Can't Steal First Base (1941)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Sep 6 04:24:28 UTC 2002

At 8:59 PM -0700 9/5/02, Dave Wilton wrote:
>"FIELDER'S CHOICE is the act of a fielder who handles a fair grounder and,
>instead of throwing to first base to put out the batter-runner, throws to
>another base in an attempt to put out a preceding runner. This term is also
>used by scorers
>(a) to account for the advance of the batter-runner who takes one or more
>extra bases when the fielder who handles his safe hit attempts to put out a
>preceding runner;
>(b) to account for the advance of a runner (other than by stolen base or
>error) while a fielder is attempting to put out another runner; and
>(c) to account for the advance of a runner made solely because of the
>defensive team's indifference (undefended steal)."
>I don't think I've ever heard a play-by-play announcer use "fielder's
>choice" for "catcher's indifference," but scorers and sabermetricians
>certainly use it this way.
>I've never heard or seen "undefended steal" other than in the rulebook, but
>I thought I'd throw it in to see if anyone reacted. Googling doesn't turn up
>any hits for it, except for quotes from the rulebook.

Ah, you win this round.  Fielder's choice it is (though as we agree,
it's rarely actually USED this way in public, i.e. for (c) above).  I
suppose it makes sense--choosing to do nothing is still a choice. As
for undefended steals, perhaps they should be known as undefended
"steals", with scare quotes.


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