The Ole Ball Game

When is it Catcher interference?

by Brett

Rundown, 1926

Rundown, 1926

Brett asked: Runner on third gets in a pickle, runner heading home, catcher is in the base path without the ball, runner makes contact with the catchers glove.

Runner continues home and is thrown out. Is it interference on the catcher?

Runner was called out at home from the tag.

Rick answered: Brett, thank you for your question.

The situation you have described is considered defensive interference, but technically not catcher's interference.

No member of the defensive team may contact the base runner, without the ball in his possession. That constitutes defensive interference.

The ruling on the field in that situation would be immediate, the umpire would stop play at that contact and award the base runner home plate, run scores.

Catcher interference, Rule 6.01, is an act by a fielder that hinders or prevents a batter from hitting a pitch.

(c) The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when the catcher or any fielder interferes with him.

If a play follows the interference, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire that he elects to decline the interference penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play.

However, if the batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batsman, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, the play proceeds without reference to the interference.

In the image above, if the runner can make contact, in the baseline, with any defensive player without the baseball, the ball immediately is declared dead, runner advances to the next base.

Yours in baseball,


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Mar 12, 2017
by: Randy

This question and the answer are very important because these situations do occur. It is equally important that the umpires exercise the proper technique to avoid further complicating the play and umpires call.

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