What Is A Walk In Baseball

Intentional Walk (IBB)

An intentional walk happens when the opposing team chooses to intentionally walk a batter, putting him on first base instead of allowing him to attempt to hit the ball. In the context of a game, intentional walks – which count as both a walk for the hitter and a walk permitted by the pitcher – are an essential strategy. When used properly, they may be used to advance a runner to first base, perhaps setting up a double play. At-bats with an exceptional hitter at the plate and an inferior hitter on deck – or when the pitcher’s matchup is more advantageous – are the most likely to result in intentional walks for the pitcher.

Starting with the 2017 season, teams will no longer be required to deliberately walk a hitter if they do not hit him with four balls.

History of the rule

The 2017 season was the first time that teams were permitted to deliberately walk a batter without first throwing four balls – albeit just the fourth ball needed to be purposeful in order for the walk to be counted as such. The goal of standing erect during deliberate walks is to make it easier for him to receive a pitch that is beyond the strike zone. Catchers are required to maintain both feet within the catcher’s box until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand, which is a rule that is strictly enforced.

In A Call

“putting him on,” “giving him a free pass”

Base on balls – Wikipedia

Base on balls (BB), often known as a walk, happens in baseball when a hitter receives four pitches that are deemed balls by the umpire and is then granted first base without the risk of being called out on the pitch. The term “base on balls” is defined in Section 2.00 of baseball’s Official Rules, and more explanation may be found in Section 6.08 of those rules (a). In baseball, it is considered a faux pas for a professional player to physically stroll to first base; the batter-runner and any advancing runners are expected to jog as a result of this practice.

Even though a base on balls, catcher’s interference, or a batter being hit by a pitched ball all result in the batter (and possibly other runners on base) being awarded a base, the term “walk” is usually reserved for bases on balls and does not refer to any of the other methods of reaching base without the batter’s bat coming into contact with a pitched ball.

  1. A hitter who advances to second base on balls is referred to as having been “walked” by the pitcher in most circles.
  2. The hitter is credited with an RBI if he draws a walk with the bases loaded and a run is forced to advance, including the runner on third base who is pushed to home plate in order to score a run.
  3. Receiving a hit or an at bat for a batter does not count as time on base or plate appearance, but it does count as time on base and plate appearance for the batter.
  4. A hit by pitch is not statistically considered a walk, despite the fact that the impact is largely the same, with the hitter earning a free pass to first base as a result.
  5. In this case, the ball is dead.
  6. In the event of a walk, the ball remains live: any runner who is not obliged to advance may still attempt to advance at his or her own risk, which may occur in the event of an astealplay, a passed ball, or a wild pitch.
  7. In addition, the batter-runner may attempt to advance beyond first base at his or her own discretion.

This is also addressed in Rule 6.08 of the Code of Civil Procedure. It is possible that ball four may be an apassed ball or a wild pitch, and that an attempt will be made to advance one more base than has been given.


There was no such thing as a “ball” in the early days of baseball. This rule was established by the NABBPin 1863, and was initially intended to be used as a form of unsportsmanlike behavior penalty: When the pitcher repeatedly fails to deliver fair balls to the striker, whether for the apparent purpose of delaying the game or for any other reason, 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 be entitled to the first base; and should any base be occupied at that time, each player occupying it shall be entitled to one base without being put out of the game.

  • It is important to note that this regulation awarded the pitcher a total of 9 balls because each penalty ball could only be called on the third transgression.
  • The hitter had the right to call pitches “high” or “low,” that is, above or below the waist, from 1871 to 1886; a pitch that did not correspond was considered “unfair” during this time period.
  • The National League modified the regulations in 1880, requiring eight “unfair balls” instead of nine to complete a walk instead of nine normal balls.
  • After six balls were necessary for a walk instead of seven, the American Association revised the regulations in 1886.

In 1887, the National League and the American Association agreed to abide by some uniform rule changes, which included the introduction of the strike zone, which defined balls and strikes by rule rather than at the discretion of the umpire, and the reduction of the number of balls required for a walk from seven to five for the first time in baseball history.

Major League Baseball adopted a rule change in 2017 that allows a hitter to be deliberately walked by having the defensive bench indicate to the Umpire before the pitch is delivered.

Intentional base on balls

An intentional base on balls (IBB), also known as an intentional walk, is a subset of the base on balls. It occurs when the defensive team intentionally delivers a walk to the hitter. In Major League Baseball and many amateur leagues, an intentional base on balls is signaled to the home plate umpire by the defensive team’s manager holding up four fingers, at which point the batter is awarded first base without any further pitches being thrown. In Major League Baseball and many amateur leagues, an intentional base on balls is signaled to the home plate umpire by the defensive team’s manager holding up four fingers.

This was the case in several leagues and in Major League Baseball prior to 2017.

In the same way as any ordinary walk does, an intentional walk entitles the batter to first base without the risk of being put out, and also entitled any runners who are forced to advance to second base.

In addition, deliberate walks are frequently used by teams to set up a double play or force out scenario for the following hitter.

Major League Baseball leaders

Rank Player Year Base on balls
1 Barry Bonds 2004 232
2 Barry Bonds 2002 198
3 Barry Bonds 2001 177
4 Babe Ruth 1923 170
5 Mark McGwire 1998 162
Ted Williams 1947 162
Ted Williams 1949 162
8 Ted Williams 1946 156
9 Barry Bonds 1996 151
Eddie Yost 1956 151


James Foxx, André Thornton, Jeff Bagwell and other actors During a big league regular season game, Bryce Harper and Josh Donaldson have each been walked six times. Tommy Byrne and Bruno Haas were the two pitchers who each surrendered 16 bases on balls in a game.

  • Baseball stats and information
  • List of Major League Baseball lifetime bases on balls leaders
  • List of Major League Baseball career total bases leaders
  • List of Major League Baseball career home runs leaders List of Major League Baseball players with the highest career on-base percentage
  • List of Major League Baseball players with the highest lifetime OPS
  • A list of Major League Baseball career strikeout leaders
  • A list of the 3,000-strikeout club


  1. “Official Rules.” Major League Baseball
  2. “Official Rules.” Major League Baseball
  3. “Hustle made Rose revered and infamous,” says ESPN’s Bob Carter. Joe Kay is a slang term for a person who has a stutter or a speech impediment (April 13, 2013). The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “Pete Rose provided hustling, first hit 50 years ago.” The Baseball Commissioner’s Office is a government agency that oversees baseball (August 2000). 6.08 of the Major League Baseball 2001 Official Rules of the Game (a). Triumph Books, p.93 (Rule 6.08(a)).ISBN1-57243-397-3
  4. P.93 (Rule 6.08(a)).ISBN1-57243-397-3
  5. P.93 (Rule 6.08(a)).ISBN1-57 The Baseball Commissioner’s Office is a government agency that oversees baseball (2000). “Official Rules.” Major League Baseball
  6. Bases on balls were counted as hits in Major League Baseball until 1887. Because of the dramatic increase in batting averages, including some that were nearly.500, the experiment was scrapped the following season and has not been repeated. Current record books do not count walks in 1887 as hits
  7. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball (2000).2001 Official Rules of Major League Baseball. Triumph Books. pp.93–94 (Rule 6.08)
  8. “1863 NABBP Rules – Protoball”
  9. Henry Chadwick made the following observation: “One other, and far superior, adjustment that was accepted at this conference was the practice of calling balls on the pitcher when he fails to throw fairly for the bat. The striker had previously been the only one who could be penalized for unfair play, since “strikes” may be called on him for declining to strike at fair balls
  10. However, the pitcher could put in unfair balls with impunity before the change. The introduction of called balls, on the other hand, brought things back into balance, and the rule is currently extremely beneficial in terms of encouraging skillful play.”
  11. s^ It didn’t matter whether or not the pitch really struck the hitter
  12. Rewarding first base on a hit-by-pitch (HBP) was first used in the American Association in 1884 and the National League in 1887
  13. 276–280 in The Sporting News 2001 Official Major League Baseball Fact Book (St. Louis, Missouri: The Sporting News Publishing Company, 2001). 0-89204-646-5
  14. Merrit Kennedy and his wife (23 February 2017). “Major League Baseball Is Preparing To Change Its Intentional Walk Rule.” NPR
  15. “Batting Game Finder: From 1908 to 2018, (requiring BB =6), sorted by greatest BB.” Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 21,2018
  16. “Pitching Game Finder: From 1908 to 2018, (requiring BB =14), sorted by greatest BB.” Baseball Reference. Retrieved August 21,2018
  17. “Batting Game Finder: From 1908 to 2018, (requiring BB

External links

  • Baseball-career Reference.com’s walk leaders
  • Baseball-single-season Reference.com’s walk leaders
  • Baseball-career Reference.com’s walk leaders

Baseball Walks

Is there a limit to the number of balls a hitter may receive in baseball? Indeed, there is a maximum of four balls per player. It’s referred to as a stroll. An automatic walk, also known as a base on balls, occurs when the hitter is eligible to advance to first base by default. Whenever a pitcher delivers four pitches outside of the strike zone that the hitter does not swing at, a walk is called. It is also possible for the hitter to be awarded first base in other instances like as when a pitch is thrown outside of the strike zone and strikes the batter.

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Instead, it is considered a plate appearance.

Catcher’s Interference

Additionally, a hitter may be awarded a walk if the catcher commits a violation of the rules known as a catcher’s interference. This occurs when the catcher physically interferes with the hitter’s ability to hit the pitch, most commonly by making physical contact with the batter during a pitching change.

Intentional Walk

In some cases, if the pitcher is facing an extremely talented and strong batter and there are base runners on base, the pitcher would intentionally toss four consecutive pitches to the batter, resulting in the player being intentionally walked off the field. A home run or similar big hit that would drive in the base runners is being denied to the hitter in order to accomplish this.

Can Runs Be Scored Through Walks?

Yes! Whenever a hitter advances to first base while there is already a runner on first base, the runner is moved to second base, and the batter advances to third base. It is necessary for runners on second and third bases alike to progress to third base, and so on. As long as the bases are loaded (i.e., each position on the field is filled by at least one base runner), all of the runners must advance, including the runner at third base, who advances to home plate and scores. Even while this does not happen very frequently, when it does, it is really significant!

What Is a Walk-Off in Baseball? A Complete Guide

It is possible for a baseball game to come to a close in a variety of ways. A typical game ends with the winning team in the field, recording the third out of the final inning, and then converging around the pitcher’s mound to offer each other congratulatory handshakes and high-fives as they celebrate their victory. Some games, on the other hand, have a completely different atmosphere towards the conclusion of the day. When the offensive squad streams out of the dugout to mob one of their teammates anywhere on the field, the defense is trudging off to the showers in defeat instead of celebrating their own win like the defense did.

What is the definition of a walk-off?

Even though singles and home runs account for the vast majority of walk-off hits, other factors like as sacrifice flies, walks, errors, and hitters hit by pitches can also result in a walk-off.

As a result, whether the home club is batting at the bottom of the ninth inning or in extra innings, the possibility of a walk-off situation exists. When a game goes into extra innings, the only way for the home side to win is in a walk-off scenario.

How Does a Walk-Off Happen?

A walk-off in baseball can occur in practically any situation in which a run can be scored, as long as it gives the home team the lead at the bottom of the ninth inning or in extra innings of play. In the great majority of cases, walk-offs are the consequence of a foul ball being called. The majority of these game-winning hits come in the form of a walk-off home run or a walk-off single in the ninth inning. Walk-off doubles are becoming increasingly rare, while game-ending triples are extremely unusual (there were none in 2019).

  • A runner does not have to be on base in order for a walk-off home run to be successful.
  • If the bases are loaded, a pitcher’s wildness alone might result in a walk-off walk or a hit-by-pitch in the bottom of the ninth.
  • Another option in that scenario is for a pitcher to balk home the game-winning run.
  • When a fly ball is hit with less than two outs, a runner from third base is brought in to score and the game is over.
  • It is also conceivable to attempt to turn a double play with several runners on base and either make an error or fail to record the out that would have ended the inning in a less typical scenario.
  • It is also possible to make a decision as a walk-offfielder.
  • As a result of the batter’s ground ball, the infield attempts to throw the runner out at the plate, but the runner beats the throw and crosses the plate.
  • The following is the breakdown of all 198 walk-off hits in Major League Baseball in 2019 according to stathead:
  • Four mistakes, three fielder’s choices and one hit-by-pitch accounted for the team’s total of 79 hits, including three walk-off grand slams. There were also 16 doubles, 10 walks and eight sacrifice flies.

So Walk-Offs Just End Games Suddenly?

A walk-off score is recorded and the game ends instantly regardless of how many outs are on the board, how many runners are on base (or how many batters are on base). The official baseball rules provide some advice on what constitutes a game-ending run in terms of specifics. As a side point, the rules does not specifically state “walk-off,” merely that the game has ended. “The game ends instantly when the winning run is scored,” according to the regulation book, to put it simply. Runners must not cross paths with one another or they will be called out.

  1. The result of a walk-off is that any future runs that score will not be counted, resulting in a one-run game.
  2. The incident that stands out the most is Exactly when and where this occurred was on September 23, 1908, during a pivotal game in the National League pennant race.
  3. At least, that was the perception.
  4. With two outs remaining in the inning, and the force on Merkle still in place, the play was not yet complete, and the game was still officially undefeated in the eyes of the officials.
  5. The umpire called Merkle out, therefore nullifying the winning run and bringing the game to a close.
  6. Because of their victory, the Cubs won the National League pennant and clinched the World Series title.

It is this occurrence, which has been dubbed “Merkle’s Boner,” that brings attention to the technicality that all runners must legally touch the next base in order for a walk-off to be considered official.

Why Is it Called a Walk-Off?

There are several phrases in baseball’s unofficial dictionary that have been there for so long and have become so intermingled that their origins are unknown, or at the very least are ambiguous. However, despite how widely used the phrase has become, its origins are not just evident, but they are also quite recent. “Walkoff piece” was first used in print in 1988 in a newspaper story quoting Oakland A’s reliever Dennis Eckersley, who referred to each walk-off home run as a “walkoff piece” after hitting a walk-off home run to win the game.

Eventually, the word “walk-off” was abbreviated to “walk-off,” and the phrase gained popularity in succeeding years as it evolved to refer to any circumstance in which the home team scored to win a game, including overtime.

Kirk Gibson’s Walk-Off Home Run

Kirk Gibson is credited with hitting the most famous walk-off home run in baseball history. Gibson was summoned to the mound with two outs and the Los Angeles Dodgers behind 4-3 against the Oakland Athletics in game one of the 1988 World Series — despite the fact that he was suffering from many ailments at the time. I’m sure you’ve guessed what occurred after that.

Walk-Offs: Odds and Ends

  • The Los Angeles Dodgers lead all of Major League Baseball with 12 walk-off victories during the 2019 season (seven came via a home run). There were a total of 10 by the Oakland Athletics, who led the American League in that category (four of which were home runs). The 1959 Pittsburgh Pirates set a record for the most walk-off wins in a season, scoring the winning run 18 times in walk-off manner throughout the season. In addition, Jim Thome holds the record most walk-off home runs, having hit 13 game-winning home runs in his career, which helped the team set an MLB record by winning 19 extra-inning games in a season for the first time in franchise history. Since 1950, home teams have been forced to hit last but have had the option to hit first. David Ortiz owns the playoff record for walk-off home runs, and he is the only player to hit a walk-off home run twice. This did not occur again until 1913, but it did occur frequently enough that four visiting teams had won in walk-off fashion since 1901. The last time this happened was on May 21, 1906, when the Philadelphia Phillies walked off against the St. Louis Cardinals—at St. Louis
  • Another notable incidence of runs being wiped on a walk-off was in the 1999 National League Championship Series, which was similar to Merkle’s Boner. The New York Mets’ Robin Ventura hit what seemed to be the first walk-off grand slam in playoff history in the 15th inning of their game against the Atlanta Braves, with the bases loaded and the score tied (and the first grand slam in extra innings in the postseason). As a result of his teammates swarming him immediately after he reached first base, only one run was credited on his grand slam, resulting in a 4-3 final score although the final score should have been 7-3 as a result of his home run. Despite the fact that the Mets won, I’m sure some bettors in Las Vegas weren’t too pleased with the final result.

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What Is an Intentional Walk in Baseball? The Ultimate Guide

Is it possible that you went to a baseball game so that you could see a specific player, but that guy didn’t get to swing the bat every time he came to the plate? Instead, the player is forced to march down to first base without ever seeing a fastball from the opposing pitcher until he reaches the position. If this is the case, you have watched someone taking a deliberate stroll. So, what exactly is a deliberate walk in the sport of baseball? The term “intentional walk” refers to when a pitcher or team intentionally walks a batter from the opposing team, putting the batter on first base rather than allowing him to hit.

An intentional walk is a new option offered to baseball managers all around the world, and it is becoming increasingly popular.

What Is a Walk in Baseball?

In order to fully realize the context of an intentional walk, it is necessary to first understand what a standard “walk” in baseball looks like. In baseball, a hitter has the possibility to reach base on a base hit if he hits the ball three times in a row with the bat. Unhittable pitches thrown by the pitcher that are determined to be in the strike zone by the umpire (the sports official/referee) are referred to be strikes. If a hitter swings and misses at a pitch, regardless of whether the pitch is in the strike zone or not, the pitch is deemed a strike.

If a pitcher tosses four balls before a hitter puts the ball in play, the pitcher walks the hitter to begin the batting order. As a result, four balls beyond the strike zone result in a walk, which is represented in the scorebooks as a “base on balls” or “BB.”

What Is an Intentional Walk in Baseball?

Even if you’re not a die-hard baseball fan, but rather a casual fan with a basic understanding of the game, intentional walks aren’t too difficult to comprehend. Because, after all, the pitcher has made the deliberate decision to walk the hitter. An intentional walk happens when the defending team’s manager chooses to pitch around a batter and walk him on purpose, therefore putting him on first base instead of allowing the batter to hit. Prior to 2017, a major league baseball catcher would typically stand up from his squatting stance and extend his arm out from the opposite side of the batter to field the ball.

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However, effective with the 2017 season, Major League Baseball altered the intentional walk rule.

An intentional walk is initiated by the fielding team after communicating with the home-plate umpire.

What Does it Mean to Pitch Around a Batter?

Do you want to pitch around a batter? Of course, you want to throw around a hitter while you are pitching. After all, the strike zone is defined by the area surrounding the hitter. However, while this may be the case, it is not exactly what baseball geeks are referring to when they use the phrase “pitching around a hitter.” In contrast, if a pitcher is attempting to work his way around the hitter, he is attempting to be careful. Rather than throwing as many hittable pitches to a batter as the hitter desires, pitchers will pitch around the batter.

The objective is that the batter will swing at one or two close pitches, resulting in a simple out for the fielding club on the next pitch.

The hitter may not pursue after terrible pitches, and as a result, it is extremely conceivable that the manager decides to intentionally walk the batter after a couple of bad pitches.

MLB Intentional Walk Rules

However, even with the 2017 change on focused walks, there aren’t many guidelines that are clearly laid down in black and white when it comes to intentional walks. As you shall see in a moment, the “rules” for taking an intentional stroll are quite loosely defined.

What Is the Point of an Intentional Walk?

There are a variety of various reasons why a manager would wish to deliberately walk a hitter in a game of baseball. Final goal: by putting the batter on first base, all managers want to acquire a competitive edge over their opponent’s squad. Perhaps the most obvious reason is to save the pitcher’s time by not pitching to him in order to face the next hitter, whom the manager believes to be a less difficult player to strike out. This is the most often cited reason for taking deliberate walks.

  1. One hopes that the hitter after him will not cause any trouble, such as hitting a base hit that results in a run or two being scored for the other club.
  2. As long as there is only one out and no runners on third base, a team can pitch around the hitter or deliberately walk him to place runners on first base.
  3. It is possible that the manager’s tactic of deliberately walking the hitter will pay off if the pitcher is able to force a groundball that results in a double play.
  4. Occasionally, when a pitcher is in a groove and progressing through a lineup, a manager may choose to intentionally walk the batter who comes up ahead of the pitcher in the hopes of having a pinch-hitter come in and bat for him.

As a result, the successful pitcher is pulled from the game, and the opposition manager is compelled to utilize a player from his bench, which can be beneficial in both situations.

How to Signal an Intentional Walk

As previously stated, catchers used to stand and extend an arm out while pitchers threw four balls outside the batter’s box during the olden days of baseball. That was an obvious indication that someone was taking a deliberate walk in the park. Nevertheless, when Major League Baseball chose to amend the intentional walk rule without having to throw a single pitch, the organization did not give the decision an official stamp of approval. To execute the intentional base on balls, managers employ a mix of signals, such as obtaining the home-plate umpire’s attention by flashing four fingers in the air or simply gesturing the batter to first base, to execute the play.

Can a Batter Refuse an Intentional Walk?

The official baseball rule book states that a walked hitter “must” advance to the next base, just as he would in any other circumstance in which four balls are thrown. The consequences of refusing to comply with an umpire are outlined in rule 8.01: Any player, manager, or coach who fails to comply with an umpire’s order to do or refrain from doing anything that interferes with the administration of the rules and regulations governing play will be ejected from the game. Having said that, numerous baseball experts have advocated for a change to the intentional walk rule in baseball.

Nonetheless, the choice of the fielding team to deliberately walk a batter must be respected for the time being.

MLB Intentional Walk Career Leaders

Based on information from Baseball-Reference.com, the first intentional bases on balls were logged back in 1955. Many different athletes have had their fair share of purposeful walks throughout the course of that period. Among those who have witnessed it the most are homerun slugger Barry Bonds. While playing in the Major League Baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants, Bonds was deliberately walked a total of 688 times throughout his 22-year professional career. Consider this: Albert Pujols (315) and Stan Musial (298), the number two and three players on the list of most deliberate walks taken in a career, respectively, can’t even come close to matching Bonds’ total.

How Many Intentional Walks Are Allowed Per Game?

There is presently no restriction to the number of times a team can use the intentional walk in a single MLB game, nor is there a limit to the number of times a given player can be intentionally walked. Although this guideline is generally followed, it might differ from league to league, particularly in minor sports. Considering the rules of Major League Baseball, it is feasible that a batter will be deliberately struck out every time he or she steps into the batter’s box. In Bonds’ game against the Florida Marlins on May 1st, 2004, he came close to being in this predicament.

No other player has ever been able to take four intentional walks in a single game, and it is possible that this record will never be broken.

Can You Intentionally Walk With the Bases Loaded?

As previously stated, there is no rule that prohibits a club from deliberately walking a hitter with the bases loaded, but it would be counterproductive for the pitching staff. The pitcher would have given up a free run, but the next hitter would still be up with the bases loaded, therefore the game would still be tied. Neither of these are circumstances that teams would want to find themselves in. Pitching to Bonds with a game on the line, on the other hand, is an entirely different situation.

A free run was awarded to the Diamondbacks because they elected to intentionally walk Bonds rather than let him defeat them with a monster hit.

The Diamondbacks won the game 8-7 in extra innings.

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What is an Intentional Walk (Baseball)? – Baseball

An intentional walk (also known as an intentional base on balls) happens when a pitcher throws four balls that are intentionally delivered beyond the batter’s box (i.e., outside the batter’s box with the opposing handedness) such that the hitter is unable to offer at the pitch. This is denoted with the letter IBB by the scorers. Some of you may be wondering why a manager would want to intentionally walk a batter if you are inexperienced with baseball strategy. I mean, it’s a free base, after all!

  • Because the hitter is so dangerous, you would want to face the next hitter rather than the first. This may be referred to as the “Barry Bonds treatment” in current terminology. More information may be found in our infographic, which can be found lower down.
  • You want to create situations where you can force out or double play the ball. A situation when a player is on second base with less than two outs could arise. Alternatively, if runners are on second and third base with any number of outs (but notably with less than two outs), the situation is as follows:
  • At a National League stadium, managers may choose to walk the batter who comes before the pitcher in order to face the lesser batter. This is especially true in the National League and interleague games. Note that when you have someone like Madison Bumgarner or Michael Lorenzen who can smash a home run at the ballpark, as well as many other batters who have come before them, all bets are off.

MLB Rule Change to Intentional Walks (2017)

Whenever there is a discussion about baseball’s declining popularity, the intentional walk tends to be brought up at least once. Even Babe Ruth expressed dissatisfaction with the situation. There were even attempts to outlaw the purposeful walk, but those efforts were unsuccessful. They did, however, result in rules controlling where catchers were required to stand in order to receive the walk. MLB, on the other hand, finally made a big modification to the way intentional walks are handled in 2017.

There will be no more possible wild pitches or walk-off home runs (see pitcher mistakes below).

That was not the case in this instance.

How to Signal an Intentional Walk

Starting from the dugout, the signal for an intentional walk is given by the manager, who will raise four fingers to signify that the batter should be intentionally walked. This is referred to as a “four-finger salute” by some. It is the catcher’s responsibility to communicate with the pitcher once a signal has been received from the manager. By keeping his hand in the direction in which the ball should be pitched, the catcher ensures that the ball always goes away from the hitter and away from him.

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Pitcher’s Responsibility during an Intentional Walk

It appears to be very straightforward, doesn’t it? Toss four balls into the air. That is correct; but, because deliberate walks are not normal, pitchers do not always have the repetitions and muscle memory to rely on in order to complete them properly. When trying an intentional walk, a pitcher might commit two mistakes: throwing the pitch into the strike zone and throwing a wild pitch. Throwing the pitch into the strike zone is the first error. Pitching into the strike zone may be devastating since it is consistently delivered with reduced speed and with little movement, resulting in a blown save.

Take, for example, this walk-off home run after a misdirected intentional ball in the ninth inning: Unintentional wild pitches are another common error that pitchers make.

Because the intentional walk may have been part of a ploy to force the runner out at home base by stacking the bases, a wild pitch will almost certainly result in the runner scoring from third base and the other runner moving up to third base.

So, what can pitchers do to avoid this situation? Every pitcher should devote a portion of his or her practice time to pitching intentional grounders and fly balls. It’s not much, but it’s enough to instill some confidence.

How Does a Pitcher Throw an Intentional Ball?

As previously stated, intentionally throwing a ball causes a pitcher’s usual rhythm to be disrupted. While it may not necessitate a completely new throwing action, it does necessitate a reduction in the pitcher’s regular velocity to a certain extent. Even that, though, might make things more difficult to deal with (hence, the need for practice during bullpen sessions). It is important for the pitcher to deliver the ball around 2 feet off the plate and at the catcher’s eye level in order to make a good throw.

How Many Intentional Walks Allowed Per Game?

All levels of baseball enable teams to take as many deliberate walks as they choose, regardless of their position on the field.

Media (Infographics and Videos) related to Intentional Walks

The Origins of Intentional Walking

Intentional walk – BR Bullpen

When a pitcherdeliberately throws entirely unhittable pitches in order to move the batter to first base, this is referred to as an intentional walk (also known as intentional base on balls or IBB). Researchers Greg Rhodes and Peter Morris’s A Game of Inches claim that they uncovered the first known case of a purposeful stroll when they were conducting research. In a game between theCincinnati Red Stockings and the Olympics of Washington, on June 27, 1870, the following transpired: “The pitcher for the Olympics did everything he could to ensure that George Wright took first base on every called ball, as he preferred George’s style of hitting to the pitcher’s.

  • Normally, he accomplishes this by rising up rather than squatting and stretching one hand out to the side.
  • The catcher must be cautious not to move over to catch the pitch until after the pitcher has thrown; stepping out of his box before the pitcher has thrown will result in an abalk call.
  • For many years, the pitcher had to go through the motions of throwing four pitches outside of the strike zone; he could not just indicate that he was relinquishing the base to the batter as he had done in the past.
  • As part of a series of measures to speed up the flow of the game, Major League Baseball tested the “automatic intentional walk” in the Arizona Fall League in 2014.

After the 2017 season, Major League Baseball implemented a variation of this rule in which the defensive team’s manager only needed to signal his intention of intentionally walking the batter, rather than making any pitches, to allow the batter to proceed directly to first base, rather than having to make any pitches.

  1. When the Chicago Cubs managerJoe Maddon called onMike Montgomery to walk Yadier Molina of the St.
  2. One of the unintended consequences of the regulation modification was that it prompted managers and front-desk personnel to re-evaluate the usage of the purposeful walk as a tactical technique in the first place.
  3. The trend is only expected to continue to decline.
  4. This was the conclusion of the team’s study, which revealed that any short-term advantage obtained by providing a free pass was more than balanced by the additional baserunners and plate appearances earned by opposing hitters in virtually all scenarios.
  5. For any reason, the value of deliberate walks has been subject to substantial discussion, and various managers have chosen quite varied approaches to the intentional walk in their own organizations.
  6. Prior toBarry Bondsbreaking the single-season record with 68 runs in 2002, and then increasing it to the current level of 120 runs two years later, the record was held byWillie McCovey, who had a meager total of 45 runs in his first season.

The fact that statistics on deliberate walks have only been collected independently since 1955 should be mentioned.

All Time Leaders
Span Player Total Notes
Career Barry Bonds 688
Season Barry Bonds 120 2004
Game Andre Dawson 5 16-inning game,May 22,1990
Game Barry Bonds 4 9-inning game,May 1,2004
Game Barry Bonds 4 9-inning game,September 22,2004

Intentional walk with the bases loaded

Player Date League Team Opponent Inning
Abner Dalrymple August 2,1881 National League Chicago Buffalo 8th
Nap Lajoie May 23,1901 American League Philadelphia Chicago 9th
Del Bissonette May 2,1928 National League Brooklyn New York 9th
Bill Nicholson July 23,1944 National League Chicago New York 8th
Barry Bonds May 28,1998 National League San Francisco Arizona 9th
Josh Hamilton August 17,2008 American League Texas Tampa Bay 9th

Further Reading

  • “Astros set MLB record with zero intentional walks in 2019,” USA Today, October 4, 2019
  • Ted Berg, “Long live the four-pitch intentional walk!” “For the Win!”, USA Today Sports, February 22, 2017
  • Bill Deane, “Surprise Swings at Intentional Balls,” in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 40, Number 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 108-109
  • Ted Berg, “Long live the four-pitch intentional walk!”, ” Joe Posnanski: “Anticipated rule could continue decline of IBB”,mlb.com, February 22, 2017
  • Joe Posnanski: “10 questions about new intentional walk rule”,mlb.com, March 3, 2017
  • Mike Petriello: “Say farewell to the intentional walk: Astros on pace to become first team to issue 0 free passes”,mlb.com, July 10, 2019
  • Mike Petriello: “Say farewell to the intentional walk: Astro

Karthik’s Take: Intentional walks are ruining baseball

A Venezuelan baseball player, Herlis Rodriguez, waits for his turn to bat during a Caribbean Series baseball game versus the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at the Teodoro Mariscal stadium in Mazatlan, Mexico. Moises Castillo/AP Photo contributed to this image. The ssl values are as follows: ssl=1 1024w, ssl=1 300w, ssl=1 768w, ssl=1 1536w, ssl=1 2048w, ssl=1 150w, ssl=1 696w, ssl=1 1920w, ssl=1 630w, ssl=1 1392w src=” is- The following data-lazy-sizes are specified: (max-width: 696px) 100vw, 696px” data-lazy-src=”is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0LGODlhAQABAIAAAAAP/yH5BAEAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″> Venezuela’s Herlis Moises Castillo/AP Photo contributed to this image.

The most fundamental level of sports is that they are a kind of entertainment.

Baseball is no exception to this rule.

According to the Major League Baseball, an intentional walk is defined as “the defensive side elects to walk a batter on purpose, putting him on first base instead of allowing him to try to hit” the ball.

This so-called strategic maneuver is the single most tedious letdown of a technique in all of sports, and it has nothing to do with strategy.

Consider the following scenario: Kobe Bryant gets the ball with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center, with the Los Angeles Lakers behind the San Antonio Spurs by one point.

As the Lakers inbound the ball to Bryant at the top of the 3-point line, the suspense grows, but the Spurs take a timeout and determine that allowing him to attempt the potential game-winning shot is too dangerous.

Is it a gratifying ending for a fan who spent his or her hard-earned money to attend a game and experience one of the best NBA players in history in his or her natural environment?

As seen by the fact that league attendance has declined by more than 7 percent since 2015, it is a disservice not just to the fans and players, but also to the league itself.

An inexperienced fan will have a tough time appreciating excellent pitching and subtle defensive shifts by the fielders.

The sight of their favorite players, such as Hulk, slamming the ball out of the park at unprecedented rates delighted the crowd.

This figure solely includes money gained from the games itself, and does not include money collected from outside corporate sponsorships.

For casual spectators, high scoring is more thrilling than strong fundamentals in most situations.

Like Darwin’s theory of natural selection, economic success in the entertainment sector is determined by who survives the longest.

It is the intentional walk that is the most striking example of how baseball as a sport has failed to grasp the need of building a casual fanbase in order to achieve league success.

With the passage of time, it moved from being a game that could only be enjoyed by those who had five days to spare to a worldwide cultural phenomenon that in 2019 alone garnered 462 million spectators for the Indian Premier League.

Because of the shorter game, aggressive hitting is rewarded and encouraged, which is precisely what the spectators come to witness.

Considering that players normally only get three to four hitting tries every game, it becomes even more outrageous for pitchers to be given the choice to forego one of these opportunities to generate excitement among the crowd.

When the Chicago Cubs played the Washington Nationals in a four-game series in 2016, they deliberately walked Bryce Harper 13 times, four of which were intentional, in 19 plate appearances, a total of 19 times.

The challenge that deliberate walks provide is encapsulated in this statement.

“Baseball is what happens between the pitcher and the hitter, or between the batter and the fielders,” remarked Jason Brannanof SB country, a major sports blogging network, while describing intentional walks.

A timid and pathetic strategy for the sake of spectators, and pitchers these days don’t require it.

Baseball as a league cannot afford to continue to tolerate purposeful walking on the field.

In fact, as a result of this, the deliberate walk was employed more frequently around the league in 2017.

If the Major League Baseball does not eliminate the intentional walk, an increasing number of young fans will make the decision to remove MLB coverage from their list of preferred entertainment alternatives.

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