If a fallen batting helmet is accidentally hit with a batted ball in fair territory, it is a fair ball.

HELMET (FOUL):  If a fallen batting helmet is accidentally hit with a batted ball in foul territory, it is a foul ball.

SELF:  If a batter is hit by a batted ball while in the batter’s box immediately after an attempted hit, it is a foul ball.

THROWN BAT:  If a whole bat thrown into fair territory interferes with a defensive player attempting to make a play, it is interference, whether the bat was thrown intentionally or accidentally.

THROWN MISCELLANEOUS EQUIPMENT: If any other equipment is thrown and interferes with a defense player attempting to make a play, it is interference. Elastic clause Rule 9.01(c) covers all other unique situation.

BATTER’S INTERFERENCE IS A JUDGMENT CALL:  Like most other calls in the sport of baseball, offensive (batter’s) interference is a judgment call.  

  (i)  Only call the batter out if the foul ball has a chance of becoming a fair ball.


  (j)  Obviously Read the Rule!

  (k)  In the first base running lane there should be a line three feet (3′) outside of the foul line. In our leagues they are sometimes never there. If it is not there do not call a runner out on a close one.


The rule is designed to protect the “FIELDER who is taking the throw from being illegally screened by the batter-runner who leaves the “Lane” to intentionally crash into the fielder covering first base or to make a fielder alter his throw to first base.

According to baseball rule six a runner does not have to be hit with a throw for interference to be called.

If in the judgment of the umpire he feels the runner blocked the first baseman’s view by “LEAVING” the three-foot lane, call “INTERFERENCE.”

Also, a reference guide when calling the three-foot running lane keep in mind:  The runner is required to have “BOTH FEET” within the three-foot lane or on the lines marking the lane; (no straddling the lines).

The runner can run anywhere he desires, so long as he does not interfere:  if a fielder “DOES NOT MAKE A THROW,” no interference can be called. “NO THROW, NO CALL.” That’s etched in stone.

When calling or not calling the three-foot lane interference, you must take into consideration the quality and the origin of the throw, meaning: (where did the throw come from).

Another rule of thumb is, don’t make this call if the throw has no realistic chance of retiring the batter-runner.

Don’t make the call unless the throw is coming from somewhere behind the runner.

Three-foot lane interference can be called if a batter-runner interferes while running the last 45 feet in foul territory according to baseball rule six.

This could happen if the runner interferes with a throw to first base after a dropped third strike or a throw to first when a fair ball is deflected into foul ground.

Technically, the running lane runs adjacent and past first base in foul territory. Allow the batter-runner to step without penalty inside the foul line as he reaches the immediate vicinity of first base. If a throw strikes the runner just as he steps on the base, let it go since the runner would have been safe anyway.

A runner may and should leave the running lane to avoid a fielder who is in the act of fielding a batted ball.

Remember, three-foot lane interference must be called when the batter-runner interferes with a “THROW GOING TO FIRST BASE”.

  (l) An infielder cannot intentionally drop a fair fly ball or line drive with men on first, first and second, first and third, or bases loaded before two are out. The batter-runner is out. All other runners shall return to their bases at the time of the pitch and the ball is dead.

Remember this above rule (l) is valid even for a bunt. However note on an infield fly rule a bunt does not apply. The difference is in rule 6.06(l) the ball becomes dead. On an infield fly rule according to baseball rule six the ball stays alive; and this section even applies with just a runner on first base.

  (m) In the umpire’s judgment if a preceding runner intentionally interferes with a fielder that is trying to catch or field a ball both the runner and batter are out.

Example:  On a double play the runner sliding into second takes the infielder out and cannot touch the base with his hand or foot. Both the runner and batter are called out. This is where you as an umpire can call two out on one play when interference occurs on that one play.

  (n) When there are two out and two strikes on the batter and a runner comes home from third and a legal pitch hits the runner in the batters strike zone, the ump calls strike three with two strikes the batter is out, no run scores and the inning is over. If less than two outs, it is a strike on the batter. However the run scores and the ball is dead. (remember refers to legal pitch) 

“As a Varsity High School pitcher in my senior year, I started a game at Conrad H.S. in Newport, DE, May of 1968. We were the visiting team. I had a no hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning with one out. Score tied 0 – 0. One of the Conrad hitters hit a line drive to right field. My right fielder tried to make a diving catch to save my no-hitter, a valiant effort. However, the ball went just under his glove and the hitter ended up on third base. Bye-bye no hitter. I was somewhat shaken up. On the next pitch the Conrad coach attempted a suicide squeeze play. I went into my stretch, stepped forward off the rubber and threw the ball to the catcher as hard as I could. Mistake! By stepping forward off the rubber I balked. Runner scored. I got the final two outs. We batted in the top of the seventh and could not score. Final 1-0. This is an example of an illegal pitch. Because of the balk the ball became dead and the runner was awarded one base. This was a difficult loss for me – to lose by one run and pitch a one-hitter. My fault. Our team had scattered hits but could not score in the game.  Bill deMoss

  (o) A batter would be called out if a member of the batter’s team hinders a fielder from fielding or catching a ball that he hit. (see reference 7.11, 7.08b) According to baseball rule six.

6.06 A batter is out for illegal action.

  (a) He hits the ball with one or both feet completely out of the batter’s box. Even if the ball is fair or foul. Always watch the batter’s feet on an intentional walk.

  (b) The batter can’t change from one batter’s box to another during a pitch.

  (c) This interference has to do with the catcher and batter. If the batter impeded the catcher’s throw or any other play, the batter is out and any runner(s) must return to their base or bases. Except if the catcher throws a runner out. Then interference is ignored. According to baseball rule six if a runner from third tries to score and is called out, interference is ignored. (read 6.06(c) book notes – Batters Interference).

 (d) If a batter comes to bat in the batter’s box with an altered bat (read rule for specifics) the batter is out and “EJECTED”. If this is done by a batter, the appeal must be made during his at bat and before a pitch is made to anyone else.

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