Baseball Protested Game Rules

baseball protested game rules

Throughout the course of a baseball game, umpires make lots of calls for and against both teams. Managers will often disagree with several umpire calls throughout a game, but usually, there is nothing they can do about it, especially if the play is unreviewable. In the past, however, if they believed the umpires had misapplied the rules, there was something they could do. Keep reading for a discussion of the protested game in Major League Baseball (MLB) in greater detail.


In the MLB, a protested game was a rule which existed prior to 2021, which involved a situation where a manager believed the umpire had misinterpreted or misapplied the rules of the game.

In this situation, the manager would notify the umpires immediately following the play in question, and the remainder of the game would be played “under protest.” If the play in question was the final play of the game, then the protest could have been filed with the league office by noon the next day.

Once a protest was made, the league office would then review the situation, and if they believed the protest was valid, they would allow the game to resume from the point of the protest.

It is important to note that protests could not be made on judgment calls, only calls where it is believed that an umpire misapplied the rules. In the current MLB, the protest rule no longer exists, as the rule was amended prior to the 2021 season.


Below is a list of a few instances of successful protests that have taken place in MLB history.

1948 Dodgers-Pirates Game

In the ninth inning of a Dodgers-Pirates game, the Dodgers removed pitcher Carl Erskine before he faced one batter, which is not allowed. The Pirates protested and were successful, and when the game resumed, the Pirates won 12-11.

1986 Cardinals-Pirates Game

This was another rain delay situation, with the St. Louis Cardinals ahead 4-1 in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a 22-minute delay, the umpires called the game and named the Cardinals the victors. They were supposed to wait 30 minutes before doing so, and the Pirates successfully protested. The game was resumed, and the Cardinals went on to win 4-2.

2014 Cubs-Giants Game

The Chicago Cubs were leading the San Francisco Giants 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning when a rain delay came. A game is not considered complete until at least five innings have been played (4.5 if the home team is winning), yet the umpires eventually called the game and awarded the win to the Cubs. The Giants protested and were successful. The game was resumed two days later, and the Cubs won 2-1.


The protested game rule no longer exists as of the 2021 season. Prior to its removal, however, there were a few instances of successful protests throughout MLB history. In all, there were 15 known instances of a protest working out, with the first taking place in 1913 and the last taking place in 2014.

Five of these instances involved rain delays, while the other 10 were concerning other rules of the game. There have also been plenty of instances where a protest was filed, but the league office did not think it warranted the game being resumed.

Similar Rules to Protested Game Rules

  • Appealing plays on the bases
  • Manager challenges
  • Regulation game rules


What is a protested game in baseball?

In baseball, a protested game was a situation where a manager believed the umpire(s) had misapplied the rules of the game. They would notify the umpires after the play in question, and the league office would eventually determine whether or not the protest was valid. If it was valid, then the game would be resumed at a later date at the point of the protest. As of 2021, protesting a game is no longer allowed under any circumstances.