In baseball, a putout is any out made in the field of play (as oppposed to a strikeout.) This includes fly outs, groundouts, force outs, any outs resulting from illegal plays such as interference and batting out of turn, and runners tagged out while advancing.
The rules for baseball are exceptionally clear on who gets credit for a putout. In order to make a legal catch, a player must catch the ball in his hands before it touches the ground, and then "voluntarily" release the ball. This voluntary rule is why outfielders who catch a ball, slam into the wall, and then drop the ball are not credited with an out. Thus, the player who catches and releases the ball gets credit for the out.
In a force out, the player who is standing on the bag for the force is credited with the putout, while in a tag out, the player applying the tag gets the putout.
In cases where the batter is out for violating a rule (batting out of turn, batting outside of the batter's box, batter's interference, a fouled bunt thirrd strike), the catcher is awarded the putout.
On an infield fly, the putout is given to the player judged by the scorer as most likely to make the catch. If the runner is hit by a batted ball, or passes another runner, the fielder closest to the incident is credited with the putout.
Things get a little hairy on runner's interference. If the fielder who is being interfered with is not in the process of throwing the ball, he gets the putout. However, if he is throwing the ball, he gets an assist while the intended recipient of the throw gets the putout. (I told you these rules were clear!)
For obvious reasons, first basemen get a bulk of the putouts in a given game. Outfielders usually are next (with leftfielders usually out in front), followed by the shortstop, second baseman, pitcher, third baseman, and finally, the catcher. This arrangement is mostly due to the large ratio of right-handed hitters to left-handed hitters.
All-Time Putout Records
- Jake Beckley, 23721
- Cap Anson, 22568
- Ed Konetchy, 21378
- Eddie Murray, 21265
- Charley Grimm, 20722
- Stuffy McInnis, 20120
- Mickey Vernon, 19819
- Jake Daubert, 19634
- Lou Gehrig, 19525
- Joe Kuhel, 19386
- Jiggs Donahue, 1846, 1907 Chicago White Sox