Indeed, Landers writes about the backstories behind baseball's most memorable regulations on MLB.com, and you'll surely want to read them. As you may have guessed from the title, one of the things I found most fascinating was why hitters are given four balls and three strikes. The rule dates back to 1857, but it wasn't until 1910 that it was decided by umpires who were instructed to give batters four balls because they were being "abused." Before then, it was usually just three balls and two strikes.
Here's how the rule changed over time: In 1857, when there were only eight teams in the league, each team got one chance to hit against every batter. So if a batter got three balls, that was his lot for the game. If he got four, that was fine too. But in 1873, when there were 10 teams in the league, it was decided that if a batter got three balls, he could be given another strike via a walk. If he got four, that was final ball put into play. From then on, if a batter got four balls, he would be removed from the game.
The point is that there was no reason for this rule to exist other than to "fix" an issue that didn't really need fixing. Batters were getting their asses kicked back in 1857, so why not just make the game easier to watch by limiting their chances? Makes sense to me.
Only every third "unfair pitch" was ruled a ball at the time, which meant that a hitter could only walk after nine pitches out of the strike zone. As time passed, the regulation was reduced to eight balls, then seven, and so on until the league agreed on four balls in 1889. The rule changed again in 1901 to three strikes and no further legal counts.
The rule came into effect in an effort to make baseball more exciting to watch by reducing a batter's chances of reaching base. Previously, any number of fouls or wild pitches would allow a hitter to reach first base. By limiting how many times a batter can be given free passes, managers hope he will take more risks with his batting order or hire a new hitter.
Mt. Rushmore is a large group of granite statues carved into the side of a mountain in South Dakota. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited the site in 1939, he is said to have remarked that the figures looked like pitchers throwing balls at a batter. This inspired the name "Pitchers' Park," which has been used ever since to describe any stadium built by a major league team as well as its surrounding area.
This picture shows a ball and bat, but there are several other objects that could be considered baseball equipment.
If the count reaches three strikes, the batter strikes out; if the count reaches four balls, the hitter advances to second base (a "walk").
Thus, a strikeout is achieved by getting three balls and no strikes, while a walk requires only four balls and no strikes.
The number of balls required to reach either mark varies depending on the number of balls used in an inning. If there are one or two balls used per hit, then a player can be awarded a strikeout after being hit by any number of balls. However, if three balls are used per hit, then a player must be hit by all three balls before he can be granted a strikeout. A player cannot be awarded a strikeout if he hits into a force out at any point during the course of an inning.
Since 1909, when the American League adopted its current set of rules, this has been the standard method for awarding bases on balls and strikes. Previously, this was not always the case; in fact, prior to 1909, each league had its own unique approach. In some leagues, a player could be awarded a base on balls after being hit by only two balls, while in other leagues, he needed to be hit by only one ball to be awarded a base on balls.
Third strikes were bundled in with foul balls in that catchers may still catch the ball on one bounce for an out, despite being deemed a "fair" ball. Third strikes, on the other hand, were comparable to fair balls in that the runner might advance if the ball went uncaught. In other words, the regulations made no logical sense.
If the hitter is out on strike three and the ball gets to the screen, an interesting play may occur. The batter-runner (let's suppose he's right-handed) backs up many steps and ends up on the grass outside the dirt circle while the runner on third base races towards home.
In baseball, the count is the number of balls and strikes thrown to the current hitter. The number of balls is always listed first, followed by the number of strikes. There can never be more than three balls or more than two strikes in the count. If a batter gets a hit after being put out twice on three-ball counts, that ball becomes a strike for him.
The rule is intended to prevent batters from getting an excessive number of pitches to hit. While it does not prevent them from doing so, it does make it less likely that they will succeed. A team's pitching staff can plan their attack based on how many balls and strikes there are in the game. When there are few balls and strikes available, the pitcher is likely to get more chances to work into outs; when there are many balls and strikes, he will usually get the chance to escape only one or two runners at a time.
There is no official limit to the number of balls or strikes that a batter can have on deck at any given time, but most managers choose not to bring in another batter while there are still balls and strikes available for the original batter. This prevents the opponent from taking advantage of a man down on defense or with the bat. A manager may decide to pull a pitcher out of the game before the maximum number of balls or strikes has been reached if the situation calls for it.