What is a Ground Rule Double?

It’s Terminology Tuesday, which means it’s time for some baseball education.  I’m a novice in baseball, despite how many games I’ve attended, and I’m betting some of you are too. Thanks to all you moms and dads who have endured my questions over the years, and now it’s time to share with others who may be new to baseball.

In a tournament this past weekend, #12 hit a ground ball to outfield, and it bounced off of the shoe of an opposing player into the brush outside the fence.  Turns out that doesn’t count as a home run.  I looked at my friend baseball mom as he jogged to second base, and said “What happened?”. (Note that #12 says that “What happened” is the most common thing I ask at baseball games). She said “Ground Something Double”, or at least that’s what I heard.

I texted that to Coach Dad who was not at the game, and he told me it was a Ground Rule Double.

I had never heard of that, and so I asked #12, #28 and Coach Dad to explain it to me after the game.

A ground rule double is called when a batted ball hits something such as the ground or an opposing player in fair territory and then goes beyond the outfield wall. The batter moves to second base on this call.  If other players are on base, each of them also moves ahead two bases. There are other situations as well.

Possible situations that could result in this call:

  • Ball hits the field and bounces into the stands
  • Ball hits a player or umpire and bounces over the fence
  • Ball gets stuck in the ivy on the bleacher wall at Wrigley field
  • Other situations? Comment below and I’ll add to this post

Use it in a sentence: I hit a ground rule double off of the center fielder’s foot.

This call is named ground rule double not because it applies to ground balls, but because its applicability is based on the ground rules of the stadium in which the game is played.  For examples of ground rules, read the ground rules at Fenway Park.


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