The Ole Ball Game

When is a Fly ball a Sac Fly ?

by Mike
(New Hampshire)

Mike asked: If a runner is advanced from 2nd to 3rd on a fly ball, is that considered a sac fly and does the batter get charged with an official at bat?

Rick answered: Mike, thank you for your question.

Rule 9.08 Sacrifices

(d)Score a sacrifice fly when, before two are out, the batter hits a ball in flight handled by an outfielder or an infielder running in the outfield, in fair or foul territory that...

(1) is caught, and a runner scores after the catch, or

(2) is dropped, and a runner scores, if in the scorer's judgment the runner could have scored after the catch had the fly been caught.

A runner has to score for the at bat to become recorded as a sac fly. Advancing a runner from first to second, or from second to third with a caught fly ball is an official at bat.

Yours in baseball,


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May 28, 2017
when did sac fly rule change?
by: skip

I am trying to find the year the sac fly rule was changed from merely advancing a runner to having to score a runner.(I think it was in the 1990's)

Jul 09, 2016
Sac fly
by: Rick, theoleballgame

Jim: The answer on the question is straight from the MLB Rule Book, 9.08...Sacrifices.

At a couple of points in time since baseball was created, a Sacrifice Fly was granted the batter, it it advanced a runner from first to second, or from second to third.

Statistical data changes, and this rule is one that has been re-written a couple of times.

There are sacrifice bunts, which do not need to score a run to be granted to the hitter, they only need to advance the runner, or runners, for it to be a sacrifice.

Yours in baseball,


Jul 08, 2016
Need a little more clarification
by: Jim (Phoenix, AZ)

According to the answer, if a runner advances bases but DOES NOT SCORE (i.e., cross home plate), the caught ball is NOT OFFICIALLY listed as a "sac fly."
Is this true with any so-called "sac" play by a batter?
If so, then game announcers have been misleading the watching/hearing public for decades. As they call the game, any batter that gets out but advances a runner by a base has just done a "sac" play (hit, bunt, fly ball, etc).

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