SoSH Glossary: Catcher’s Interference

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Catcher’s Interference

Catcher’s interference occurs during a pitch if the batter’s swing is impeded by the catcher in any way, as long as the hitter is still in the batter’s box. The batter is awarded first base for being interfered with, and any baserunners advance one base only if the force is in effect. However, catcher’s interference is a delayed dead ball situation – meaning the play continues after the interference – and the manager of the hitting team may elect to take the result of the play rather than having the batter take first base.

Interference most often occurs when a runner is attempting a steal and the catcher is prematurely placing himself in a position to throw the runner out. Hitters with distinct uppercut swings (often lefties, demonstrated best below by Jacoby Ellsbury), and catchers with a poor tendency to stab at the ball when receiving it, are both also prone to causing this event.

How Is It Scored?

The catcher is charged with an error if the catcher’s interference was accepted. The batter is not credited with an official at-bat, and the plate appearance does not affect his on-base percentage (since the denominator for OBP only includes at-bats, walks, sacrifice flies, and being hit by a pitch).

MLB Records

  • As seen above, Jacoby Ellsbury has an uncommon knack for reaching base on catcher’s interference. He’s one of six players to reach base twice in one game via catcher’s interference, along with David Murphy, Bob Stinson, Dan Meyer, Pat Corrales, and Ben Geraghty.
  • Roberto Kelly’s eight catcher interferences in 1992 is the single-season record.
  • Pete Rose was interfered with 29 times in his 22-year career, which is the all-time record for a hitter.

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