SEC. 1. The ball must weigh not less than five and one-half, nor more than five and three-fourths ounces, avoirdupois. It must measure not less than nine and one-half, nor more than nine and three-fourths inches in circumference. It must be composed of india-rubber and yarn, and covered with leather, and, in all match games, shall be furnished by the challenging club, and become the property of the winning club, as a trophy of victory.
SEC. 2. The bat must be round, and must not exceed two and a half inches in diameter in the thickest part. It must be made of wood, and may be of any length to suit the striker.
SEC. 3. The bases must be four in number, placed at equal distances from each other, and securely fastened upon the four corners of a square, whose sides are respectively thirty yards. They must be so constructed as to be distinctly seen by the umpire, and must cover a space equal to one square foot of surface. The first, second, and third bases shall be canvas bags, painted white, and filled with sand or sawdust; the home base and pitcher's point to be each marked by a flat circular iron plate, painted or enameled white.
SEC. 4. The base from which the ball is struck shall be designated the Home Base, and must be directly opposite to the second base; the first base must always be that upon the right-hand, and the third base that upon the left-hand side of the striker, when occupying his position at the Home Base. And in all match games, a line connecting the home and first base and the home and third base, shall be marked by the use of chalk, or other suitable material, so as to be distinctly seen by the umpire.
Many of our clubs have an iron quoit for the home base that is in direct violation of the rule, which states that the home base must be marked by "a flat circular iron plate." Those we allude to rise in the center, and the consequence is, when a ball touches the base, it flies off at a tangent, instead of rebounding as if it had touched the ground, as it would do were it flat, as the rule prescribes.
SEC. 5. The pitcher's position shall be designated by two lines, four yards in length, drawn at right angles to a line from home to the second base, having their centers upon that line at two fixed iron plates, placed at points fifteen and sixteen yards distant from the home base. The pitcher must stand within the lines, and must deliver the ball as near as possible over the center of the home base, and for the striker.
It will be seen that the rule requires the ball to be pitched as near as possible over the home base, and for the striker; the pitcher, therefore, has no right to pitch the ball to the catcher especially, as is often done when a player is on the first base, and umpires should see that the rule is enforced.
This important change was made by the Convention of 1863. The object being to do away with the unfair style of pitching that was in vogue during 1861, 2, and 3, during which period those pitchers who failed in achieving the success attained by the lamented Creighton offset their want of skill by trying to intimidate the batsmen by pitching the ball at them instead of for them as the rules require.
SEC. 6. Should the pitcher repeatedly fail to deliver to the striker fair balls, for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or for any other cause, 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 them shall be entitled to one base without being put out.
SEC. 7. The ball must be pitched, not jerked nor thrown to the bat; and whenever the pitcher draws back his hand, or moves with the apparent purpose or pretension to deliver the ball, he shall so deliver it, and he must have neither foot in advance of the front line or off the ground at the time of delivering the ball; and if he fails in either of these particulars, then it shall be declared a baulk.
SEC. 8. When baulk is made by the pitcher, every player running the bases is entitled to one base, without being put out.
According to Section 7, the pitcher makes a baulk when he either jerks a ball to the bat, has either foot in advance of the line of his position, or moves his hand or arm with the apparent purpose of pitching without delivering the ball.
SEC. 9. If the ball, from a stroke of the bat, first touches the ground, the person of a player or any other object behind the range of home and the first base, or home and the third base, it shall be termed foul, and must be so declared by the umpire, unasked. If the ball first touches the ground, either upon, or in front of the range of those bases, it shall be considered fair.
Nothing is mentioned in section 9 in reference to any ball that is caught, either on the fly or first bound, after touching the side of a building, a fence, or a tree. In such cases a special rule is requisite before beginning a match.
SEC. 10. A player making the home base, shall be entitled to score one run.
SEC. 11. If three balls are struck at, and missed, and the last one is not caught, either flying or upon the first bound, it shall be considered fair, and the striker must attempt to make his run.
SEC. 12. The striker is out if a foul ball is caught, either before touching the ground, or upon the first bound.
SEC. 13. Or, if three balls are struck at and missed, and the last is caught, either before touching the ground, or upon the first bound;
SEC. 14. Or, if a fair ball is struck, and the ball is caught either without having touched the ground, or upon the first bound;
SEC. 15. Or, if a fair ball is struck, and the ball is held by an adversary on the first base, before the striker touches that base.
SEC. 16. Any player running the bases is out, if at any time he is touched by the ball while in play in the hands of an adversary, without some part of his person being on a base.
SEC. 17. No ace nor base can be made upon a foul ball, nor when a fair ball has been caught without having touched the ground; and the ball shall in the former instance, be considered dead, and not in play until it shall first have been settled in the hands of the pitcher; in either case the players running bases shall return to them, and may be put out in so returning in the same manner as the striker when running to the first base.
SEC. 18. No ace nor base can be made when a fair ball has been caught without having touched the ground; such a ball shall be considered alive and in play. In such case players running bases shall return to them, and may be put out in so returning, in the same manner as the striker when running to first base; but players, when balls are so caught, may run their bases immediately after the ball has been settled in the hands of the player catching it.
It will be seen by the above two Sections that a player running a base on a foul ball must return to the base he has left and remain on it until the ball has been fairly settled in the hands of the pitcher. But in case of fly-catches, a player running a base is only required to return and touch the base, after which he can leave it at once and try and make the next base. He must, however, touch the base after the ball has been caught.
SEC. 19. The striker must stand on a line drawn through the center of the home base, not exceeding in length three feet from either side thereof, and parallel with the line occupied by the pitcher. He shall be considered the striker until he has made the first base. Players must strike in regular rotation, and, after the first innings is played, the turn commences with the player who stands on the list next to the one who lost the third hand.
The line referred to, in the above rule, is one parallel to a line extending from the first to the third base. The striker should keep one foot on this line; as, if he stands back of the base, a ball striking the ground perpendicularly from his bat, will be considered a fair ball-if the umpire strictly enforces the rule-though it actually strikes the ground behind the home base. If this rule be not strictly enforced, many a ball that ought to be a fair one will be declared foul.
SEC. 20. Players must make their bases in the order of striking; and when a fair ball is struck, and not caught flying (or on the first bound), the first base must be vacated, as also the second and third bases, if they are occupied at the same time. Players may be put out on any base, under these circumstances, in the same manner as the striker when running to the first base.