What Is The 9-3 Putout In Baseball?

A 9-3 putout in baseball is an infrequent play that results in putting a batter away from the field until their next turn at the bat. So, what exactly is the 9-3 putout in baseball, and why is it such a rarity? Allow us to explain. 

In baseball, a 9-3 putout refers to specific positions on the field. Position 9 corresponds to the right fielder, while Position 3 represents the first base. A 9-3 putout occurs when the right fielder successfully throws the ball to first base, resulting in the hitter being declared out. 

But why is a 9-3 putout so rare? The reason it is so infrequent is due to the slim chances of the ball being thrown accurately and reaching first base before the hitter arrives. Let’s delve deeper into the topic, see the historical significance of this play, and learn how to execute it.

How Does A 9-3 Putout Work?

Each position on the baseball field will have a designated number. The positions that are of utmost importance in a 9-3 putout are positions 9 and 3. Position 9 refers to the right fielder, while position 3 corresponds to the first base. 

In baseball, the term ‘putout’ simply means ‘out.’ In a 9-3 putout, it signifies that the right fielder will throw the ball towards the first base. If the ball reaches the first base before the hitter, then the hitter is declared out. 

At first glance, this may seem like a straightforward play. However, it is quite rare to witness a 9-3 putout. This is primarily due to the fact that the distance between the home plate and the first base is 90 feet. 

In order for a 9-3 putout to occur, the following sequence of events must take place: 

  1. The hitter must make contact with the ball. 
  2. The right fielder must successfully catch the ball. 
  3. The right fielder must then throw the ball to the first base. 
  4. The person positioned at first base must tap the hitter out. 

All of these actions must transpire before the hitter manages to run the entire 90 feet. Given the circumstances, it is highly improbable for all these events to align perfectly. In fact, it is more likely that the hitter will reach the first base before the right fielder even contemplates throwing the ball.

The only circumstance in which the right fielder will successfully throw the ball to first base is if one of the following scenarios occurs: 

  1. The hitter hits the ball very short, but even then, the right fielder would need to quickly retrieve the ball, which they probably weren’t anticipating. 
  2. The hitter makes a mistake during their run, such as slipping or being too slow off the home plate. 

The reason why a 9-3 putout is rarely seen is because the mistake made by the hitter would have to be extremely significant for them to fail to reach first base before the right fielder has a chance to throw the ball there. Even if such a mistake occurs, the right fielder would need to recognize it. 

Most right fielders instinctively throw the ball towards second base, regardless of any mistakes made by the hitter during their run. The only time you might witness a 9-3 putout in Major League Baseball is when the hitter mistakenly assumes they hit a foul ball, and by the time they realize their hit was fair, the right fielder would have already reached the ball.

Can You Learn To Do A 9-3 Putout? 

No, it is strongly advised against attempting to do so. To successfully get the ball to first base before the hitter reaches there, two conditions must be met: 

  • You must throw a fastball
  • The hitter must be exceptionally slow. 

Attempting to throw the ball towards first base in an attempt to achieve a 9-3 putout is highly impractical. By doing so, you would be giving the hitter additional time to continue running once they realize your intention with the throw. 

How Often Does a 9-3 Putout Happen?

Hardly ever. Clearly, we cannot speculate on the frequency of its occurrence in amateur baseball, but we find it hard to believe that it ever occurs there. In MLB, it occurs, on average, at least once annually. Since 1990, it has only occurred 29 times in MLB, and it always garners significant attention when it does occur.

Is It The Hitter’s Fault If They Are Caught By A 9-3 Putout?

Most likely, indeed. This indicates that the batter is either not running at a sufficient speed or has committed an error in their sprint. It is highly improbable for the right fielder to successfully throw the ball to first base unless the batter has made a mistake in their run. By observing any 9-3 putouts on video, it is practically certain that you will be able to identify a flaw in the runner’s execution.

Where should the ball be thrown by the right fielder in baseball? 

The right fielder serves as a backup to the second base. Therefore, unless there are extraordinary circumstances, the balls thrown by the right fielder should always be directed towards the second base. This is their primary responsibility.

Conclusion for What Is The 9-3 Putout In Baseball?

A 9-3 putout is a play through which the defensive team puts out a batter of the offensive team until their next turn at bat. It occurs when the right-field player manages to hit the stumps and get the runner/batter out. It is incredibly rare because a lot of things need to align in place for it to happen. If the batter doesn’t hit the ball and if the right field player does not catch the ball and throw it lightning fast to first base, the 9-3 will not happen. You can get some success with practice, but a 9-3 putout is not easy to achieve.

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