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Official Professional Baseball Rules Book

The Official Professional Baseball Rules Book govern all aspects of the game of Major League Baseball beyond what happens in the field of play.[1] There are a number of sources for these rules but they all ultimately are sanctioned by the Commissioner's Office of Major League Baseball. Examples of these rules are the Rule 5 draft and the disabled list. Other examples include:

  • the 5/10 Rule whereby players who have been with a club for 5 consecutive years and have been a major league player for 10 years cannot be traded without their consent.
  • the roster list rules (25 and 40 man lists) which also determines who is eligible to play for a team in the playoffs and World Series
  • tie-breaking rules for deciding which teams go to the playoffs
  • implementing/enforcing the expanded playing rules issued to umpires which goes into much greater detail than the official Baseball rules. These rules are described in the Umpire's Manual.


Rules BookEdit

The Official Professional Baseball Rules Book is organized into the following sections:

Major League RulesEdit

The Major League Rules begin with a note stating that whenever a provision of any of its rules conflicts with a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated with the Major League Baseball Players Association, the provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement supersedes the Major League Rules.

The following are the topics covered by current Major League Rules:[citation needed]

  1. Circuits
  2. Player Limits and Reserve Lists
  3. Eligibility to Sign Contracts, Contract Terms and Contract Tenders
  4. First Year Player Draft
  5. Annual Selection of Players (known as the Rule 5 draft)
  6. Selected Players
  7. Termination of Player-Club Relation
  8. Major League Unconditional Release
  9. Assignment of Player Contracts
    • 9A-Temporary Assignment
  10. Major League Waivers
  11. Optional Agreements
  12. Transfer Agreements
  13. Suspended Players
  14. Retired Players
  15. Restricted, Disqualified and Ineligible Lists
  16. Reinstatement of Players
  17. Player Salaries (governed by the Basic Agreement)
  18. Playing Otherwise than for a Club
  19. Umpires and Official Scorers (Hiring and Firing Rules)
  20. Conflicting Interests
  21. Misconduct
    • a) Misconduct in Playing Baseball (throwing games)
    • b) Gift for Defeating Competing Club
    • c) Gifts to Umpires
    • d) Betting on Ball Games
      1. Betting on Other Baseball Teams (1 year ineligible)
      2. Betting on Own Team (permanently ineligible)
    • e) Violence or Misconduct (judgement of commissioner)
    • f) Other Misconduct
    • g) Rule to be kept posted (in English and Spanish in every clubhouse)
  22. Claim Presentation
  23. Holidays
  24. Suspended Personnel
  25. Uniform Playing Rules
    • a) Official Baseball Rules
    • b) Playing Rules Committee
    • c) Duties of Playing Rules Committee
    • d) Official Scoring Rules Committee
    • e) Duties of Official Scoring Rules Committee
    • f) Copyright and Publication
  26. Gate Receipts
  27. reserved
  28. Voting
  29. Major League Disaster Plan (previously this rule was reserved)
  30. Finances
  31. Bulletins
  32. Schedules (to be issued by commissioner)
  33. Qualification for Post-Season Series
    • a) Division Champions
    • b) Wild Card
    • c) Tie-Breaking Procedures
  34. Post-Season Series
    • a) Division Series
    • b) League Championship Series
    • c) World Series
  35. Post-Season Supervision by the Commissioner
  36. Pennant and Memento
  37. Post-Season Schedule (this is where the all-star game winner rule applies)
  38. Post-Season Series Termination
  39. Post-Season Playing Rules (use the home team's rules)
  40. Players Eligible for Post-Season (must be active, disabled, suspended or military on Aug. 31)
    • only 25 eligible players on a team
  41. reserved
  42. Post-Season Expenses
  43. Post-Season Playing Grounds
  44. Post-Season Admissions
  45. Division of Post-Season Receipts
  46. Bonus Forbidden
  47. Exhibition Games
  48. Obligations of Participants
  49. reserved
  50. Enforcement of Major League Rules
  51. Classification of Minor Leagues
  52. Major and Minor League Territorial Rights
  53. Minor League Expansion, Contraction,Relocation and Reclassification
  54. Regulation of Minor League Franchises
  55. Minor League Free Agency
  56. Standard Player Development Contract
  57. Travel Standards for Minor League Clubs
  58. Standards for Minor League Playing Facilities
  59. Lien on Territory
  60. Definitions
    • a) Major League
    • b) Major League Club
    • c) Major League Player
    • d) Minor League Association
    • e) Minor League
    • f) Minor League Club
    • g) Club
    • h) Minor League Player
    • i) First Year Player
    • j) Commissioner
    • k) President of a Minor League Association
    • l) Major League Reserve List
    • m) Minor League Reserve List
    • n) Major League Active List
    • o) Minor League Active List
    • p) Championship Season
    • q) Player Development Contract (PDC)
    • r) Independent Minor League Club
    • s) Inactive Lists
    • t) Winter League

This is followed by the Acceptance of all the Clubs. Then there are the Attachments to the Rules (numbers refer back to Rule # above):

  • 3—Minor League Uniform Player Contract
  • 4a—Player's acknowledgement of Receipt of Contract Tender
  • 4b—Declaration of Club Official
  • 12—Notice to Player of Release or Transfer
  • 52—Major and Minor League Territories
  • 54—Standard Minor League Financial Disclosure
  • 56—Standard Form Letter Establishing Player Development Contract
  • 58—Minor League Facility Standards and Compliance Inspection Procedures

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Official Professional Baseball Rules Book, Office of the Commissioner, New York 2003. Available at the Baseball Hall of Fame library in Cooperstown, NY

External linksEdit