The Ole Ball Game

Runner on first,ground ball to second the runner on first never left the base. We threw to first to force the batter. Isn't the runner on first supposed to vacate the base? Ken

by Ken

Photo bill Stanton:

Photo bill Stanton:

Ken asked: Baserunning rules: Runner on first, ground ball to second, the runner on first never left the base. We threw to first to force the batter.

Isn't the runner on first supposed to vacate the base?

Rick answered: Great question Ken.

I don't believe I have ever seen this particular situation come up anywhere. Has had me scrambling to locate a ruling for what you described.

Rule 8 Baserunning-8-2-Art 8...A runner acquires the right to the unoccupied base if he touches it before he is out. He is entitled to this base until he is put out, or until he legally touches the next base while it is unoccupied, or until a following runner is forced(2-24-1) to advance to the base he has occupied.

Rule 8-Baserunning-Section1 When a batter becomes a runner: Art 1... A batter becomes a runner with the right to attempt to score by advancing to first, second, third and home bases in the order listed when:

a. he hits a fair ball

1. He becomes a batter/runner when entitled to run.

When the batter hit the ground ball to second, the runner on first is forced to leave his base, as the batter/runner is forced to run because he hit a fair ball.

When the second baseman threw to first for the out on the batter/runner, it would remove the force on the runner at first.

If the first baseman tags him at first base, I believe he should be out. The defense is not able to throw to second base to get the force out, as that was already removed.

The only other possibility would be that, as long as he was in contact with first base, and the force was removed, he no longer had to vacate.

I could find no definitive rule to cover this.

Sounds like he wasn't called for interference because he was standing on first base when the throw came in.

I would be interested in hearing some more detail on the play and what call the umpires made.

From a coaches standpoint, it is a good idea to teach players to tag everybody in a situation such as this, and let the umpires sort it all out.

You've got to love some of the quirky situations that evolve during baseball games.

Yours in baseball,


Comments for Runner on first,ground ball to second the runner on first never left the base. We threw to first to force the batter. Isn't the runner on first supposed to vacate the base? Ken

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Apr 13, 2018
Runner again entitled to 1st base
by: Carl Moore

With the batter out, the force is removed and that runner touching 1st base is again entitled to that base. There was a case in the majors where, with less than 2 out, runner at 1st was on hands and knees, with feet pointing toward 2nd base, and the fielder goofed by tagging the base before tagging that runner (the batter hadn't reached 1st). So the fielder got only 1 out on that play.

Jan 12, 2018
by: Anonymous

Didn't this happen with Mantle in the 9th of 1960 world series? He returned to 1st after batter was forced out.

Jun 07, 2014
Seen it happen
by: Anonymous

In my younger brother's softball league there was a play like this. The first baseman I believe stepped on the bag before he tagged the runner that was still standing on first. Somehow the umpire called a double play (it doesn't make sense) but I was just really interested if the runner would have been out had he been tagged first while standing on first base. It's cleared up for me now, thank-you.

Jun 23, 2013
It happened today in the Red Sox/Tigers game
by: Anonymous

I'd never seen it before.

Feb 23, 2013
The rule covers the situation
by: Samuel Dunn

As soon as the ball was hit fair, the runner no longer had the right to stay at first. Tag him, he's out. But, if the batter is put out before the runner at first is tagged, the right to the bag has been returned; the runner at first is safe at first.

Jan 16, 2013
Easy double play
by: Al

Just make sure the forced runner is tagged 1st if he/she is standing on the bag. Then touch 1st Base to complete the double play!

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