In baseball, the batter's box is where the batter stands in order to receive a pitch.
There are in fact two batter's boxes on a professional field - one for left-handed batters and one for right-handed batters. At the major league level, they measure 3 feet wide by 4 feet long. Generally they are outlined with chalk, with the chalk considered part of the batter's box for any judgments. They were enacted in 1874 as part of a number of changes to the dimensions and physical look of the baseball field of play.
The rules regarding the batter's box are pretty simple:
- A pitcher cannot throw a pitch while the batter has any part of his body touching the ground outside the batter's box;
- Once the pitcher steps to the rubber (puts both feet on the rubber of the pitching mound), the batter can only leave the batter's box (and thus stop the pitch) by asking for a time out from the umpire.
- If the batter places a foot entirely outside of the batter's box and hits the ball with his bat, he is out, and the ball is dead (see below.)
- If a batter strikes a ball and it hits him while he is still inside the batter's box, it is a foul ball.
- A player is "inside the batter's box" as long as one foot remains on the ground within the batter's box.
Most of the rules involving batted balls and the batter's box are invoked infrequently (much like the instances which invoke them.) One famous incident involving an out in the batter's box occurred in 1965, with the great slugger Hank Aaron at the plate. Pitcher Curt Simmons threw Aaron a slurve (slow curve) and Aaron, in his excitement, took two steps towards the pitch and knocked it out of the park for a home run. But the umpire spotted Aaron's indiscretion and correctly ruled Aaron out and the ball dead.