Little-League-Rules

Little League Play Uses the Official
Major League Baseball Rules

The MLB Rules Are Modified
To Protect Young Players
Just Think Down Sizing

Little-League-Rules, generally speaking have used the official rules of Major League Baseball (MLB) and simply modified the application where it is deemed neccessary or prudent to protect the safety of young players.

Interesting enough on my last visit to Little League Online or the Little League International site I learned that now the general public is allowed to purchase the Official Little- League-Rules Book.

You may go directly to the Official source for most of your questions and answers about Little-League-Rules Little League International.

Major League Baseball Official Rules When you reach this page scroll down to near the bottom left of the page and click on "Official Rules."

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Armed with the knowledge that Little-League-Baseball-Rules follows the official or standard baseball rules we have known through these many years but simply adapted to apply to young players safety and health.

One of the first things to understand about little-league-rules is to fully grasp the fact that the Little League International Organization provides for separate divisions or age groupings for the application of the rules.

Little-League-Rules are designed and will apply differently for each age group in many instances. there is no such thing as here are the Little League Rules which apply equally across all the age groups.

There are seven (7) different age groups under the auspices of the little-league-rules and the International Charter for Little League Baseball and consequently the Little-League-Rules.

What a quantum difference from the kids growing up during the 1940s and 1950s and playing by our baseball playground rules.

All of these Divisions come within the aegis of Littl-League-Rules.

1)Tee Ball Tee Ball Baseball is for boys and girls 5-6 years old (with a local option for 7- and/or 8-year-olds) who want to learn the fundamentals of hitting and fielding. This age group also plays within the little-league-baseball-rules. In Tee Ball, players hit a ball off a batting tee. Rules of the game may be varied to accommodate the need for teaching. The primary goals of Tee Ball are to instruct children in the fundamentals of baseball and to allow them to experience the value of teamwork. Rosters may be composed of between 12 and 20 players, but most leagues have rosters in the 12-15 range. No live pitching is permitted in this division. Generally, the diamond used is a 60-foot diamond, but the league has the option to use a 50-foot diamond.

2)Minor League Baseball Minor League Baseball programs for boys and girls may be operated within each division for younger players with less experience. The minor league may be players ages 7-12. Divisions may be established within the Minor League for "machine pitch," "coach pitch" or "player pitch." By local option, a player who is league age 6 for the current season and has played a year in Tee Ball may be "moved up" to a coach pitch division. A local league might have its 7-8-year-olds in the Minor League Coach Pitch Division, while its 9-10-year-olds are in the Minor League Player Pitch Division. However, by local option, some of the 9-year-olds could "play down" in the coach pitch division, and some of the 8-year-olds could "play up." This is entirely the choice of the local league board of directors. Rosters may be composed of between 12 and 20 players by little-league-baseball-rules, but most leagues have rosters in the 12-15 range. The diamond used is a 60-foot diamond and the pitching distance is 46 feet.

3)9-10 Year Old Baseball Division The 9-10 Year Old Baseball Division for boys and girls was established as a tournament program in 1994. It gives children of this age the opportunity to experience tournament competition, up to state level. Players on these teams can be chosen from among Major Division and/or Minor Division teams. The diamond used is a 60-foot diamond and the pitching distance is 46 feet.

4)Little League Baseball (or the Major Division) The Little League Baseball Division (sometimes known as the Major Division) is for boys and girls ages 9-12. A local league may choose to limit its Major Division to 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds, or 11-12-year-olds. The diamond used is a 60-foot diamond and the pitching distance is 46 feet. The local league has an option to choose a Tournament Team (or "All Stars") of 11-12-year-olds from within this division, and the team may enter the International Tournament. The culmination of the International Tournament is the Little League Baseball World Series, featuring teams from around the globe. All expenses for the teams advancing to the World Series (travel, meals and housing) are paid by Little League Baseball.

IMPORTANT: A local league by little league-rules must only have ONE Major Division. For instance, if the local league has all 11-12 year olds in the Majors, and all 9-10s in another division, then the 9-10s MUST be considered a Minor Division.

5)Junior League Baseball The Junior League Baseball Division is a program for boys and girls ages 13-14, using a conventional 90-foot diamond with a pitching distance of 60 feet, 6 inches. (A modified diamond is available during the regular season.) The local league has an option to choose a Tournament Team (or "All Stars") of 13-14-year-olds from within this division (and/or from within the Senior League Division), and the team may enter the International Tournament. The culmination of the International Tournament is the Junior League Baseball World Series, featuring teams from around the globe. All expenses for the teams advancing to the World Series (travel, meals and housing) are paid by Little League Baseball

6)Senior League Baseball The Senior League Baseball Division is for boys and girls 14-16 years old, using a conventional 90-foot diamond with a pitching distance of 60 feet, 6 inches. The local league by little-league-rules has an option to choose a Tournament Team (or "All Stars") of 14-16-year-olds from within this division (and/or from within the Junior League or Big League divisions), and the team may enter the International Tournament. The culmination of the International Tournament is the Senior League Baseball World Series, featuring teams from around the globe. All expenses for the teams advancing to the World Series (travel, meals and housing) are paid by Little League Baseball.

7)Big League Baseball The Big League Baseball Division is for boys and girls ages 16-18, using a conventional 90-foot diamond with a pitching distance of 60 feet, 6 inches. The local league by little-league-rules has an option to choose a Tournament Team (or "All Stars") of 16-18-year-olds from within this division (and/or from within the Senior League Division), and the team may enter the International Tournament. The culmination of the International Tournament is the Big League Baseball World Series, featuring teams from around the globe. All expenses for the teams advancing to the World Series (travel, meals and housing) are paid by Little League Baseball.

Specific Differences in Little-League-Rules:

There are some unique differences as an example

"In (MLB)Professional Major League Baseball , it is a base runner’s choice whether or not to slide. He can run into an opponent instead. In little-league-rules, a player is automatically out, and perhaps even ejected, if he/she does not try to slide and avoid contact with a defensive player at a base. In addition, a player may not slide head-first into a base unless returning to a bag or in a rundown play."

You wanted some Little-League-Rules then by golly here they are:

These differences between Little-League-Rules for Little League baseball and Official Baseball Rules refer to the Official Rules, which are available on the World Wide Web at MLB.com, a service of Major League Baseball Advanced Media.

(The rules can be found in the section “Baseball Basics”.)

The Official Baseball Rules are made by a committee led by Major League Baseball, but they are also used by the minor leagues of professional baseball, and also by most all other amateur leagues with slight modifications. The Official Rules’ references to specific fines and penalties for certain violations, all of which apply only to Major League Baseball, are disregarded here.

By convention, the Little League Baseball Rules are noted as “LL”, and the Official Baseball Rule as “OBR”. Please note that these rules apply strictly to the Major and Minor League levels of Little League Rules. Higher levels use rules more consistent with the Official Rules.

The actual rules of Little League Baseball Rules are copyrighted by Little League Baseball, Inc., and distributed only to chartered leagues. They are not available online.

  • The Playing Field by Little-League-Rules

    Distance Between Bases

    LL - 60 feet OBR - 90 feet

    Distance from Front of Pitcher’s Rubber to Tip of Home Plate

    LL - 46 feet OBR - 60 feet, 6 inches

    Distance from Front of Pitcher’s Rubber to Outfield Grass

    LL - 50 feet (recommended) OBR - 95 feet

    Size of Pitcher’s Rubber by Little-League-Rules

    LL - 18 x 4 inches OBR - 24 x 6 inches

    Size of Bases

    LL - 14 x 14 inches (15 x 15 bases are permitted; double first base is permitted) OBR - 15 x 15 inches

  • Benches On-Deck Area

    LL - Not permitted OBR - Usually located just outside dugout

  • The Bat by Little-League-Rules

    Maximum Length LL - 33 inches OBR - 42 inches

    Maximum Barrel Width (diameter) LL - 2 1/4 inches OBR - 2 5/8 inches

    Non-Wood Bats LL - Permitted (material must meet LLB specifications) OBR - Not permitted

  • The Uniform

    Jewelry or Other Metallic Items LL - Not permitted except for medical alert tags OBR - Not permitted for pitcher

  • Definitions

    Strike Zone: Top of Zone LL - Armpits OBR - Halfway between shoulder and belt

  • Substitutions

    Re-entry Rule

    LL - A starter may re-enter once, at any point in the batting order, provided the re-entrant’s substitute has played six consecutive outs and batted at least once

    LL Tournament - Any player may re-enter once, in player’s original spot in the batting order, provided player substituted for has met mandatory play requirement of 3 defensive outs and completing 1 turn at bat

    OBR - No re-entries permitted; a player removed from the line-up may not re-enter

    Courtesy Runner by Little-League-Rules:

    LL - A “special runner” (a player not currently in the lineup) may replace a runner without being considered a substitute; use does not satisfy mandatory play requirement of Regulation IV (i) (see Rule 7.14) OBR - No rule

  • Bench Personnel Bench Restrictions

    LL - Only manager, 2 coaches, and uniformed players are permitted on bench. Bat boys, etc., are not allowed. OBR - Trainers, bat boys, and any listed coaches are permitted in dugout.

  • Base Coaches Who May Be a Base Coach

    LL - Uniformed players; adult base coaches permitted provided one adult remains in dugout OBR - Non-roster players permitted, but must be in uniform.

  • Ending a Game

    Duration of Game

    LL - 6 innings OBR - 9 innings

    Note: Concerning the duration of game; All references by the OBR to the 9th inning are changed to the 6th inning in LL.

    Regulation Game

    LL - 4 innings (3½ if home team leads) OBR - 5 innings (4½ if home team leads)

    Games Called Prior to Regulation

    LL - Suspended game if at least 1 inning completed, otherwise “no game” OBR - “No game”

    Mercy Rule (LL)

    LL - If one team has a lead of 10 runs or more after the game becomes a regulation game, the game is over (local league may opt out; mandatory in Tournament play) OBR - No rule

  • Regulation Game Called

    If home team leads at end of inning, visitors tie or take lead, home team does not reverse ...

    LL - Game over, score reverts to end of previous inning, home team wins OBR - Suspended game

  • Doubleheaders Two Games Involving Same Teams on One Day

    LL - Limited to once in a calendar week, Sunday through Saturday, unless first game is completion of previously suspended game OBR - Permitted; second game begins 20 minutes after first game ends unless time is extended by mutual agreement of clubs and umpires

  • Forfeits Administering a Forfeit

    LL - Board of Directors must rule on validity of any forfeit OBR - No rule

  • “Time” Offensive Time-Outs

    LL - Only one offensive time-out (conference not coinciding with defensive charged visit to pitcher or pitcher’s warm-up tosses) allowed per half-inning OBR - No rule

  • Batter Is Out

    Dropped Third Strike

    LL - Batter is out on third strike, whether caught by catcher or not OBR - Batter becomes a runner on third strike dropped by catcher unless first base is occupied with fewer than two out

  • Designated Hitter Additional Player in Line-Up, Batting for Pitcher

    LL - Not permitted OBR - May be adopted by a league (currently used in AL and most minor league games, not in NL)

  • Home Run

    Minimum Distance for Home Run Over Fence LL - 165 feet OBR - 250 feet

  • Runner Is Out Slide or Avoid the fielder

    LL - Runner is out if no attempt made to slide or get around fielder with ball waiting to make tag OBR - No rule

  • Head First Slide

    LL - Runner is out on head-first slide except when returning to previous base OBR - No rule

  • Leaving Base Too Soon

    Position of Runners at Time of Pitch

    LL - Runner may not leave base before pitch reaches batter. If violation, no runner may advance farther than forced by batter’s action. OBR - No rule

  • Special Pinch-Runner Player Not in Lineup Used as Pinch-Runner

    LL - Permitted once per team per offensive half-inning; player run for is not subject to removal from game lineup; special runner meets no part of mandatory play rule; a given player may only be replaced by a special runner once per game OBR - No rule

  • Double First Base

    Regulation Permitting Use of Double First Base

    LL - Double first base may be used; on initial play at first base, runner must touch colored portion of base in foul territory while fielder must touch white portion in fair territory; runner uses white portion for standing on base or tagging up OBR - Not authorized

  • Legal Pitching Delivery

    Pitching from “the Stretch”

    LL - Complete stop not required OBR - Must come to “complete and discernable stop”; penalty, illegal pitch (with runners on base, balk, rule 8.05 (j))

  • Balk

    Illegal Delivery with Runners on Base

    LL - No balk; “Illegal Pitch” (11 of 13 conditions of OBR balk rule) is delayed dead ball, pitch is called a “ball” unless every runner including the batter advances at least one base as result of batted ball OBR - Balk; delayed dead ball, all runners (but not the batter) advance one base unless every runner including the batter advances at least one base as result of batted ball

  • Visits to Pitcher by Little-League-Rules;

    Number of Visits Allowed

    LL - Must change pitcher on third visit of inning or fourth visit of game OBR - Must change pitcher on second visit of inning

  • Winning and Losing Pitcher:

    Starting Pitcher Eligible for Win by Little-League-Rules:

    LL - Must pitch 3 complete innings OBR - Must pitch 5 complete innings (4 if game was called after 5 innings)

    One has a keen appreciation for the learning curve required for being certified as a CPA for Little-League-Rules almost requires CPA certification to comprehend all the rules.

    Return to the Top of Little-League-Rules.

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