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Legal or Illegal pitch


Guest David Woodley

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Guest David Woodley

A right handed pitcher with no one on base

1 places pivot toe on the back edge of the pitchers rubber with free foot slightly behind and part way past rubber edge.

2 pitcher goes to set position with feet in the above location at the back edge of the pitching rubber

3 pitcher transfers weight to free foot raises pivot foot 3-4” off the rubber steps to the front edge hole in front of the rubber  with this forward motion the free foot comes in front for the pitch to be delivered.

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Im fairly certain this is illegal based on

A) starting position (free foot behind the rubber)

B) resetting the pivot foot

Mostly commenting to follow the discussion though, because I feel this is one area where my rules knowledge may be a little shaky.

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The starting position sounds like a poorly coached/instructed version of the windup.

Too many steps with the pivot to be legal. Although only a rocker step with the free foot is legal by rule, by interpretation we allow the pivot to move and turn in a "reset" step. But not twice.

How old was this kid? If this is instructional baseball, someone please instruct! If not, it's an illegal pitch when he moves the pivot the second time: kill it, award a ball to the batter, and start again.

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12 hours ago, Guest David Woodley said:

A right handed pitcher with no one on base

1 places pivot toe on the back edge of the pitchers rubber with free foot slightly behind and part way past rubber edge.

2 pitcher goes to set position with feet in the above location at the back edge of the pitching rubber

3 pitcher transfers weight to free foot raises pivot foot 3-4” off the rubber steps to the front edge hole in front of the rubber  with this forward motion the free foot comes in front for the pitch to be delivered.

I',m very confused by the description -- is he really going to a "set position" from this with no runners on base? 

 

Or, is it just a wind-up position and a continuous motion?  We nearly always see the pivot foot repositioned during the wind-up (from pointing more-or-less at home to pointing more-or-less at third), and, especially on poorly maintained youth fields, this can include lifting the pivot foot slightly and "stepping" into the hole in front of the rubber.  Your play, then, is just a more exaggerated "step" from the back of the rubber to the front of the rubber

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The pitcher in the OP is in contact but on the back side of the rubber. So under FED rules, wouldn’t this be an illegal pitch because of the starting illegal position? According to FED rule 6-1-3, the pitcher can be in contact on the rubber or directly in front of the rubber. I believe it would be an illegal pitch also in NCAA according to its 2019-2020 rule 9-1b.

2019 NFHS rule 6-1 ART. 3 . . . For the set position, the pitcher shall have the ball in either his gloved hand or his pitching hand. His pitching hand shall be down at his side or behind his back. Before starting his delivery, he shall stand with his entire non-pivot foot in front of a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate and with his entire pivot foot in contact with or directly in front of and parallel to the pitcher’s plate. He shall go to the set position without interruption and in one continuous motion…

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28 minutes ago, Senor Azul said:

The pitcher in the OP is in contact but on the back side of the rubber. So under FED rules, wouldn’t this be an illegal pitch because of the starting illegal position? According to FED rule 6-1-3, the pitcher can be in contact on the rubber or directly in front of the rubber. I believe it would be an illegal pitch also in NCAA according to its 2019-2020 rule 9-1b.

2019 NFHS rule 6-1 ART. 3 . . . For the set position, the pitcher shall have the ball in either his gloved hand or his pitching hand. His pitching hand shall be down at his side or behind his back. Before starting his delivery, he shall stand with his entire non-pivot foot in front of a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate and with his entire pivot foot in contact with or directly in front of and parallel to the pitcher’s plate. He shall go to the set position without interruption and in one continuous motion…

I believe what is being described is a windup position. The hands coming set and stopped is legal in OBR (with no other motion occurring) but not in FED if both hands moved together.  The foot positions appear to comply with all codes windup criteria unless the pivot foot was also parallel to  the rubber which I don't think is the case. So the only judgement is if the pivot foot re position is judged as step forward (running into the pitch) or a normal re position from perpendicular to parallel.

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23 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

I believe what is being described is a windup position. The hands coming set and stopped is legal in OBR (with no other motion occurring) but not in FED if both hands moved together.  The foot positions appear to comply with all codes windup criteria unless the pivot foot was also parallel to  the rubber which I don't think is the case. So the only judgement is if the pivot foot re position is judged as step forward (running into the pitch) or a normal re position from perpendicular to parallel.

I can't see anyway that bringing the foot from (mostly) behind the rubber to in front could be legal. Maybe I'm missinterpreting OP?

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14 minutes ago, Rich Ives said:

Uh guys:

OP:  " pivot toe ON the back edge "

Stop talking about it being behind.

Given that re-positioning the pivot foot is allowed I see nothing wrong here.

Re positioning is allowed. A step forward is not. The OP seems to be stepping forward but HTBT.

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12 minutes ago, Jimurray said:

Re positioning is allowed. A step forward is not. The OP seems to be stepping forward but HTBT.

The prohibition on stepping forward is to prevent "running into the pitch."  I don't see that happening in the view I have of the play in  my mind's eye, but HTBT.

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I have to admit this one has been bothering me ever since it was posted. All my life I was taught and told that a pitcher could not pitch from the back side of the rubber. The reasoning I vaguely remember being told was that it had something to do with how you couldn’t distinguish between a legal disengagement and a legal pitch. Honestly, I thought it would be easy to find something that said exactly that. Well, the truth is I haven’t found anything that states this premise categorically.

That, however, doesn’t mean that I haven’t found something to support my argument. Here are a couple of NFHS case plays from 2014.

2014 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 5: The pitcher places his pivot foot on the pitching plate with the toe of the pivot foot in front of a line through the front edge of the plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge. His non-pivot foot is in front of the line extending through the front edge of the pitching plate. The pitcher attempted to pick-off the runner at second base. RULING: This is an illegal pitching position. When the pitcher moved in his pick-off attempt, he made an illegal pitch and a balk would be enforced. (6-1-2 Penalty)

2014 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 7: The pitcher places his non-pivot foot on top of the pitching plate at a 45-degree angle with one-third of his pivot foot in front of the front edge of the pitching plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge of the pitching plate. His non-pivot foot is entirely in front of the front edge of the pitching plate. Without making any other movement, the pitcher places his pivot foot entirely behind the pitching plate. RULING: The pitcher initially assumed an illegal pitching position. Since he made no other movement, he is allowed to step back off of the pitching plate with his pivot foot and correct his illegal position. (6-1-2, 3)

So, a question for Messrs. maven, noumpere, Jimurray, and  Rich Ives—don’t these two case plays tell us that at least in high school a pitcher can’t have any portion of either foot behind the back edge of the rubber?

I posted in another thread that the pitching rubber wasn’t used until the 1893 season in the National League. I can confirm that from 1893 through at least 1934 in professional baseball that the pitcher was not allowed to pitch from behind the back edge of the pitcher’s plate. Here’s the actual rule from the 1934 Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guide

Rule 27 Section 1—Preliminary to pitching, the pitcher shall take his position facing the batsman, with both feet squarely on the ground and on top of the pitcher’s plate, or one foot on top of the pitcher’s plate and the other foot in contact with the same, or one foot in front of the pitcher’s plate and the other foot on top of same, and in the act of delivering the ball to the batsman he must keep one foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate defined in Rule 9. He shall not raise either foot until in the act of delivering the ball to the batsman, or in throwing to a base; nor may he make more than one step in such delivery…

Rule 31 Balks

Section 3—Any delivery of the ball to the bat by the pitcher while either foot is back of and not in contact with the pitcher’s plate.

…Section 3 emphasizes the fact that neither of the pitcher’s feet may be behind the plate when he delivers the ball.

So, another question for Messrs. maven, noumpere, Jimurray, and  Rich Ives—when did the Major Leagues change that rule?

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7 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

That, however, doesn’t mean that I haven’t found something to support my argument. Here are a couple of NFHS case plays from 2014.

2014 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 5: The pitcher places his pivot foot on the pitching plate with the toe of the pivot foot in front of a line through the front edge of the plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge. His non-pivot foot is in front of the line extending through the front edge of the pitching plate. The pitcher attempted to pick-off the runner at second base. RULING: This is an illegal pitching position. When the pitcher moved in his pick-off attempt, he made an illegal pitch and a balk would be enforced. (6-1-2 Penalty)

2014 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 7: The pitcher places his non-pivot foot on top of the pitching plate at a 45-degree angle with one-third of his pivot foot in front of the front edge of the pitching plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge of the pitching plate. His non-pivot foot is entirely in front of the front edge of the pitching plate. Without making any other movement, the pitcher places his pivot foot entirely behind the pitching plate. RULING: The pitcher initially assumed an illegal pitching position. Since he made no other movement, he is allowed to step back off of the pitching plate with his pivot foot and correct his illegal position. (6-1-2, 3)

So, a question for Messrs. maven, noumpere, Jimurray, and  Rich Ives—don’t these two case plays tell us that at least in high school a pitcher can’t have any portion of either foot behind the back edge of the rubber?

 

The pitcher is illegal (in FED) in these cases because he's using a "hybrid stance"--the free foot is in front of the rubber (indicating "set") and the pivot foot is not parallel to the rubber (indicating "wind-up").  This has nothing to do with "touching the back edge of the rubber to make a pitch" or "having a portion of the foot behind the rubber to make a pitch."

I can see it being a disadvantage, but I don't see it as being illegal.

 

No idea on the rest of your post.

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9 hours ago, Senor Azul said:

I have to admit this one has been bothering me ever since it was posted. All my life I was taught and told that a pitcher could not pitch from the back side of the rubber. The reasoning I vaguely remember being told was that it had something to do with how you couldn’t distinguish between a legal disengagement and a legal pitch. Honestly, I thought it would be easy to find something that said exactly that. Well, the truth is I haven’t found anything that states this premise categorically.

That, however, doesn’t mean that I haven’t found something to support my argument. Here are a couple of NFHS case plays from 2014.

2014 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 5: The pitcher places his pivot foot on the pitching plate with the toe of the pivot foot in front of a line through the front edge of the plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge. His non-pivot foot is in front of the line extending through the front edge of the pitching plate. The pitcher attempted to pick-off the runner at second base. RULING: This is an illegal pitching position. When the pitcher moved in his pick-off attempt, he made an illegal pitch and a balk would be enforced. (6-1-2 Penalty)

2014 NFHS Baseball Rules Interpretations SITUATION 7: The pitcher places his non-pivot foot on top of the pitching plate at a 45-degree angle with one-third of his pivot foot in front of the front edge of the pitching plate and the heel of his pivot foot behind the back edge of the pitching plate. His non-pivot foot is entirely in front of the front edge of the pitching plate. Without making any other movement, the pitcher places his pivot foot entirely behind the pitching plate. RULING: The pitcher initially assumed an illegal pitching position. Since he made no other movement, he is allowed to step back off of the pitching plate with his pivot foot and correct his illegal position. (6-1-2, 3)

So, a question for Messrs. maven, noumpere, Jimurray, and  Rich Ives—don’t these two case plays tell us that at least in high school a pitcher can’t have any portion of either foot behind the back edge of the rubber?

I posted in another thread that the pitching rubber wasn’t used until the 1893 season in the National League. I can confirm that from 1893 through at least 1934 in professional baseball that the pitcher was not allowed to pitch from behind the back edge of the pitcher’s plate. Here’s the actual rule from the 1934 Spalding’s Official Base Ball Guide

Rule 27 Section 1—Preliminary to pitching, the pitcher shall take his position facing the batsman, with both feet squarely on the ground and on top of the pitcher’s plate, or one foot on top of the pitcher’s plate and the other foot in contact with the same, or one foot in front of the pitcher’s plate and the other foot on top of same, and in the act of delivering the ball to the batsman he must keep one foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate defined in Rule 9. He shall not raise either foot until in the act of delivering the ball to the batsman, or in throwing to a base; nor may he make more than one step in such delivery…

Rule 31 Balks

Section 3—Any delivery of the ball to the bat by the pitcher while either foot is back of and not in contact with the pitcher’s plate.

…Section 3 emphasizes the fact that neither of the pitcher’s feet may be behind the plate when he delivers the ball.

So, another question for Messrs. maven, noumpere, Jimurray, and  Rich Ives—when did the Major Leagues change that rule?

I don't know when MLB changed that rule but they did change 8.01(a) and (b) in 2007: "• Amended rules on positioning of pitcher’s pivot foot on the rubber and his free foot to allow a pitcher to have only a portion of his pivot foot, rather than the entire foot, on the rubber and to allow his free foot to be anywhere in the Windup Position. (Rules 8.01(a) and 8.01(b))."

There was other comment that I can't cite that said the change was to legalize what pitchers were doing, and being allowed to do in past years.  

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Oh, the irony! I recommended that Mr. noumpere update his library and here mine just got older with the purchase of a 1955 rule book.

1955 OBR rule 8.01(a)

The “Windup Position.” The pitcher shall stand facing the batter, his pivot foot on, or in front of and touching the pitcher’s plate, and the other foot free…

8.05 If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when—

(e) The pitcher delivers the ball to the batter with his pivot foot back of, or not in contact with the pitcher’s plate;

What does this show? And what does this prove? Well, it shows that I have a pretty good memory when it comes to remembering that it was against the rules for a pitcher to pitch from behind the rubber. And it proves that the men who taught me the game of baseball weren’t MSUing then as it is all the rage these days.

I have now established beyond any doubt that from the first year (1893) a pitcher’s plate was required that in every year through at least 1955 a pitcher could not pitch from the back edge of the rubber. And the language used in today’s rule book has always meant that the pitcher had to be on or in front of the rubber. In fact, prior to 1939 neither foot was allowed to be behind the rubber. I intend to continue my research on this question.

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29 minutes ago, Senor Azul said:

Oh, the irony! I recommended that Mr. noumpere update his library and here mine just got older with the purchase of a 1955 rule book.

1955 OBR rule 8.01(a)

The “Windup Position.” The pitcher shall stand facing the batter, his pivot foot on, or in front of and touching the pitcher’s plate, and the other foot free…

8.05 If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when—

(e) The pitcher delivers the ball to the batter with his pivot foot back of, or not in contact with the pitcher’s plate;

What does this show? And what does this prove? Well, it shows that I have a pretty good memory when it comes to remembering that it was against the rules for a pitcher to pitch from behind the rubber. And it proves that the men who taught me the game of baseball weren’t MSUing then as it is all the rage these days.

I have now established beyond any doubt that from the first year (1893) a pitcher’s plate was required that in every year through at least 1955 a pitcher could not pitch from the back edge of the rubber. And the language used in today’s rule book has always meant that the pitcher had to be on or in front of the rubber. In fact, prior to 1939 neither foot was allowed to be behind the rubber. I intend to continue my research on this question.

Austinumpires.org site has a article which appears to have been written by Rick Roder where he comments on the 2006/2007 rules changes. This is what was written about the foot position change:

"Three changes in Rule 8.01 bring the rules closer to currently accepted interpretations regarding pitchers taking and maintaining a legal position on the pitching rubber. The first change concerns the legal placement of the pivot foot (foot on the same side as the pitcher’s throwing arm) in Rule 8.01(a) – the windup position – and 8.01(b) – the set (or “stretch”) position. When taking either position, the only requirement regarding the pivot foot in the new rules is that it is in contact with the pitching rubber. Previously, no part of the pivot foot could be off the side edges of the rubber, which is two feet long. The pitcher can now have as much of his pivot foot off the side of the rubber as he wishes, as long as the foot is touching the rubber. The second and third changes are in regard to the non-pivot foot (foot on glove side of the pitcher) in the windup position – 8.01(a). The pitcher’s non-pivot foot is now allowed to be anywhere the pitcher wants it, including off the side of the rubber, which was previously prohibited. And when the pitcher steps “back,” committing himself to pitch, the step can be sideways. The rule formerly stated that this step had to be backward; it could not be to the side of the rubber. The pitcher may now step to the side as he commits to pitch in the windup. ESO editor’s note: One problem with the liberalization of this rule is that it becomes more difficult for umpires and runners to ascertain whether a pitcher is taking a pitching position or just absent-mindedly touching or stepping on the rubber. This will have to be umpire judgment; if you think the pitcher intended to become in-contact, then consider him on the rubber. If you feel he has not intended to take a pitching position, but is “accidentally” touching the rubber, then rule as such. It also becomes more difficult for umpires and runners to ascertain whether the pitcher is taking the windup or the stretch position. Look for the primary orientation of the pivot foot; if the foot is primarily perpendicular to the pitching rubber, consider it the windup; if primarily parallel, consider it the stretch. Also, in the stretch, the non-pivot foot must be in front of (toward home plate) the pitching rubber and primarily parallel to the rubber. Concerning the step to the side as the pitcher commits to pitch, make sure that this step is led by the heel and/or side of the foot. If the toes lead the way, consider it a step to the base, which is exactly what it will look like."

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