Baseball’s Intriguing Rule: Can You Touch a Runner on a Homerun?

John Means

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Touch a Runner on a Homerun

Baseball is a game filled with intricate rules and scenarios that often leave both seasoned fans and newcomers wondering about the nuances of the sport. 

One such scenario that has sparked curiosity is the question of whether you can touch a runner on a home run. 

In baseball, where precision and timing are paramount, this particular situation comes with its own set of guidelines and implications. Here, we will delve into the rules, can you touch a runner on a home run? 

From the drama that unfolds on the field to the umpire’s crucial judgment, we’ll explore the unique dynamics at play in this rare baseball occurrence. So, stay focused. 

Can You Touch a Runner on a Homerun?

In baseball, a runner can be touched or tagged out on a home run if they are in the process of rounding the bases and have not yet touched home plate. 

The defensive team must physically touch the runner with the ball, or tag them with the ball in hand before the runner reaches home plate. 

If the runner successfully touches home plate before being tagged or touched, they score a run, and the home run is counted. 

However, if they are tagged out before touching home plate, the run does not count, and they are considered out. 

This scenario is relatively rare, as most home runs result in a clear path for the runner to touch home plate without any defensive interference.

What Is Walk-Off Home Run?

A walk-off home run is a thrilling and dramatic event in baseball, characterized by several key features:

Game-ending Home Run

Walk-Off Home Run

A walk-off home run occurs when a player from the home team hits a home run in the bottom of the final inning (typically the ninth inning) to give their team a victory. 

The game ends immediately as the winning run crosses home plate, and the home team celebrates their dramatic victory.

Instant Victory

Unlike a typical home run that simply adds to a team’s score, a walk-off home run ends the game immediately, without the need for the visiting team to complete their turn at bat in the following inning. 

It provides an exhilarating and conclusive conclusion to the game.

Heroic Moment

Walk-off home runs are celebrated as heroic and iconic moments in baseball

The player who hits the walk-off home run becomes an instant hero, and such events often hold a special place in the team’s and fans’ memories, creating lasting excitement and nostalgia.

Emotional Intensity

The combination of the game-ending nature, the dramatic long ball, and the jubilant reaction of players and fans makes a walk-off home run one of the most emotional and memorable events in the sport. 

It’s a testament to the unpredictability and excitement that baseball can offer.

The Rules of Touching a Runner

The Rules of Touching a Runner

In baseball, there are specific rules governing the act of touching or tagging a baserunner with the ball in order to record an out. 

Here are some important points regarding the rules for touching a runner:

Force Outs vs. Tag Outs

In baseball, there are two primary ways to record an out when touching a baserunner. The first is a “force out,” which occurs when a fielding player with the ball touches the base to which the runner is forced to advance, such as first base on a ground ball hit to the infield. 

The second is a “tag out,” where a fielder with the ball physically touches the runner with the ball in hand, typically on a non-force play, like a runner attempting to advance to the next base without a force.

Proper Tag Location

To record a tag out, the fielding player must touch the runner with the ball or the glove while the ball is securely held within it. 

The tag can be applied to any part of the runner’s body or uniform, as long as it is not a part of their uniform detached from the body, like a cap.

In force outs, the fielding player needs only to touch the base with possession of the ball, and they don’t have to tag the runner.

“In the Baseline”

The runner is entitled to run in a direct path from their current position to the next base. 

Fielders trying to tag out the runner must do so within this “baseline” – an imaginary line connecting the runner’s position to the base they are advancing to.

Any attempt to tag the runner outside of this baseline is considered obstruction and can result in the runner being awarded the base. However, if the runner deviates from the baseline to avoid a tag, they can be tagged out.


To avoid a tag, runners often slide into a base feet-first or head-first. Sliding is a way to evade the tag and potentially reach the base safely. 

It’s crucial for runners to follow the rules of proper sliding technique to avoid interference, such as not initiating a malicious slide or targeting a fielder. 

Fielders also need to avoid blocking the base path without possession of the ball, which could result in obstruction.

Understanding these rules for touching a runner is essential for both fielders and baserunners in baseball to ensure the game is played fairly and safely.

MLB Average OBP

The MLB average OBP fluctuates from season to season due to various factors, including changes in player performance, rule adjustments, and league-wide trends. 

Here are some key points about the average OBP in MLB:

Historical Perspective

Historically, the MLB average OBP has seen fluctuations over time. In the early years of baseball, the average OBP was considerably lower compared to the modern era. 

With the evolution of the game, changes in equipment, rule modifications, and advancements in player training, OBP has generally increased, reflecting a greater emphasis on plate discipline and getting on base.

Recent Trends

In recent years, the MLB average OBP has tended to be around the .320 to .330 range, but this can vary from season to season. 

Factors influencing these fluctuations include changes in pitching strategies, the use of analytics to optimize player performance, and the introduction of new baseballs, which can affect hitting outcomes.

Individual and Team Variations

OBP is not consistent among all players or teams. Some players consistently maintain OBP well above the league average, while others may fall below. 

Similarly, successful teams often have a higher collective OBP, as it is a key factor in generating runs. 

Teams and players who prioritize on-base skills tend to outperform those who rely solely on power-hitting or batting average.

Importance of OBP

On-base percentage is a vital statistic in baseball because it directly contributes to a team’s offensive success. It measures a player’s ability to reach base safely through hits, walks, and hit-by-pitches. 

OBP is often considered a better measure of a player’s offensive contribution than batting average alone because it accounts for all ways a player can reach base and highlights plate discipline.

Understanding the MLB average OBP is essential for evaluating player and team performance and for assessing how well the league as a whole values the ability to get on base, which is a fundamental aspect of generating runs and winning games.

Aftermath of Touching Runner After Home Run

Touching Runner After Home Run

Touching a runner after a home run in baseball can lead to various consequences and scenarios. 

Here are a few key points about the aftermath of touching a runner following a home run:

Potential for Nullifying the Home Run

If a fielding player touches a baserunner after a home run, the result depends on whether the runner touched home plate before being tagged or touched with the ball. 

If the runner touches home plate first, the home run stands, and a run is scored. However, if the runner is tagged or touched by a fielder before reaching home plate, the run doesn’t count, and the batter-runner is considered out. 

The home run is nullified, and any other baserunners return to their previous bases.

Umpire’s Decision

The outcome of the play largely hinges on the umpire’s judgment. Umpires must make a quick and accurate call regarding whether the runner was touched before or after touching home plate.

Their decision can be crucial in determining the result of the game, particularly in close and contentious situations.

Rare and Memorable Moments

Instances of a fielding player touching a baserunner after a home run are relatively uncommon in baseball due to the clear path most runners have to home plate. 

When it does occur, it often becomes a memorable and dramatic moment in the game, generating excitement and discussion among fans and players.

Sportsmanship and Etiquette

It is generally considered good sportsmanship for fielding players to avoid touching a runner after a home run, especially if the runner has already crossed home plate. 

Deliberately attempting to tag or touch the runner in such situations can be seen as unnecessary and could lead to conflicts on the field. 

Players are typically more concerned with celebrating or dejectedly accepting the outcome of the home run rather than trying to record an out in such instances.

Touching a runner after a home run can lead to different outcomes depending on the timing of the touch relative to the runner reaching home plate.


Can a runner touch another runner in baseball?

No, runners are not allowed to touch other runners. Doing so can result in interference, and the runner making contact may be called out. 

However, accidental contact is generally not penalized unless it interferes with a fielder’s play.

Can you touch the home plate with your hand?

Yes, in baseball, a runner can touch home plate with any part of their body, including a hand, to score a run. 

As long as any part of the runner’s body crosses over the home plate before the fielding team tags them or records an out, the run counts.

Can a coach touch a base runner?

No, coaches are not allowed to touch a base runner while the play is in progress. 

Interfering with a runner can result in the runner being called out, and in some cases, the coach may be ejected from the game for such actions.

What happens if a base coach touches a runner?

If a base coach touches a runner while the play is in progress, the runner may be called out for interference. 

The specific consequences can vary based on the situation, but the most common outcome is that the runner is called out, and the play is ruled dead.

Can a fielding player touch a baserunner after a home run?

Yes, a fielding player can touch or tag a baserunner after a home run, but the timing is crucial. If the runner touches home plate first, the run is scored, and the home run counts. 

However, if the runner is tagged before touching home plate, the run doesn’t count, and the batter-runner is out.

Wrapping Up

In the realm of baseball, every moment counts, and the question of whether you can touch a runner on a home run adds an extra layer of complexity to the game. 

As we’ve uncovered, the rules and consequences surrounding this scenario are clear, but the emotions it evokes can be anything but. 

From potential game-changing calls by umpires to the thrill of witnessing a dramatic home run, this aspect of the sport keeps fans on the edge of their seats. 

So, the next time you witness a home run, you’ll know the rules that come into play and appreciate the unique and unforgettable moments this rule has created in the world of baseball. Thank you so much. 

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John Means

John Means is a professional baseball player who has played in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics. He made his major league debut with the Royals in 2009. He was traded to the Athletics in 2012. Baseball is his favorite sport. His passion about the game is evident in his play. Now he write blogs about baseball and other things whenever he has some free time. LinkedIn

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