If you’ve never seen a baseball field before, its layout may confuse yet amaze you on the first visit. The diamond shape in the center of the baseball field dictates all of the players’ actions and scoring success like no other sport’s field. That’s where all the bases are.
So, the question is, how many bases are on a baseball field? FIY, there are four of them, namely first, second, and third base, plus the home plate, hence the diamond shape.
Explore more below.
Table of Contents
Location and Characteristic of Each Base
Refer to the diagram of a baseball field below to see the number of bases and their locations.
You can see the green grass area at the top of the diagram is the outfield; going further down is the infield, where the two teams execute most of their tactics and actions.
However, today, we will focus on the diamond with the baseball bases numbers on the diagram, bordered by the two foul lines and the infield dirt. On the field, where these foul lines connect the home plate with the 1st and 3rd bases are also referred to as baselines.
On a baseball diamond, each base is 90 feet away from the very next one. In the center of it is the pitcher’s mound, where the player throws his pitch.
Let’s take a deeper look into each of the baseball field positions to see its respective part in a game.
1. First base
The first base is the first of four bases and plates on a baseball field, it’s located on the right baseline, right in front of the coach’s box (refer to the diagram).
You will notice that the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bases are marked by either rubber cushions or white canvas.
Two players are involved with this base:
- The runner of the batting team will have to run to first base and touch it first to score a run. As long as he reaches 1st base, he is safe from being put out if showing no attempt to reach second base.
In plays that are not battle balls, the runner must touch first base to be safe from being tagged out.
- On the other hand, the first baseman of the defensive team must be there to field ground balls and catch other infielders’ throws. He can force the other team’s runner out at 1st base or hold the opponent there to keep them from advancing to the 2nd base.
2. Second base
Looking at the top of the diamond, you will notice the 2nd base, right across the home plate. Surrounded its left and right is the infield dirt.
In this location, several players are involved, including the runner, the second baseman, and the shortstop.
- The runner must touch the 2nd base after the 1st to score a run for his team.
- In the meantime, the defensive team’s shortstop and the 2nd baseman will cover the base and field the ball.
3. Third base
The third baseline runs on the left of the field with the 3rd base located on it, 90 feet away from the 2nd base. Behind it is another coach’s box.
- The runner, on his way to score a run, must reach the 3rd base right after the 2nd base. In the game of baseball, he has the opportunity to score a run on a sacrifice fly or a single.
- The third baseman that defends this position is responsible for fielding batted balls and throwing to 1st base quickly.
4. Home plate (fourth base – final base)
You now might already have an idea how many feet to first base and third base the home plate is located. Yes, it’s 90 feet.
This base is unique as it is a rubber slab with 5 sides, set into the ground to level the baseball field. Its measurements in inches are as follows:
After passing all three bases before that, the runner reaches the final base, where he must touch to be credited a run.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a 4th base in baseball?
As stated above, the 4th base in baseball exists, and it’s the home plate. This final base is surrounded by a right-handed batter box on its left, a left-handed batter’s box on its right, and a catcher’s box right behind.
It indeed lies within the field’s fair territory, just like other bases.
Is home plate a base?
Yes, it is. Instead of being referred to as the fourth base, this essential base is referred to as home plate, emphasizing that the player must reach this final base in order to score a run.
Why are bases 90 feet apart?
As shown in the diagram, two bases next to each other have a distance of 90 feet, as prescribed by The National Association of BaseBall Players (NABBP).
In fact, a longer distance than the regulated 90 feet will tip the scale towards the defensive team, while a shorter distance will give too much advantage to the offensive team.
In conclusion, four is the answer to your question, “how many bases are on a baseball field?” Indeed, it does not stop there, as there are many relevant factors to these bases that make the baseball game as complicated yet exciting as it is.
If this article piques your interest, feel free to explore more about baseball fields and rules explained in detail in our blog. Have fun!
Rogers is a hardcore baseball enthusiast. He joined Nations Baseball as a writer to share his knowledge and help others realize their passions for the sport. Roger is striving towards becoming a coach at his local baseball club.