Baseball Collisions at Home Plate Rules

Baseball Collisions at Home Plate Rules

In baseball, home plate is the location of some of the game’s most important plays. A runner tries to reach home safely to score, while a fielding player will attempt to prevent this with a tag. Due to this, there is a high risk of the runner and fielder making contact at home plate. Collisions at home plate can be extremely dangerous to both players’ health. Therefore, Major League Baseball (MLB) has instituted rules for collisions at home plate to minimize the risk of injury during a play.


The rules about collisions at home plate are a set of guidelines for runners and fielders that states the legal actions and positioning during a play at home plate. Due to their position behind home plate, the catcher is most often the fielding player defending home plate. There are separate requirements for the runner and the fielder. However, the runner and catcher should generally try to minimize avoidable contact.

For the runner, once they have established a pathway to home plate, they must not deviate from it in an attempt to fake out the catcher or initiate contact. They should not use their arms, legs or any other body parts to force the catcher out of their position. Catchers should not try to initiate unnecessary contact or impede the runner’s progress. The catcher is only allowed to block the runner’s base path or home plate when they have the ball.


If the runner deviates from their established base path, they will be declared out, even if they reach home plate safely. If the catcher blocks the plate or the runner’s base path without possession of the ball, then the runner will automatically score. Both calls are to be made under the umpire’s judgment.


  • A runner is trying to score at home plate. The first baseman throws the ball to the catcher, but the catcher stands in the way of the runner’s base path before they have possession of the ball, and the runner will score.
  • The runner changes their base path in an attempt to trick the catcher. The runner has made an illegal move, and they are automatically out.
  • When running, the player drops their shoulder or uses their arms in an attempt to force the catcher off home plate. This is considered unnecessary and avoidable contact, and the runner is out.


Major League Baseball implemented the collision at home plate rules on February 24, 2014. One of the key causes of this implementation was the injury to Giant’s catcher Buster Posey in May 2011. In this game, opposing player Scott Cousins collided with Posey at the plate while making a legal slide. Posey would sit out of the rest of the season with a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle.

This event brought the topic of home plate collisions to the forefront, and MLB would soon instill guidelines for runners and catchers concerning safe plays at home plate. The rule was implemented in the Major and Minor leagues in 2014 and still stands today.

Similar Rules to Collisions at Home Plate

  • Slide Rule
  • Obstruction
  • Fielder Right of Way


What is a collision at home plate in baseball?

A collision at home plate occurs when the base runner collides with the player fielding home plate, which is more often than not the catcher. The runner will be coming home at full speed, and the catcher will try to block the runner as much as possible, and this setup can lead to the two making contact.