A Comprehensive Guide to Fielder’s Choice in Baseball and Softball

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Fielder’s choice is a term used in baseball and softball when a batter reaches a base safely despite having outs from their at-bat. For example, a ground ball hit to the second baseman can result in the lead runner being thrown out at second base, although a double play at first is not possible. In this case, the hitter-runner gets to first base due to the defender’s choice to get an out at second base. This article answers the questions about fielder’s choice, such as why it is called that way, how scorebooks record it, and the difference between fielder’s choice and double play.

Why is it Called a Fielder’s Choice in Baseball and Softball?

Fielder’s choice is the term used since the player reaches the first base safely due to an out made at a different base. This only occurs when a baserunner on the bases is out via a hit, and it is the fielder’s decision to get the out at a different base. There is no hit credit given to the hitter since they did not record a clean hit.

How Do Scorebooks Record a Fielder’s Choice?

Scorekeepers use “FC” to indicate a fielder’s choice in the scorecard during the game. The FC abbreviation tells the story of what took place via an out. For example, a scorekeeper might mark a 6-4 on an FC play, which means that the shortstop got the ball and threw it to the second baseman to get an out. The scorebook shows that the hitter reached first base safely, but only did so via a force play. Other abbreviations that may appear on the card include “K” for a strikeout, “SB” for a stolen base, “PO” for putout, and “HBP” for hit by pitch.

What are Examples of a Fielder’s Choice During a Game?

A force out and advancing on a play are examples of a fielder’s choice during a game. In a force out, with a runner on first and second, a grounder goes to the third baseman, who tags the base at third to get the lead runner out. The batter then receives an FC on the scorecard since the play at third base was the only out on the diamond. In advancing on a play, the batter hits the ball to the outfield, and the outfielder throws the ball towards home plate to get a different runner out. The batter-runner who hit the ball could take second base on the throw. The official scorer will then mark the play as a single and that they took second base on a fielder’s choice throw.

What is the Difference Between a Fielder’s Choice and a Double Play?

The primary difference between a fielder’s choice and a double play is the number of outs that occur. A fielder’s choice can happen on a double-play attempt. If the infield tries to turn a double play and only gets the runner out at second and not first, it goes in as a fielder’s choice. However, if the throw from the second base beats out the runner going to first, the play is a double play.

Why Do Defensive Players Opt for the Fielder’s Choice on a Play?

An MLB player will opt to get the lead runner out on the basepaths if there is that opportunity on a play. For example, a batted ball hit softly to the third baseman with a runner already on first might result in the defender getting one out. If the defender knows that they can’t turn two outs on the play, they will opt to throw the ball to second base to get the lead runner out of scoring position. Another reason why teams will opt for the fielder’s choice is when they are