Table of Tables

   Changing the Rules
   Chronology of Changes to Major League Baseball Official Rules

Table 1: Changes to Rule 1

Table 1. Changes to Rule 1 (Objectives)
1845 There are no restrictions on bat size or shape. 1.1
1845 The ball weighs three ounces. 1.09
1845 The pitching distance is forty-five feet. 1.07
1849 The New York Knickerbockers introduced the first uniforms, blue and white cricket outfits. 1.17
1854 The ball weighs from 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 ounces and is from 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 inches in diameter. 1.09
1859 The bat is limited to 2 1/2 inches in diameter (before this a bat like that used in cricket with a 4-inch-wide flat face had been commonplace). 1.1
1860 Whitewash is used to mark the foul lines. 1.04
1863 The bat must be round and of wood. Its width is still limited to 2 1/2 inches, but its length is not restricted. 1.1
1865 The pitcher's box-twelve feet by three feet-replaces the twelve-foot line. 1.07
1866 The pitcher's box is enlarged to a four- by twelve-foot rectangle. 1.07
1867 The pitcher's box is six feet by six feet. 1.07
1868 The pitcher's box shrinks to a four- by six-foot box. 1.07
1868 The Cincinnati Red Stockings introduce knickerbocker trousers. 1.17
1868 The bat is to be no more than forty-two inches long. 1.1
1869 The pitcher's box is a six-foot square. 1.07
1872 The ball is required to weigh not less than 5 and not more than 5 1/4 ounces, with a circumference of not less than 9 and not more than 9 1/4 inches. 1.09
1875 The (unpadded) catcher's glove is introduced, by Charles G. Waite. 1.12
1877 Canvas-covered bases are required. They are fifteen inches square, the same as today. 1.06
1877 Home plate is relocated to its present spot. 1.05
1881 The pitching distance is lengthened to fifty feet. 1.07
1882 The three-foot base line is adopted. 1.04
1885 Home base may be made of marble or whitened rubber 1.05
1885 The bat may have one flattened side. (This rule lasted only one year.) 1.1
1886 The pitcher's box becomes four feet by seven feet. 1.07
1887 The pitcher's box is 4 feet by 5 1/2 feet. 1.07
1887 Home plate is to be made of rubber and is to be twelve inches square 1.05
1893 The pitching distance is increased to sixty feet, six inches, where it remains today. 1.07
1893 . The pitcher's box disappears (never to be seen again) and is replaced by the rubber-a slab twelve inches long and four inches wide. 1.07
1895 The pitcher's rubber is enlarged to its present size of 24 by 6 inches. 1.07
1895 The maximum diameter of the bat is increased to 2 3/4 inches, where it remains today. 1.1
1900 The shape of home plate is changed, from a twelve-inch square to a five-sided figure seventeen inches wide. 1.05
1904 The height of the pitcher's mound is established. It may not be higher than fifteen inches above the base lines and home plate 1.07
1910 The cork-center ball is adopted for regular use (it had been used in the previous year for occasional play). 1.09
1920 Enter the "lively ball." Australian yarn, said to be stronger than its American equivalent, may be wound tighter, so the ball's bounce and hardness increase. 1.09
1926 The cushioned cork-center baseball is introduced. 1.09
1934 Both major leagues are required to adopt the same brand of baseball. 1.09
1950 The pitcher's mound must be fifteen inches above the level of the base lines 1.07
1954 The bat may be made of two or more pieces of wood laminated together. 1.1
1959 Minimum fence distances are established for new ballpark construction. 1.04
1962 Oversized gloves are banned for use by pitchers, infielders, and outfielders. [1.14 and 1.15] 1.14
1962 Batters may apply a grip-improving substance to the bat, though not beyond eighteen inches of its length beginning at the handle. 1.1
1968 The pitcher's mound is lowered to ten inches above home plate and the base lines, where it remains today. 1.07
1971 All major league players must wear protective helmets at bat 1.16
1975 The ball may be covered with cowhide as well as horsehide. 1.09
1975 Cupped bats are allowed 1.1
1988 Protective helmets are mandatory for catchers. 1.16(d)

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JCBA Vol. 20. Rule 1 Changes
Published: December 15, 2001
Copyright © 2001 by the Cosmic Baseball Association