History of the Ground Rule Double in Baseball


Ground Rule Double pic

Ground Rule Double
Image: mlb.com

An accomplished football and baseball player while at Columbus Academy, Darren Bates is a freshman member of the Brandeis University Judges baseball team. In addition to playing for Columbus Academy and Brandeis University, Darren Bates previously played with the USA Diamondcats and the Old World Baseball Organization team during its European tour.

Known as America’s favorite pastime, baseball has a decorated history in the United States. While other sports have experienced large-scale rule changes (the 3-point shot wasn’t introduced in college basketball, for instance, until the 1986-1987 season), baseball has, for the most part, maintained the same rules. One outlier, however, is the ground rule double, which is now used as a term to represent when a player hits a ball that bounces in the outfield before going over the fence. Today, the player is awarded second base, but before 1931 balls that bounced over the fence were scored as home runs.

Moreover, while the rule has mostly become associated with the aforementioned play, it actually refers to a double that is awarded by an umpire after a ball is deemed unplayable in accordance with the ground rules of respective ball parks. For instance, if a ball becomes lodged in the ivy at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the player who hit the ball is awarded second base. Any other plays on the base paths are allowed to move up two bases.