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Baseball's Hidden Ball Trick

Updated on August 7, 2008

The Hidden Ball Trick is a deceptive ploy to take advantage of a base runner's lack of attention or mental lapse. There are a few types of "strategies" of the hidden ball trick. One of those is with a runner on first base, the first baseman approaches the mound to have a conversation with the pitcher. The pitcher covertly hands off the baseball to the first baseman. The first baseman goes back to the base with the ball hidden in his glove. He gets in position to hold the runner on at first base.

The pitcher mimics getting ready to throw a pitch. If the pitcher puts his foot on the rubber it is a balk. Now the first baseman waits for the runner to step off first base. If he does, and the first baseman tags him, the runner is out. This is all assuming there is no timeout; that the ball is live.

Scoring the out resulting from the hidden ball trick follows the rules of a runner caught stealing a base. In this example it is scored as a "CS 1-3" where "CS" represents "Caught Stealing", the "1" represents the pitcher who started the play by handing it off to the first baseman; and "3" represents the first baseman who tags out the runner.

Learn more about scoring a baseball game

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