Dear Mr. Baseball:my understanding that the official...

MR. BASEBALL

June 16, 1994

Dear Mr. Baseball:

my understanding that the official scorer cannot charge an error to a fielder for failing to complete a double play. Why?

Samuel I. Rosenberg

Baltimore

Dear Samuel I. Rosenberg:

Your question suggests that you attend many baseball games and possibly even keep a personal score book. If this is the case, please advise on how to note "Texas leaguer" in scorekeeper's shorthand. Any guidance on "broken-bat dribbler" also would be appreciated.

Armed with your question, Mr. Baseball contacted Camden Yards official scorer Bill Stetka, who referred to section 10.14 (c) of the Official Baseball Rules. This popular section states that no error shall be charged to a fielder "when he makes a wild throw in attempting to complete a double play."

Stetka theorized that the rules drafters gave extra leeway on double plays because of all the hazards encountered by fielders while trying to complete one. (i.e., sliding runners, sharp spikes, hurried throws). The official scorer added that the rule does not protect the double-play pivot man when an errant throw enables a batter to reach second. In that case, a throwing error is charged.

Dear Mr. Baseball:

Is Roger Maris in the Hall of Fame?

James Giza, Age 12

Baltimore

Dear James Giza:

Mr. Baseball is very impressed with this question because you are asking about a player who retired 14 years before you were born. Either you read a lot of books or have talked about baseball with some very elderly fans, possibly your parents.

As you know, Maris hit a record 61 home runs in 1961. He was the American League Most Valuable Player twice, led the AL in RBIs twice and won a Gold Glove for his outfield play. But that hasn't been enough to impress the baseball writers who decide who gets into the Hall of Fame. To be elected, a player needs the votes of 75 percent of the writers. Maris, who died in 1985, had his best showing in 1988 with 43 percent.

Maris still might get in, but only if he is selected by a veterans committee, which chooses some older players.

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