Baseball Rules in Plain English

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All Umpires Need to read this book

By Dr. William Costello "Dr. Bill" on June 16, 2015

I have been umpiring Youth baseball for many decades and this is a revelation. The rules are archaic and enigmatic and difficult to decipher. Finally, someone took the time to clearly elucidate the rule of the game.

Organized like people think.

By Allen A. on February 7, 2015

I have played a lot of baseball over the years. This is the most easy to understand rule book I have ever had. Fantastic!

As Promised

By Digger110 on November 10, 2013

Book was as described, in very good condition. Author was very helpful in explaining rules of baseball without all of the mumbo-jumbo language. Tests at back of book were helpful for retention of reading.

Best Book for Beginning Umpires and Fans of the Game

By Navasota Halon February 11, 2013

My son and I bought this on the recommendation of an umpire who was training us in a Little League umpire school. This is one of the best books for learning the rules- and learning how to apply them in order. The examples are clear. The orginization makes sense to me and my teenage son at the same time. Not only did it help with our first year of umpire service, we now have a better time as spectators at pro and college games now after having read this book.

A Great Book

By Matthew Temkinon February 11, 2011

If you only have one book on umpiring this is the one to own. Just about every situation we will face is in here.


By Jeff Buxton on October 19, 2009

If you buy only one supplemental baseball rules book, this would be an excellent choice. Clear, concise, and has many examples of things you would really see. Jim Booth really knows his stuff, and it shows.

Nothing Better

By K. Johnson on May 18, 2007

The ONLY negative I can see with this book is that it doesn't come in pocket size for you to use at games. Buy it and you'll agree!

The Best Baseball Rule Book You Can Buy!

By Bruce on March 6, 2007

This is a wonderful book. I use it to umpire little league, and it covers everything you need to know in good detail. Everyone who coaches or umpires should have this book and read it every year that they're involved with baseball.


By Randy Given on May 21, 2003

I have the Official Baseball Rules (OBR) book and also use some online resources when trying to determine if my umpiring calls were correct (and what they should be in the future!). However, none of the other resources lay things out as clearly as this book does. The reader is taken through a logical sequence of coverage that a typical umpire will encounter. It also is useful for coaches, players and spectators, but I find it most useful for umpiring and making calls on rules. Each section lists the appropriate section of the OBR, so it is good to have OBR at your side as well. The reading is easy, well laid out and printed nicely. This book was certainly worth the price.

Summary of contents

This book is a manual that can be used in training clinics or for experienced umpires who want further explanations of the rules.

This book explains the "real world" application and intent of the rules.

10 Quizzes totaling 223 questions are included.

Here is some text from the book and its Table of Contents:

The purpose of this book is to present the rules of baseball in a plain and simple, real life manner. It is intended to take the reader through each type of action that occurs during a game and simply state what the ruling is. It is also intended to present the "unwritten" rules, or in other words, the way the call is made in the real world versus the letter of the rule. These "unwritten" rules are actually written in umpire manuals and casebooks, but are not written in the actual rulebook. It is assumed that the reader has played the game and at least knows the basics of the game. This book is not for someone who knows absolutely nothing about the game of baseball. This book is a training manual that should be used in conjunction with the Official Rules of Baseball. It does not contain every rule that is in the official rulebook.

Rules were made for a purpose and one needs to understand the purpose of a rule and make judgments according to that purpose and not necessarily according to the letter or exact wording of a rule. An umpire's job is to make sure that one team does not get an unfair advantage over the other within the scope and intent of the rules of the game. A good umpire does not enforce every rule to the letter of the rule. There are many interpretations and judgments that are not even in the rulebook that have simply become accepted rulings or practices through time. These types of things will be presented in this book.

The Official Rules of Baseball does not contain explanations for every situation. A manual is given to professional umpires that give them guidelines and interpretations of many rules. These interpretations are not stated in the rulebook, but are stated in the N.A.P.B.L. Umpire Manual published by The Professional Baseball Umpire Corps (PBUC) of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (N.A.P.B.L.). Many of these interpretations are included in this book.

Table of Contents

    The Umpire

        General authority

        Starting the game/In charge of the game Rule 4.00

        Protestable calls

        Umpire interference

    The Batter

        When is the player a batter?

        Stepping in/out of the box.

        Switching boxes.

        Illegal or altered bat is used

        Hitting/Hit by Pitch

        A swing

        Throwing the bat on a swing..



        Touched by batted ball.

        Outside the box..

        Batted ball hits home plate.

        Dropped third strike.

        Sliding into first.

        Overrunning first base.

        Interference by the batter..

        Running Lane.

        Interference with the batter.

        Fair/Foul Ball.

        Bases awarded to the batter.

        Substitute Batter/Pinch Hitter.

        Batting out of order – Rule 6.07.

    The Runner.

        Substitute Runner.

        Entitled to a base.

        Forced to advance.

        Infield Fly affects runners.

        Missing or not retouching the bases.


        Fourth out.

        Award of bases Rule 7.05.

        Other awards.

        Out of baseline.

        Must avoid a fielder.

        Interference by the runner.

        Interference by coaches or other players.

        Hit by batted ball.

        Passes another runner.

  The Fielders.


        Must be in fair territory.

        Catch/No Catch - Rule 2.00.

        Spectator Interference.

        Legal tag of runner or base.

        Obstruction (interference on the runner by the fielder)

The Pitcher.

        Substitutes and warm-ups.

        Trips to the mound.

        Pitcher taking signs.

        Pitch definition.

        Illegal pitch VS illegal acts upon the ball.

        Stopping the windup.

        Pitcher’s equipment.

        Pitching positions.


Scoring Runs.

        Types of plays that affect scoring.

Live ball - Dead ball.

        Dead ball.

        Delayed dead ball.

        Putting the ball in play.



Quiz Answers.