Foul ball

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Nook Logan, of the Erie SeaWolves, hitting a foul ball during a game against the Reading Phillies on July 2, 2006. Nook logan foul ball.jpg
Nook Logan, of the Erie SeaWolves, hitting a foul ball during a game against the Reading Phillies on July 2, 2006.

In baseball, a foul ball is a batted ball that: [1] [2]


The entirety of the batted ball must be on or over foul territory in order to be adjudged foul in the above situations; otherwise it is a fair ball that forces the batter to attempt to reach first base.

A foul fly shall be judged according to the relative position of the ball and the foul line, including the foul pole, and not as to whether the fielder is on foul or fair territory at the time he touches the ball. If the foul ball gets caught, then it would be judged as an out.

Additionally, ballpark ground rules may specify that batted balls striking certain fixed objects such as railings, nets, or a roof if present are foul balls.

Foul territory or foul ground is defined as that part of the playing field outside the first and third base lines extended to the fence and perpendicularly upwards. [2] Note: the foul lines and foul poles are not part of foul territory.

In general, when a batted ball is ruled a foul ball, the ball is dead, all runners must return to their time-of-pitch base without liability to be put out, and the batter returns to home plate to continue his turn at bat. A strike is issued for the batter if he had fewer than two strikes. If the batter already has two strikes against him when he hits a foul ball, a strike is not issued unless the ball was bunted to become a foul ball, in which case a third strike is issued and a strikeout recorded for the batter and pitcher. A strike is, however, recorded for the pitcher for every foul ball the batter hits, regardless of the count. If any member of the fielding team catches a foul ball before it touches the ground or lands outside the field perimeter, the batter is out. However, the caught ball is in play and base runners may attempt to advance.

A foul ball is different from a foul tip, in which the ball makes contact with the bat, travels directly to the catcher's hands, and is caught. In this case, the ball remains live and a strike is added to the batter's count. A batter who hits a foul tip with two strikes on the count is out.

In kickball, foul ball does not make a strike, but four foul balls make an out.


Until the 1920s, Major League Baseball spectators were often ejected if they attempted to keep foul balls, and teams employed security guards to ensure it. Negative public sentiment caused several teams to change their foul ball policies during this period; the New York Giants changed theirs after losing a New York Supreme Court case (Reuben Berman vs. National Exhibition Co.) filed by Reuben Berman. Berman, a businessman, was ejected in 1921 after tossing a foul ball he caught into the stands. [3] [4]


Umpire Bill Miller gives the hand signal for a foul ball Bill Miller umpire signals a foul ball in Texas in 2014.jpg
Umpire Bill Miller gives the hand signal for a foul ball

In different situations, a foul ball may be considered a positive or negative outcome of a pitch or swing.

When there are zero or one strikes, a foul ball counts as a strike, benefiting the pitcher. However, a foul ball may reveal to the batter that he has timed a pitch well and need only make adjustment to the location of his swing on the next such pitch; this is often called a good cut or simply a good swing. Foul balls with two strikes are generally considered positive for the batter, since he thus avoids strike three on a potentially difficult pitch. Also, foul balls with two strikes increase the pitcher's pitch count, adding to his/her fatigue, thus providing some small advantage to the offense.

A strategy of swinging on any ball to try to produce additional fouls and prolong an at-bat is often used against strong pitchers to try to drive them from the game sooner (and also the possibility of the pitcher throwing a pitch a hitter can get a hit on); this does, however, have the disadvantage of generating more strikeouts.[ citation needed ]

In very specific circumstance—such as in the bottom of the ninth inning (or later) of a tie game when a runner is on third base with less than two outs—outfielders may intentionally not catch deep fly balls in foul territory, as catching such a ball would create a sacrifice fly, potentially allowing the winning run to score. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

Base on balls In baseball, reaching base on four balls

A base on balls (BB), also known as a walk, occurs in baseball when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls, and is in turn awarded first base without the possibility of being called out. The base on balls is defined in Section 2.00 of baseball's Official Rules, and further detail is given in 6.08(a). It is considered a faux pas for a professional player to literally walk to first base; the batter-runner and any advancing runners normally jog on such a play.

Strike zone

In baseball, the strike zone is the volume of space through which a pitch must pass in order to be called a strike even if the batter does not swing. The strike zone is defined as the volume of space above home plate and between the batter's knees and the midpoint of their torso. Whether a pitch passes through the zone is decided by an umpire, who is generally positioned behind the catcher.

Softball Team ball sport

Softball is a game similar to baseball played with a larger ball on a field that has base lengths of 60 feet, a pitcher's mound that ranges from 35 to 43 feet away from home plate, and a home run fence that is 220–300 feet away from home plate, depending on the type of softball being played. Softball is played competitively at club levels, the college level, and the professional level.

Bunt (baseball) Batting technique in baseball or fastpitch softball

A bunt is a batting technique in baseball or fastpitch softball. Official Baseball Rules define a bunt as follows: "A BUNT is a batted ball not swung at, but intentionally met with the bat and tapped slowly within the infield." To bunt, the batter loosely holds the bat in front of home plate and intentionally taps the ball into play. A properly executed bunt will create weak contact with the ball and/or strategically direct it, forcing the infielders to make a difficult defensive play to record an out.

Strikeout In baseball, a batter called out due to three strikes

In baseball or softball, a strikeout occurs when a batter accrues three strikes during a time at bat. It usually means the batter is out. A strikeout is a statistic recorded for both pitchers and batters, and is denoted by K in scorekeeping and statistics. A "strikeout looking" — in which the batter does not swing and the third strike is called by the umpire — is usually denoted by a .

Intentional base on balls Walk issued by a pitcher to avoid the potential for the batter to get a hit

In baseball, an intentional base on balls, usually referred to as an intentional walk and denoted in baseball scorekeeping by IBB, is a walk issued to a batter by a pitcher with the intent of removing the batter's opportunity to swing at the pitched ball. A pitch that is intentionally thrown far outside the strike zone for this purpose is referred to as an intentional ball.

In baseball and softball, the count refers to the number of balls and strikes a batter has in their current plate appearance. It is usually announced as a pair of numbers, for example, 3-1, with the first number being the number of balls and the second being the number of strikes. An individual pitch may also be referred to by the count prior to its delivery; for example, a pitch thrown with a count of three balls and one strike would be called a "three-one pitch." A count of 1-1 or 2-2 is called even. Zero is commonly pronounced "oh," although a 0-0 count is rarely expressed as such — the count is typically not mentioned until at least one pitch has been thrown. If the count reaches three strikes, the batter strikes out, and if the count reaches four balls, the batter earns a base on balls.

Out (baseball)

In baseball, an out occurs when the umpire rules a batter or baserunner out. When a batter or runner is out, they lose their ability to score a run and must return to the dugout until their next turn at bat. When three outs are recorded in a half-inning, the batting team's turn expires.

Baseball rules Overview of the rules of baseball at different levels and in different countries

The rules of baseball differ slightly from league to league, but in general share the same basic game play.

Batted ball In baseball, any ball that, after a pitch, is contacted by the batters bat

In the sports of baseball and softball, a batted ball is a pitch that has been contacted by the batter's bat. Depending on where the ball lands, a batted ball can become either a fair ball or a foul ball. If a batted ball is a fair ball, fielders attempt to get the batter out. A foul ball is assessed as a strike unless the batter has already accumulated two strikes, in which case the number of strikes does not increase. Batted balls are also classified by their trajectory. The most common of these trajectory-based classifications are fly balls, line drives, and ground balls.

In baseball, the rules state that a batted ball is considered in flight when it has not yet touched any object other than a fielder or his equipment. Such a ball can be caught by a fielder to put the batter out.

Baseball scorekeeping

Baseball scorekeeping is the practice of recording the details of a baseball game as it unfolds. Professional baseball leagues hire official scorers to keep an official record of each game, but many fans keep score as well for their own enjoyment. Scorekeeping is usually done on a printed scorecard and, while official scorers must adhere precisely to one of the few different scorekeeping notations, most fans exercise some amount of creativity and adopt their own symbols and styles.

The Knickerbocker Rules are a set of baseball rules formalized by William R. Wheaton and William H. Tucker of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1845. They have previously been considered to be the basis for the rules of the modern game, although this is disputed. The rules are informally known as the "New York style" of baseball, as opposed to other variants such as the "Massachusetts Game" and "Philadelphia town ball".

This is an alphabetical list of selected unofficial and specialized terms, phrases, and other jargon used in baseball, along with their definitions, including illustrative examples for many entries.


  1. "Rule 2.00. Definition of terms" (PDF). Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2009-06-13.
  2. 1 2 "Official Baseball Rules" (PDF) (2018 ed.). Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  3. "Reuben Rules Gives Souvenir-Seeking Fans a Reason to Attend". Orlando Sentinel. September 9, 1986.
  4. "Reading Baseball: Remembering Reuben Berman". WSIU. 2021-06-04. Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  5. "Holliday lets foul ball drop to prevent run". MLB. Retrieved December 16, 2021 via YouTube.