The end of the “bounce home run”
DECEMBER 12, 1930
NEW YORK CITY
– Did you know that a fair ball that bounced once into the stands used to be a home run? That was the case in the National League until the 1931 season. At the winter meetings on this date in 1930, the Major League Baseball joint rules committee decided to make standard what the American League enacted the year before, no more “bounce home runs.” In other to be a home run the ball had to reach the stands on the fly.
The question many had and have is, how many “bounce home runs” did Babe Ruth have, and should there be an asterisk next to his name?Some estimate he hit about thirty “bounce home runs.” It all probably evened out however, because some balls the Babe hit clearly far enough to be home runs were ruled foul because of where they landed rather than where they left the field of play, which used to be the rule. Another rule in place at the time and since changed is, if a ball was hit over the fence to end a game, the hitter only got credit for as many bases as it took to drive in the winning run.
Chances are Babe Ruth would have had more than 714 home runs had he played today.
December 13, 1930
Bill Grimes is a member of SABR (The Society for American Baseball Research)