1868 NABBP Rules
Text from the 1868 Beadle's Dime Base Ball Player. Changes from the 1867 rules in italics.
ADOPTED BY THE
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BASE-BALL PLAYERS,
THE BALL, BAT AND BASES
SECTION 1. The ball must weigh not less than five, nor more than five and one-quarter ounces avoirdupois. It must measure not less than nine and one-quarter, nor more than nine and one-half inches in circumference. It must be composed of India-rubber and yarn, and covered with leather, and, in all match games, shall be furnished by the challenging club, and become the property of the winning club as a trophy of victory.
SEC. 2. The bat must be round, and must not exceed two and a half inches in diameter in the thickest part. It must be made of wood, and shall not exceed forty-two inches in length.
SEC. 3. The bases must be four in number, placed at equal distances from each other, and securely fastened upon each corner of a square whose sides are respectfully [sic] thirty yards. They must be so constructed and placed as to be distinctly seen by the umpire, and must cover a space equal to one square foot of surface. The first, second and third bases shall be canvas-bags, painted white, and filled with some soft material; the home base and pitcher's points to be each marked by a flat plate, painted white.
SEC. 4. The base from which the ball is struck shall be designated the home base, and must be directly opposite to the second base; the first base must always be that upon the right hand, and the third base that upon the left hand side of the striker, when occupying his position at the home base. And in all match games a line connecting the home and first base and the home and third base shall be marked by the use of chalk, or other suitable material, so as to be distinctly seen by the umpire. The base bag shall be considered the base, and not the post to which it is, or should be, fastened.
THE PITCHING DEPARTMENT
SEC. 1. The pitcher's position shall be designated by two lines two yards in length, drawn at right angles to the line from home to second base, having their centers upon that line at two fixed iron plates, placed at points fifteen and sixteen and one-third yards distant from the home base. The pitcher must stand within these lines, and must deliver the ball as near as possible over the center of the home base, and fairly for the striker.
SEC. 2. Should the pitcher repeatedly fail to deliver to the striker fair balls, for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or for any cause, the umpire, after warning him, shall call one ball, and if the pitcher persists in such action, two and three balls; when three balls shall have been called, the striker shall take the first base; and should any base be occupied at that time, each player occupying it or them shall take one base without being put out. All balls delivered by the pitcher, striking the ground in front of the home base, or pitched over the head of the batsman, or pitched to the side opposite to that which the batsman strikes from, shall be considered unfair balls.
SEC. 3. The ball must be pitched, not jerked or thrown, to the bat; and whenever the pitcher moves with the apparent purpose or pretension to deliver the ball, he shall so deliver it, and must have neither foot in advance of the front line at the time of delivering the ball; and if he fails in either of these particulars, then it shall be declared a balk. The ball shall be considered jerked, in the meaning of the rule, if the pitcher's arm touches his person when the arm is swung forward to deliver the ball; and it shall be regarded as a throw if the arm be bent at the elbow, at an angle from the body, or horizontally from the shoulder, when it is swung forward to deliver the ball.
SEC. 4. No player shall be put out on any hit ball on which a balk or ball has been called; and neither shall a strike or a foul ball be called, or a base run on such a hit ball. But bases can be taken on third “called” balls, and on “balked” balls, in accordance with Section 2 of Rule Second.
THE BATTING DEPARTMENT
SEC. 1. The striker, when about to strike the ball, must stand astride of a line drawn through the center of the home base, not exceeding three feet from either side thereof, and parallel with the front line of the pitcher's position, and he must not take any backwards step when striking at the ball. The penalty for an infringement of this rule shall be the calling of one strike; and when three such strikes have been called, the striker shall be declared out. If a ball on which such a strike is called be hit and caught, either fair or foul, the striker shall be declared out. No base shall be run on any such called strike. But any player running the bases, shall be allowed to return to the base he has left, without being put out. As soon as the striker has struck a fair ball, he shall be considered a “player running the bases.”
SEC. 2. Players must strike in regular rotation, and, after the first innings is played, the turn commences with the player who stands on the list next to the one who was the third player out.
SEC. 3. Should a striker stand at the bat without striking at fair balls, for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or of giving advantage to a player, the umpire, after warning him, shall call one strike; and if he persists in such action, two and three strikes. When three strikes are called, and the ball be caught, either before touching the ground, or upon the first bound, the striker shall be declared out, provided the balls struck at are not those on which the balls or balks have been called; or not those struck at for the purpose of willfully striking out. If three balls are struck at and missed, and the last one is not caught, either flying or upon the first bound, the striker must attempt to make his run, and he can be put out on the bases in the same manner as if he had struck a fair ball.
SEC. 4. The striker is out if a foul ball is caught, either before touching the ground or upon the first bound; or, if a fair ball is struck, and the ball be held before touching the ground; or, if a fair ball is struck, and the ball be held by an adversary on first base, before the striker touches that base.
RUNNING THE BASES
SEC. 1. Players must take their bases in the order of striking; and when a fair ball is struck, and not caught flying, the first base must be vacated, as also the second and third bases, if they are occupied at the same time. Players may be put out on any base, under these circumstances, in the same manner as when running to the first base.
SEC. 2. Any player running the bases is out, if at any time he is touched by the ball, while in play, in the hands of an adversary, without some part of his person being on the base.
SEC. 3. No run or base can be made upon a foul ball. Such a ball shall be considered dead, and not in play, until it shall first have been settled in the hands of the pitcher. In such cases players running bases shall return to them, and may be put out in so returning, in the same manner as when running to first base. Neither can a run or base be made when a fair ball has been caught without having touched the ground; but such a ball shall be considered alive and in play. In such cases also players running the bases shall return to them, and may be put out in so returning, in the same manner as when running to first base; but players, when balls are so caught, may run their bases immediately after the ball has been settled in the hands of the player catching it.
SEC. 4. When a balk is made by the pitcher, every player running the bases is entitled to one base, without being put out.
SEC. 5. A player making the home base shall be entitled to score one run.
SEC. 6. If two hands are already out, no player running home at the time the ball is struck, can make a run to count in the score of the game if the striker is put out.
SEC. 7. Players running bases must touch them, and, so far as possible, keep upon the direct line between them, and must touch them in the following order - first, second, third and home; and if returning, must reverse this order; and should any player run three feet out of this line, for the purpose of avoiding the ball in the hands of an adversary, he shall be declared out, unless he return to such base before the ball be held on it.
SEC. 8. If the player is prevented from making a base by the intentional obstruction of an adversary, he shall be entitled to that base, and shall not be put out. Any obstruction that could readily have been avoided, shall be considered as intentional.
SEC. 1. The game shall consist of nine innings to each side, when, should the number of runs be equal, the play shall be continued until a majority of runs, upon an equal number of innings shall be declared, which shall conclude the game. An innings must be concluded at the time the third hand is put out.
SEC. 2. In playing all matches, nine players from each club shall constitute a full field; and they shall be members of the club which they represent. They also must not have been members of any other club, either in or out of the National Association, for thirty days immediately prior to the match. Positions of players and choice of innings shall be determined by captains previously appointed for that purpose by the respective clubs. Every player taking part in a regular match game, no matter what number of innings are played, shall be, in the meaning of this section of the rules, considered a member of the club he plays with.
SEC. 3. When a club sends a challenge to play a first-nine match game of Base Ball and the same is accepted, the first game shall be played upon the grounds of the challenging club, within fifteen (15) days from the date of the acceptance of the challenge; the second game shall be played shall be played upon the grounds of the challenged club within fifteen (15) days thereafter; and if a third game be necessary, it shall be played upon grounds to be mutually agreed upon, within fifteen (15) days from the date of the second game; provided: that the above arrangement may be varied by mutual consent. And when a first-nine match game is to be played, he contestants shall present on the field their recognized first-nines, as far as practicable.
SEC. 4. Whenever a match shall have been determined upon between two clubs, play shall be called at the exact hour appointed; and should either party fail to produce their players within thirty minutes thereafter, the party so failing shall admit a defeat, and shall deliver the ball before leaving the ground, which ball shall be received by the club who are ready to play, and the game shall be considered as won, and so counted in the list of matches played; and the winning club shall be entitled to a score of nine runs for any game so forfeited, unless the delinquent side fail to play on account of the recent death of one of its members, and sufficient time has not elapsed to enable them to give their opponents due notice before arriving on the ground.
SEC. 5. No person who shall be in arrears to any other club than the one he plays with, shall be competent to play in any match game.
SEC. 6. No player, not in the nine taking their positions on the field in the third innings of a game, shall be substituted for a player, except for reason of illness or injury.
SEC. 7. No match game shall commence when rain is falling; and neither shall any such game be continued after rain has fallen for five minutes. No match game shall be postponed except by mutual consent of the contesting clubs.
SEC. 8. Every match made shall be decided by the best two games out of three, unless a single game shall be mutually agreed upon by the contesting clubs; and all matches shall terminate before the close of the season.
SEC. 9. No person who shall be in arrears to any other club, or shall at any time receive compensation for his services as a player shall be competent to play in any match. No players who play base-ball for money, shall take part in any match game; and any club giving any compensation to a player, or having, to their knowledge, a player in their nine playing in a match for compensation, shall be debarred from membership in the National Association; and they shall not be considered by any club belonging to this Association as a proper club to engage in a match with; and should any club so engage with them, they shall forfeit membership.
SEC. 1. If an adversary stops the ball with his hat or cap, or if a ball be stopped by any person or persons not engaged in the game, no player can be put out unless the ball shall first have been settled in the hands of the pitcher, while he stands in the line of his position.
SEC. 2. Any player who shall intentionally prevent an adversary from catching or fielding the ball, shall be declared out, or if any player be prevented from making a base by the intentional obstruction of an adversary, he shall be entitled to that base, and shall not be declared out even if touched with the ball.
SEC. 3. If a ball be held by a player before touching the ground, after rebounding from the hands or person of a player it shall be considered a fair catch. And if a foul ball be similarly held after touching the ground but once, it shall be considered a fair catch.
SEC. 4. If the ball, from a stroke of a bat, first touches the ground, the person of a player, or any other object, behind the line or range of home and the first base, or home and the third base, it shall be termed foul, and must be so declared by the umpire, unasked. If the ball first touches the ground, either upon or in front of the line or range of those bases, it shall be considered fair.
SEC. 5. Clubs may adopt such rules respecting balls knocked beyond or outside the bounds of the field as the circumstances of the ground may demand; and these rules shall govern all matches played upon the ground, provided that they are distinctly made known to the umpire previous to the commencement of the game.
SEC. 6. The captains of each nine shall alone be allowed to appeal for the reversal of a decision of the umpire.
SEC. 7. No base can be run or player put out on a dead ball.
DUTIES OF THE UMPIRE
SEC. 1. The umpire shall take care that the regulations respecting the ball, bats, bases, and the pitcher's and striker's positions are strictly observed, and he shall require the challenging club to furnish a ball on which the size, weight and the name of the manufacturer shall be stamped. He shall be he judge of fair and unfair play, and shall determine all disputes and differences which may occur during the game. He shall take special care to declare all foul balls and balks immediately upon their occurrence, in a distinct and audible manner. He shall, in every instance, before leaving the ground, declare the winning club, and shall record his decision in the books of the scorers. The umpire shall also require that the game be recorded by a scorer for each of the contesting clubs. In all matches the umpire shall be selected by the captains of the respective sides, and shall perform all duties above enumerated.
SEC. 2. The umpire in any match shall determine when play shall be suspended; and if the game can not be fairly concluded, it shall be decided by the last equal innings, provided five innings have been played; and the party having the greatest number of runs shall be declared the winner.
SEC. 3. When the umpire calls “play”, the game must at once be proceeded with; and the party failing to take their appointed positions in the game within five minutes thereafter shall forfeit the game. When the umpire calls “time”, play shall be suspended until he calls “play” again.
SEC. 4. When the umpire “calls” a game, it shall end; but when he merely suspends play for any stated period, it may be resumed at the point at which it was suspended, provided such suspension does not extend beyond the day of the match.
SEC. 5. No person engaged in a match, either as umpire, scorer or player, shall be either directly or indirectly interested in any bet upon the game. Nor shall any person be permitted to act as umpire or scorer in any match unless he shall be a member of the National Association, or of a state branch thereof. Neither shall the umpire or scorer be changed during a match, unless with the consent of both parties, except for reason of illness or injury, or for a violation of the above rules.
SEC. 6. No decision given by the umpire shall be reversed upon the testimony of any player; and no decision whatever shall be reversed except for a palpable infringement of the rules, and then only on appeal by the captain.
SEC. 7. No person shall be permitted to approach or to speak with the umpire, scorers, or players, or in any manner to interrupt or interfere during the progress of the game, unless by special request of the umpire. Any match game played by any club in contravention to the rules adopted by the National Association, shall be considered null and void, and shall not be counted in the list of match games won or lost.
SEC. 10. Any ball, delivered by the pitcher, on which a balk or a ball has been called, shall be concerned dead and not in play until it has been settled in the hands of the pitcher, while he stands within the lines of his position; and no such ball, if hit, shall put the striker out.
- Both of the above are new sections.
SEC. 15. Or, if three balls are struck at and missed, and the last is caught,
SEC. 16. Or, if a fair ball is struck, and the ball is caught without having touched the ground.
SEC. 22. Players must take their bases in the order of striking; and when a fair ball is struck, and not caught flying, the first base must be vacated, as also the second and third bases, If they are occupied at the same time. Players may be put out on any base, under these circumstances, in the same manner as when running to the first base.
- A player failing to touch his base must be declared out—after an appeal—unless he can return to the base before he is touched.:
SEC. 27. If a ball from the stroke of a bat is held under any other circumstances than as enumerated in Section 22, and without having touched the ground, the striker is out.
by a fair catch, by being touched between home and first base, or by the ball being held by an adversary on the first base, before the batsman reaches it.
SEC. 29. An innings must be concluded at the time the third hand is put out.
- This rule, of course, excludes players belonging to Junior clubs' from taking part in Senior club matches and likewise excludes players belonging to any Base-Ball club.
SEC. 33. , except recording the game, which shall be done by two scorers, one of whom shall be appointed by each of the contending clubs.