Official Rules

Official Rule Book

Greater Hartford Independent Baseball League


The Greater Hartford Independent Baseball League operates under current official baseball rules published by the​​ National Baseball Congress unless contradicted herein. Some rules are reiterated for clarity.



League Overview/Player Eligibility


  • The Greater Hartford Independent Baseball League (herein referred to as​​ GHIBL) is an amateur baseball league which plays its games in the Greater Hartford area of Connecticut. Games are played between April and October.


  • In order to participate in GHIBL individuals must meet the following criteria;

    • Must be 18 years of age by the first scheduled league game.​​ No person turning 18 after that date is permitted to play the entire season.

    • Male.

    • Physically able to meet the demands of baseball activities.


  • GHIBL is a Wooden Bat Baseball League.​​ The bat shall be a smooth, round stick not more than 2 ¾ inches in diameter at the thickest part and not more than 42 inches in length.


  • Each team is required to submit a roster to the league prior to the start of the season.

    • Rosters should contain between twelve and sixteen players.​​ ​​ This is not​​ a requirement, but rather a suggestion to insure against forfeits and prevent bench overcrowding; chapter four will outline regulation games and lineup sizes.

    • Five roster moves are permitted per season without approval of the board of directors. All roster​​ moves must be submitted to the league in a timely manner. No roster changes are allowed after August 1. Players not appearing on a team roster on August 1 will not be eligible to participate in the post season or championship games.

    • In order to be eligible to play in the playoff and championship games, a player must have appeared in a minimum of six (6) games in the regular season.​​ The Board of Directors may issue a waiver in the event an injury or other mitigating circumstance does not make this possible.

    • If a team is unable to field nine players from their submitted roster, a player not appearing on the roster will be allowed to play. No more than two players not appearing on a given team’s roster will be allowed to play in any single game. Players not appearing on the roster must still appear in baseball clothing as described in chapter three, but are not required to fully match their teammates. Players not on the roster shall never be permitted to play while a physically capable player on the roster sits​​ on the bench.

  • Prior to the start of each game, each manager shall submit a full lineup card including substitutes. ​​ The opposing manager should verify that all players listed on the card are present and that all players present are listed on the card. ​​ Lineup cards shall consist of first and last name and jersey number.

    • In an effort to provide efficiency and transparency the GHIBL adopts the following operational updates (Roster Management Rule Update 2017):

      • All GHIBL roster management must be sent to the league email:​​

      • Team Rosters Posted on GHIBL website (excluding player personal contact info)

      • Team/player pictures encouraged

    • Game Record Management

      • Home team is responsible for sending pictures of lineup cards from both teams, along with short recap of the game.

        • Short Recap includes the Final Score & 2 to 3 sentence highlight directly to league email​​​​ (it is recommended that the opposing team manager is also copied), by home team​​ BEFORE TUESDAY 12 NOON (or before 2 days from game at Noon)



League Operation


  • The GHIBL will be operated by a board of directors to be established by a majority vote of the team managers.

    • Each season following the Championship Game and prior to the start of the next calendar year, the managers will​​ meet and elect the board of directors for the upcoming season.

    • A quorum of 7 is required to establish a new board of directors. Each team will cast one vote for each elected position. If the vote results in a tie, a revote will be taken in which only the​​ individuals that received an equal number of votes will be eligible to receive votes. If the second vote also results in the same tie, the current board of directors will​​ vote and determine the winner. (All five members of the current board must cast a vote in a tie situation.)


  • The board will consist of;

    • President

    • Vice President

    • Treasurer

    • Secretary

    • At Large member


  • The board of directors will be responsible for;

    • Securing fields for each season prior to the start of the season.

    • Determining the schedule for​​ each season.

    • Scheduling umpires for each league game.

    • Scheduling and coordinating all makeup games.

    • Settling any league disputes.

    • Providing an adequate number of game baseballs to last the entire season.

    • Securing insurance coverage for league participants.

    • Final determination in a rainout situation prior to the start of the game.





  • All players on a team shall wear uniforms identical in color, trim and style. No player whose uniform does not conform to that of his teammates shall be permitted to participate in a game.

    • Teams will be given a five game grace period at the beginning of the season to get new players uniforms. During that period players not in matching uniforms must still appear in baseball clothing. No shorts, Jeans or Dress Pants are permitted at any times.


  • The Uniform will consist of;

    • Jersey

    • Baseball Pants Sweatpants and athletic pants are permitted in an emergency situation only and should not be a regular player’s pant throughout the season.

    • Baseball Cap

    • Matching Socks

    • Baseball Cleats​​ No Sneakers or flat soled shoes shall be worn. Shoes with pointed spikes similar to golf or track shoes shall not be worn.



Game Rules


  • Prior to the start of each game the managers of the opposing teams will meet the umpires at home plate and exchange​​ lineup cards. Ground rules should be discussed and agreed upon at​​ this meeting. Both teams will provide the umpires with two brand new baseballs; in the event that more balls are needed both teams will provide them equally.


  • Each team’s lineup will consist​​ of nine fielders and two Extra Hitter positions designated on the lineup card as EH.​​ LINEUP CARDS FOR THE PLAYOFFS AND CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES WILL CONSIST OF 10 BATTERS.

    • Once a lineup card has been submitted to the umpires the number of batters in the order may not change. If for any reason a batter is unable to take his turn at bat it will be declared an out. No team can continue a game with less than eight players.​​ With the permission of the opposing teams manager, an injured player, or player needing to leave the game prior to completion may be skipped in the order without an out being taken. Managers are encouraged to allow this exception but not required. Please notify the opposing manager and umpire prior to the start of the game if you know a player will​​ need to leave early and will not have a replacement in the order.

    • Teams with twelve or more players present at the start of the game may not choose to submit a lineup with less than twelve men. If a team begins the game with nine, ten or eleven men they will not be forced to take any automatic outs, unless the number of men in the lineup is reduced for any reason. If a team begins a game with eight men, when the ninth position comes around in the order it will be declared an automatic out.

    • If a team cannot​​ field eight players fifteen minutes after scheduled game time a forfeit will be declared.

    • Any of the starting players and substitute players on the lineup card may be withdrawn and replaced an unlimited number of times, provided such players occupy the same batting position whenever he is in the lineup.

    • Only offensive changes need to be reported to the opposing score keeper and umpire. Players can change positions and enter freely defensively. Batters must report that there is a change in the batting order​​ prior to a pitch being thrown. Batting out of order will result in the batter declared out.​​ When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out and the defensive team appeals to the umpire before the first legal pitch or play, the umpire shall declare​​ the proper batter out and return all runners to the base occupied at the time of the pitch. When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out and a legal pitch has been delivered to the succeeding batter, or all infielders leave the diamond if a half​​ inning has ended, and before an appeal has been made, the improper batter becomes the proper batter and the results of his time at bat become legal.

    • Once a pitcher is replaced during a game as the pitcher and his replacement has thrown a pitch, regardless​​ of whether the pitcher exits the game completely or simply moves to another position he may not reenter that game as the pitcher.

    • The GHIBL is intended to be recreational and enjoyable for all, every player paying a fee to play baseball deserves to play. All players attending games regularly should receive playing time. No player should spend an entire game on the bench. Any player concerned with his playing time, should speak with his manager. If an adequate understanding is not reached the player may file​​ a grievance with the League’s Board of Directors.

    • Each team is allowed to designate one person at the start of the game to receive a pinch runner upon reaching base. If no runner is elected prior to the start of the game and noted on the lineup card, two​​ instances of pinch running without removal and reentry from the game will be allowed. The pinch runner must be the last batted out.

    • Lineup cards will include, Player Name, Number, and Starting Position.


  • A Regulation Game consists of seven innings, unless​​ extended because of a tie score, or shortened (1) because the home team needs none of its half of the seventh inning or only a fraction of it, or (2) because the umpire calls the game.

    • If the score is tied after seven completed innings, play shall continue​​ until (1) the visiting team has scored more total runs than the home team at the end of a completed inning, or (2) the home team scores the winning run in an uncompleted inning.


  • If a game is called, it is a regulation game;

    • If five innings have been​​ completed.

    • If the home team has scored more runs in four or four and a half innings than the visiting team has scored in five completed half innings.

    • If the home team scores one or more runs in its half of the fifth inning to tie the score.

If each team has the same number of runs when the game ends, the umpire shall declare it a “Tie Game.” The GHIBL Board of Directors will determine a completion date if the game is necessary for playoff seating’s.


  • Sliding to avoid contact is required.

    • Players should​​ slide at second, third and home on close plays to avoid contact. If a runner fails to slide and disrupts the play by making contact with the fielder he shall be called out.

    • Fielders including the catcher can block their respective bases only when they have​​ possession of the baseball. If the fielder is blocking the base without possession of the ball Obstruction should be called.​​ If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is​​ dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.

    • Any deliberate attempt to make violent or malicious contact with any fielder will result in ejection and possible suspension subject to a board of director’s review.


  • Game Speed Up Rules

    • When any team’s catcher is on base with two outs his team is encouraged to implement a “speed up” runner to avoid extended delays waiting for the catcher to get his gear on prior to the next half inning. The runner is required to be the last batted out unless that batter is designated on the lineup as needing a pinch runner, in that instance it would revert to the batted out prior to him.

    • With no runners on base the on deck batter should be aware of balls that are thrown or hit to the backstop or behind home plate. The catcher or umpire should not be running back and forth to the backstop for the ball with no runners on base.

    • After four and a half if​​ the home team is winning or five full innings if the visitors are winning a ten run mercy rule will be in effect.





  • Prior to each GHIBL season the board of directors will establish a schedule for each team consisting of approximately 18 games, the majority to be held on Sunday’s between May and September. Each team will play one double header scheduled prior to the beginning of the season. No team will play more than three double headers in a season without prior Board of Directors approval.



Post Season Play


  • The top seven teams in the league each season will compete in a playoff to determine the league champion. League standings will be determined via point system.

    • Win = 3 Points

    • Loss = 1 Point

    • Forfeit Loss = -1 Point


  • Playoff Format



  • If two​​ or more teams are tied in points at the end of the season the following tiebreakers will be used to determine seeding.

    • Head to head win/loss record between tied teams.

    • Head to head run differential between tied teams.

    • Team with least amount of runs against​​ total for the season.

    • Coin flip.





  • All players participating in GHIBL events are required to meet sportsmanship guidelines. Failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in disciplinary action from the board of directors.

    • Treat all players with respect; name calling and swearing is prohibited.

    • Treat all umpires with respect.

    • Violence of any type is prohibited.

    • Arguing of balls and strikes is prohibited.

    • Be aware of spectators, respect everyone attending a game.


  • Alcohol is strictly prohibited from the dugout, benches and fields during GHIBL play.

    • Any player found to be drinking during a game will be ejected without warning and suspended for the following game.





  • In the event of expected inclement weather the board of directors​​ will do everything in their power to make a timely determination of when to cancel or postpone a game. The board will attempt to contact effected managers of a cancelled game by phone and email as soon as they’re aware the game will not be able to be played.

    • Each team is asked to designate one person they can send to the field and check the conditions after a day or night of rain two hours prior to game time to evaluate the field. If the field is playable but needs work, both teams should work on the field.​​ If the field is not playable, that information should immediately be communicated to the board of directors.

    • The league will not schedule more than (3) double-headers per season per team without both managers prior approval.


  • Prior to the start of the game, the league and the teams can cancel a game, but once it begins only the umpires can call the game.



Try Outs and​​ Draft


  • Tryouts will be held prior to each GHIBL season. Immediately following the tryouts the league draft will be held. Draft order is as follows;

    • Team entering GHIBL for the first time will choose first. When two teams enter the league at the same time,​​ first pick will be determined by a coin flip. The remaining draft order is determined by previous post season standings. Teams losing in the playoffs will be placed based on seed and round in which they lost in. The remaining draft order is determined by​​ regular season points. The lowest seed will receive the first pick and the defending champions receive the last pick.

    • Any player who refuses to play for the team that drafted him will not be eligible to play for another team for that entire season.

    • In an effort to provide order and structure to the Draft and Wire, the GHIBL adopts the following rule updates (Draft or Waiver Wire Rule Update 2017)

      • We follow the draft order or waiver wire order

      • Players are selected one at a time only

        • Trades rules still apply and can be proposed


  • Teams​​ not in need of new players are not required to draft; their pick will simply be skipped in the order.


  • Following the draft any players contacting the league looking to play will be placed on a team by the Board of Directors based on need.


  • Any and all​​ trades must be approved by all players involved, both team managers and the board of directors.


In an effort to provide order and structure to the Draft and Wire, the GHIBL adopts the following rule updates:

  • Draft or Waiver Wire Rule Update 2017

    • We follow the draft order or waiver wire order

      • Players are selected one at a time only

        • Trades rules still apply and can be proposed



Returning Players


  • Each person returning to the league will return to the same team they had previously been playing for.


  • Any player wishing to not return to​​ his previous team can enter the draft but must notify his previous team manager and the league.​​ Once a team manager becomes aware that one of his players is requesting to go back into the draft he should notify the league as well.


  • No player will switch​​ teams without league approval; any player found to have been on one roster and moved to another without league approval will not be eligible to play until the board of directors has decided on an appropriate solution.


  • A team may also simply agree to part​​ ways with a player and allow another team to pick him up.



League Fees


  • Each season the board of directors will determine operating costs and expenses and calculate a league fee. This should be communicated the league as a whole immediately.


  • Due to potential financial risk and liability and as a matter of responsible best practices for council operations management, the GHIBL adopts the following league fee payment timeline and the aligned discipline action plan.

    • League Financial Management Rule Update 2017:

      • League fees Due Date All league fees will be processed and received (post marked) no later than:

        • Memorial Day, annually (May 29, 2017 will be the first)

          • Half of the league fee is due opening day (Perhaps April 30, 2017)

        • League fees discipline action plan

          • Team will be on documented notice by the league if half of the league fee is not processed and received (post marked), by opening day.

          • Teams on notice are not suspended

            • Communication about the concern will be shared with league managers

          • Team will be suspended and their games will be resulted as a forfeit for any/all game(s) from the Memorial-day deadline (referenced above) until payment is received in full.