What is RBI in Baseball? – Runs Batted In Explained


Written by

Michael Rogers



Leo Hagenes

What is Rbi in Baseball

Baseball is widely known for its abundant abbreviations for statistics that help analyze the game and its players on various levels. If you check out the standard metrics of baseball, you will find RBI among the stats for offense, more specifically for a batter’s performance.

So, what is RBI in baseball? A quick answer for you is: RBI stands for Run Batted In, which is credited for a batter’s play that helps score a run. Dig in to know more about the meaning of RBI in baseball.

Definition of RBI in Baseball and Its Purpose


Check out the box score above. Do you recognize any of the main metrics in baseball stats?

The fourth metric, after AB (At Bats), R (Run), and H (Hits), is RBI (Runs Batted In). It is among the statistics employed to evaluate offensive performance. In fact, run-battled-in, batting average, and home runs are referred to as the offensive “Triple Crown.”

However, you should know that there is a debate ongoing about whether it is a useful stat to judge the batter, as there are many players involved in this score credit.

The full RBI meaning in baseball is the number of runs scored by a player; the important thing is: this run score must be the result of that player’s own at-bat, which differs from a score only credited as a Run.

Indeed, there are exceptions:

  • No RBI is credited if the run scored results in a doubleplay, a stolen base, a wild pitch, or an error.

An RBI in softball means the same as the RBI baseball term, as it is also a metric for evaluating a batter’s at-bat run scores.

In both sports, the common instances that bring the batters their RBI are run-scoring hits, hit-by-pitch, and bases-loaded walks.

How Does It Work?


Official baseball rules regulate every important statistic. You can check out rule number 9.04 of MLB regarding RBI.

  • A batter receives an RBI when scores a run without any error. The feat has to be the batter’s own hit (home run included), sacrifice fly, sacrifice bunt, infield out, or fielder’s choice (and not by errors).
  • The runner gets all three full bases.
  • Or before two outs, an error is recorded in a play that a runner from 3rd base can normally score.

However, there is no RBI credit in the following circumstances:


  • There is a double-play or reverse-force double play
  • The fielder’s side commits an error during the feat (often spoiling an easy throw at 1st base)

For your information, a batter can be credited up to 4 RBI from a single hit.

Good RBI in Baseball


The average RBI in baseball is around 50 – 100. Check out the MLB leaders with the best career records and season records here.

Player Best career record Highest season record (top 5)
Hank Aaron 2297
Albert Pujols 2218
Babe Ruth 2214
Alex Rodríguez 2086
Cap Anson 2075
Barry Bonds 1996
Lou Gehrig 1995 185 (1931)

173 (1927, 1930)

Stan Musial 1951
Ty Cobb  1944
Jimmie Foxx 1922 175 (1938)
Hack Wilson 1063 191 (1930)
Hank Greenberg 1276 183 (1937

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Don’t You Receive an RBI Credit?

Suppose you, as a batter, after a performance that results in a run score, are not credited an RBI. In that case, it’s likely either of the two following things happened.

First, the run just scored is from an error (E). Or, it could be that the run score comes from Ground Into Double Play (GIDP), where the batter hits the ground ball that forces multiple outs.

RBI and OPS: What is the Difference?

Both are metrics to evaluate a hitter’s performance.

However, unlike RBI, on-base plus slugging (OPS) refers to how well a hitter can perform regarding his power, batting skill, and ability to get to the next base. In detail, this stat combines the slugging percentage and on-base percentage for evaluation.

Who Has the Highest RBI in MLB?

Check out the table above for outstanding Major League RBI totals. Among all baseball legends, Hank Aaron holds the record for most RBI in a career with 2297. He also holds the record for most total bases of 6856 and extra base hits of 1477.

The Reason Why RBI is Not a Useful Stat in Baseball

As stated above, many deem RBI as a flawed statistic in baseball, mostly because of how batting positions might affect it. In other words, the lineup of other players around him will be a part of the successful feat.

For instance, according to most experts, the third or fourth batter in the game will be more likely to have higher RBI as their bases are often occupied.

What is RBI Double Meaning?

An RBI double or 2 RBIs are recorded when the batter hits a home run while there is a runner occupying the 1st base.


That’s everything you need to know to answer “What is RBI in baseball?” Indeed, to evaluate a hitter’s performance, Run-Battled-In alone is not the most helpful metric.

However, the statistics still let us know the batter’s ability to score runs as well as the good arrangement of the great line-up around him. Such information already reveals many interesting points about the game and its players. Stay tuned for more fun break-down from us!

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