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Rule 8.05

An ILLEGAL PITCH is (1) a pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher does not have the pivot foot in contact with the pitcher's plate; (2) a quick return pitch, or in Little League (Majors)/Minor League: (3) any other act meeting the criteria established in Rule 8.05. (See also Definition of Pitch)

A PITCH is a ball delivered to the batter by the pitcher. Little League (Majors)/Minor League Exception: For the purpose of maintaining a pitch count, an illegal pitch shall count as one pitch; even if a pitch is not actually thrown.


8.05 - With a runner or runners on base, it is an illegal pitch - Major/Minor League [a balk in Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League Baseball] when -

  (a) the pitcher, while touching the plate, makes any motion naturally associated with the pitch and fails to make such delivery;
  (b) the pitcher, while touching the plate, feints a throw to first base and fails to complete the throw;
  (c) the pitcher, while touching the plate, fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base;
  (d) the pitcher, while touching the plate, throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play;
  (e) the pitcher makes a quick pitch; Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter's box.

  NOTE: A quick return pitch is an illegal pitch (Rule 2.00). Little League (Majors)/Minor League: The penalty for a quick pitch, regardless of whether there are runners present or not, is a ball. This is an instance in which an illegal pitch, by Little League (Majors)/Minor League definition, can occur without runners on base. Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League: With runners on base, a quick pitch is penalized with a balk; with no runners on base, a quick pitch is penalized as an illegal pitch and is a ball. (See exceptions in "PENALTY.")

  (f) the pitcher delivers the ball to the batter while not facing the batter;
  (g) the pitcher makes any motion naturally associated with the pitch while not touching the pitcher's plate;
  (h) the pitcher unnecessarily delays the game;
  (i) the pitcher, without having the ball, stands on or astride the pitcher's plate or while off the plate feints a pitch;
  (j) the pitcher, while touching the plate, accidentally or intentionally drops the ball;
  (k) the pitcher, while giving an intentional base on balls, pitches when the catcher is not in the catcher's box.
  (l) Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League only: The pitcher, after coming to a legal position, removes one hand from the ball other than in an actual pitch, or in throwing to a base;
  (m) Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League only: The pitcher delivers the pitch from the set position without coming to a stop.

  NOTE: Little League (Majors) and Minor League - 8.05 (l) and 8.05 (m) shall not be enforced at any time.

  NOTE: A batter hit by a pitch shall be awarded first base without reference to the illegal pitch.

  PENALTY FOR AN ILLEGAL PITCH: Little League (Majors)/Minor League: The ball is dead and no runners will advance. The pitch shall be called a ball even if the pitch is not actually thrown. EXCEPTION: If the pitch is delivered and a play follows the illegal pitch, the play shall be allowed to continue as a delayed dead ball. Upon completion of the play, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire of a decision to decline the illegal pitch penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter hits the ball and reaches first base safely, and if all base-runners advance at least one base on the action resulting from the batted ball, the play proceeds without reference to the illegal pitch.

When an illegal pitch is called, regardless of whether the pitch is completed or not by the pitcher, a pitch will always be charged to the pitcher's pitch count. (Rule 2.00 Definitions: Pitch) NOTE: Under no circumstances shall a balk be called in Little League (Majors) or Minor League.

PENALTY FOR A BALK: The balk applies only to Intermediate (50-70) Division/Junior/Senior/Big League Baseball. The ball is dead, and each runner shall advance one base without liability to be put out unless the batter reaches first on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base in which case the play proceeds without reference to the balk. When a balk is called and the pitch is delivered it will be considered neither a ball nor strike unless the pitch is ball four (4) awarding the batter first base and forcing all runners on base to advance.

When a balk is called, if the pitch is delivered , a pitch shall be charged against the pitch count regardless of whether the batter put the pitch into play. However, on a balk that is called on a pickoff attempt or in an instance that the pitcher does not deliver the pitch, no pitch shall be charged to the pitch count.

NOTE: Umpires should bear in mind that the purpose of the balk rule is to prevent the pitcher from deliberately deceiving the base runner. If there is doubt in the umpire's mind, the "intent" of the pitcher should govern. However, certain specifics should be borne in mind:

  (1) Straddling the pitcher's plate without the ball is to be interpreted as intent to deceive and ruled a balk.
  (2) With a runner on first base, and the runner attempting to steal second, the pitcher may make a complete turn, without hesitating toward first, and throw to second. This is not to be interpreted as throwing to an unoccupied base.

APPROVED RULING: If the pitcher violates (a) through (m) in this rule and throws wild to a base, the runner or runners may advance at their own risk. (Delayed dead ball.)

APPROVED RULING: A runner who misses the first base to which that runner is advancing and who is called out on appeal shall be considered as having advanced one base for the purpose of this rule.