Little League Rule Differences

Your umpire school will train you on Little League’s rules, but below are some common difference to pay attention to. Some are obvious while others are more subtle. In addition many coaches and parents have a false understanding of Little League rules that are more based in myth than reality. It’s important as the umpire that you know how to make the correct call.

 

Key Differences – Little League to MLB

Playing the Field / MLB Rule 1.04

  • Base Distance - Little League: 60 feet, MLB: 90 feet
  • Pitcher’s Mound Distance - Little League: 46 feet, MLB: 60 feet 6 inches
  • Base Size - Little League: 14 x 14 inches, MLB: 15 x 15 inches
Bat Rules / MLB Rule 1.10
  • Bat Length Max - Little League: 33 inches, MLB: 42 inches
  • Bat Width Max - Little League: 2 1/4 inches, MLB 2 5/8 inches
Uniform & Jewelry / MLB Rule 1.11
  • Jewelry/Necklaces/Earrings – Little League: not on any player, MLB: not on the pitcher

Definition of  Terms: Strike Zone / MLB Rule 2.00

  • Top of the Strike Zone - Little League: armpits, MLB: midway between belt and shoulder

Substitutions / MLB Rule 3.03

  • Re-entry Rule - Little League: starter can re-enter if who they are replacing has played 6 outs and batted once, MLB: no re-entries

Game Ends / MLB Rule 4.10

  • Length of Game – Little League: 6 innings, MLB: 9 innings
  • Length of Regulation Play – Little League: 4 innings, MLB: 5 innings
  • 10 Run Rule – Little League: yes, MLB: none

Batter is Out / MLB Rule 6.05

  • Strike 3 Dropped – Little League: batter is always out, MLB: not out unless first base is occupied with less than 2 outs
Fences / MLB Rule 7.03
  • Distance from Home to Fence – Little League: 165 feet, MLB: 250 feet (some exceptions)

Runner is Out / MLB Rule 7.08

  • Slide – Little League: must slide or attempt to avoid a tag, MLB: no rule
  • Sliding Head Frist- Little League:  only when returning to a base, MLB: okay in all cases

Leaving a Base / MLB Rule 7.13

  • Leaving a Base – Little League: A Runner cannot leave before a pitch reaches the batter. MLB: no rule