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I was managing a game last evening in a league that uses MLB rules unless their local rules override them. It is a league for club teams and competitive teams that bring an entire roster. There is no rules about zip codes, drafts like LL. This is really directed toward pitch counts, must slide rule, one balk warning, etc...

The other team listed their #5 batter as "Bill Smith" lets say and jersey #13. Midway through the game our coach and scorekeeper noticed that #2 was batting in the #5 spot. I made the assumption that the other team failed to report or announce a sub player. I didn't say anything and #2 proceeded to ground out. His next at bat a few innings later, he struck out I believe, so again I let it go. Last inning we are up 2 runs and w 2 outs we are having trouble getting the last out. The game comes to a tie and #2 comes to the plate. He gets a hit and drives in the go ahead run. I call time and approach the Home plate ump. I told him they didn't announce this player. We come to learn that their scorekeeper didn't write the correct number with the player mentioned before, so he in fact started the game and had been in the whole time. We verified that the official score card had the same info as our book (the home book). The home plate ump told me that this would be an out in Pro Ball (he does work rookie and A ball games here in Phoenix). Again, I waited until this batter got a hit and took the lead from us before mentioning their mistake. Of course there is no local rule that states that its ok to have a player with the correct name and wrong number, so the umpire called him out and we came in to bat last in what was now returned to a tie game. We walked off with a win 3 batters later. Of course the other team was furious with me... What I want to know is does a rule exist for this? I can not seem to find it. I did find a rule stating that the lineup must be correct and have correct names in correct order, but nothing about correct umbers. I find this difficult to believe because lots of MLB teams don't even have the players names on their jerseys... The other teams manager wants to protest this game and re-play it from the time that I protested... Can any of you give me an answer here or direct me to a specific rule that talks about this situation??? Thank you very much in advance.  Darek Goetzman 

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There is no rule for this in the MLB book. Also, you say you brought to the umpire's attention that they didn't announce the substitute. The rule book specifically states that


(a) If no announcement of a substitution is made, the substitute shall be considered as

having entered the game when—

(1) If a pitcher, he takes his place on the pitcher’s plate;

(2) If a batter, he takes his place in the batter’s box;

(3) If a fielder, he reaches the position usually occupied by the fielder he has

replaced, and play commences;

(4) If a runner, he takes the place of the runner he has replaced.


Also, rule 6.07 states as follows:

When an improper batter becomes a proper batter because no appeal is made

before the next pitch, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows

that of such legalized improper batter. The instant an improper batter’s actions

are legalized, the batting order picks up with the name following that of the

legalized improper batter.


So, when you "let it go" as you say, in an obvious attempt to manipulate the rules to your favor, you, in effect, legalized the batting order.  But, the bottom line is, there is nothing in the rule book about player's numbers, only their names and positions.  If the umpire who told you this is an out is, indeed, calling pro ball and doesn't know the rules any better than this, it's just a matter of time before some manager eats his lunch.

Two rules apply to this I think -- and in each case I believe it means that you were wrong and the play stands.

First, 6.01 says that each player shall bat in the order that his name appears on his team's batting order. So Smith batted in the same spot each time, he's legal regardless of the error by the scorekeeper in using the incorrect uniform number.

Secondly, I believe 3.08 (a) addresses the matter you raise about substitutes. First, to be clear, this wasn't a substitute. But even if it were a substitute, under 3.08 that hitter's RBI hit would have been legal. Section 3.08 states "if no announcement of a substitution is made, the substitute shall be considered as having entered the game when --

1. If a pitcher, he takes his place on the pitchers's plate.

2. If a batter, he takes his place in the batter's box

3. If a fielder, he reaches the position usually occupied by the fielder he has replaced

4. If a runer, he takes the place of a runner he has replaced.

b. Any play made by, or on, any of the above mentioned unannounced substitutes shall be legal.

So If I'm reading this correctly, the play stands.  I think the home plate, A-Ball umpire was wrong, and I think your protest should not have been allowed. This wasn't a guy batting out of order. This was a clerical error. The real question is why would you want to win a game this way? I think the opposing coach's protest should be upheld and the game should be replayed from the time of the protest -- if they can.  I'd like to know how this turns out. Jeff McGaw


One other point. You seem to be saying that you approached the umpire and he checked the scorebook and found the error.  At this point, he told you it would be an out. Then, you again waited until the player got a hit to bring it to the umpire's attention and he called an out? You brought it to his attention earlier. If there is a problem, it should be addressed then. The opposing manager's protest should be emphatically upheld and whoever is assigning this guy to A games should be notified. The situation was mis-handled in every way.

I did not bring up the "substitution" until the player mentioned actually got a hit. So the umpire had no prior knowledge of this. I made the umpire aware of the situation and asked him if there was a penalty (similar to batting out of order), he said it was an out. I believe that there is no such thing as "manipulation" of a rule. These are RULES for a reason... If there IS no rule against having a players name correct and jersey number incorrect, then that is an issue... Again, we identify so many players in this sport by their number. But this is why I posted this question. I could not find such a rule after coming home last night. I firmly believe that my job as a manager and coach is to teach my players the game AND the rules of the game they play. AND to address the comment posted by Jeff, we came to bat after this and the score was tied. We still had to WIN the game. Again, if I ask the umpire the same question and he tells me there is no penalty, then we play on... Some of these types of things never come about at higher levels because people check their work. Also, I believe that if you read further into the rules there is penalty for batting out of order or putting a sub in the game without announcing him. I have seen this happen several times. BUT you have to mention it after the infraction is made. If you mention it before, then they just fix it... Thats not manipulation, thats pointing out their mistake. 

There is a penalty for batting out of order, but this is not the case here. It was a simple clerical error. And, once again, there is no penalty for not announcing a substitute. The rule book was quoted. And, I agree, if the opposing team were trying to gain an advantage by batting a player out of order, then they need to be called on it. But, a mistake should be seen as such and treated as such. The rules are for a reason. They are to keep people from cheating. That doesn't seem to be the case here. I did misunderstand your post as it seemed that you had asked the umpire and then later on, the kid got a hit and was called out. I apologize for that. But, the bottom line is, an out should not have been called here. And, you, sir, are the one who needs to read further into the rules as there is no penalty for not announcing a substitute. I believe that has been quoted to you twice in this thread. As far as the uniform number, both 6.01 and 6.07 cover this situation and there is no mention of uniform numbers in the book. After he had batted in the same position for the entire game, even if he was improper to begin with (which he wasn't) he was legalized by these actions.

I have seen penalties called for not anouncing substitutes in the batting order.

Only the name and position is required in professional baseball. 

I appreciate the quick replies and clarification on this. I cant believe that its legal to identify a player with the correct name (how do we know what his name is?) and the jersey number (how we all refer to a player during a game) being wrong is irrelevant...

  I have another question. The opposing manager filed a protest and is asking this game to resume at the point this "misruling" happened. Is that the proper way to handle this or should the entire game be replayed? Remember, this league uses Sporting News Rules unless their local rules come into play. Local rules provide a process to protest a game but do not mention replaying the entire game or not... I have seen references to the entire game being replayed. Thx! 

The reason I believe why only a name and position is required is because every player in almost all relevant leagues is on a roster and the roster matches up to what the league has so a number could change for many many reasons. Somebody may forget a jersey and have to borrow a teammates, a jersey could get ruined during a game and have to be switched, or a player may just switch numbers without telling anyone, or he might put on the wrong jersey.  Who's to say that a team even has the finances to even have numbers. Way back when players never had numbers, in fact, the NY Yankees were the 1st to put numbers on a uniform and they did it by the order they  hit in the lineup, hence the reason Babe Ruth was number 3. 

There is a reference in rule 4.19 that says a protested game shall not be ordered to be replayed unless the disputed decision directly affected the protesting team's opportunity to win the game. However, rule 10.01 tells the official scorer to record the exact situation when the game was protested, as most upheld protests are re-played from that point. Common sense should prevail here.  It seems senseless to re-play the entire game.


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