What Is a 9-3 Putout And Why Is So Rare?

What Is a 9-3 Putout And Why Is So Rare?

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It is very rare that you will ever hear of a 9-3 putout in baseball. Ever wondered why it is so rare? Can you ever learn to do one yourself? Let our experts explain.

So, what is a 9-3 putout and why is it so rare? Well, a 9-3 putout refers to the various positions in baseball. Position 9 is the right fielder and Position 3 is the first base. A 9-3 putout is when the right fielder managers to get the hitter out by throwing the ball to first base. It is so rare because the chances of the ball being thrown and hitting the first base before the hitter gets there are slim.

Of course, we can expand upon this a little bit, and our experts have so much to share with you. This includes a bit of information on how often a 9-3 putout happens, and whether you can learn to do it yourself.

What is a 9-3 Putout and Why Is It So Rare?

Each position on the baseball field will be numbered. The ones we are most concerned with when it comes to a 9-3 putout will be positions 9 and 3. These are:

  • Position 9 is the right fielder
  • Position 3 is the first base

The term ‘putout’ in baseball simply means ‘out’. With a 9-3 putout, it means that the right fielder will be throwing the ball towards the first base. If the ball reaches the first base before the hitter then the hitter is out.

Sounds simple, right? So, why is it so rare? Well, because it is 90-feet from the home plate to the first base. This means that the following has to happen:

  • The hitter needs to hit the ball
  • The right fielder needs to catch the ball
  • The right fielder has to throw the ball to the first base
  • The person at first base needs to tap the hitter out

This all needs to happen before the hitter runs 90-feet. It is highly unlikely this will happen. In fact, the hitter will probably have reached the first base before the right fielder even thinks about throwing the ball.

The only way that the right fielder will get the ball to the first base is if one of these happens:

  • The hitter hits the ball very short, but even then the right fielder will need to retrieve the short ball, and they probably were not expecting it to happen.
  • The hitter needs to make a mistake in their run e.g. they slipped up, or they were a little bit too slow off of the home plate.

The reason why you never see a 9-3 putout happen is because the mistake a hitter makes needs to be incredibly serious for them to fail to reach the first base before the right fielder has an opportunity to throw it there. And, even then, a right fielder would need to realize that a mistake has been made. Most right fielders will just have it into their mind to throw the ball towards the second base, which is likely what they would do, even if the hitter made a mistake in their run.

The one time you really see it happen in MLB is because the hitter assumes that they have hit a foul ball, and the split second that it takes them to realize that their hit was ‘good’ the right fielder would have already reached the ball.

How Often Does a 9-3 Putout Happen?

Virtually never.

Obviously, we cannot comment on how often it happens in amateur baseball, but we can’t imagine that it ever happens in there. In MLB, it happens, on average, at least once per year. Since 1990, it is something that has only happened 29 times in MLB, and it is always a huge deal when it does happen.

Can You Learn to Do a 9-3 Putout? 

No. In fact, it is not recommended that you even attempt to do it.

In order to get the ball to the first base before the hitter gets there, two things will need to happen:

  • You throw a fast ball
  • The hitter is ridiculously slow

Throwing the ball towards 1st base in order to try for a 9-3 putout is not a sensible idea in the slightest. You will be throwing the ball towards the first base, which will give the hitter extra time to continue to run once they see what you are trying to accomplish with your throw.

Related Questions

Is it the hitter’s fault if they are caught by a 9-3 putout?

Almost certainly, yes. It means that the hitter is not running fast enough, or they have made a mistake in their run. It is almost impossible for the right fielder to get the ball to the first base unless the hitter makes a mistake in their run. If you watch a video of any 9-3 putouts, it is virtually guaranteed that you can see a mistake in the run.

Where should the right fielder throw the ball in baseball?

The right fielder is a backup to the second base. Therefore, barring exceptional circumstances, the balls that they throw should always be aimed towards the second base. This is their sole responsibility.

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