Catcher's interference is a specific type of interference that occurs when the catcher makes contact with the batter (or his bat) during a pitch, or otherwise hinders or impedes a batter's ability to hit a pitched ball. In order for catcher's interference to be enforced, the batter must have been in a legal batting position with both feet within the batter's box.
Catcher's interference is considered a delayed dead ball situation, much like a balk. If a play follows the interference, the umpire will allow the play to continue, as the offended team's manager can choose to decline the interference and accept the result of the play, in which case the play stands without reference to the interference. If the interference is accepted, the batter is awarded first base without liability to be put out, and baserunners may advance only if forced. The catcher is charged with an error however the batter is not considered to have reached on an error, and is not charged with a time at bat. While the batter is charged with a plate appearance (according to rule 10.22a), for statistical purposes, reaching on catcher's interference does not affect a player's on-base percentage. A notation should be made in the boxscore that batter x was awarded first base because of catcher's interference.
Catcher's interference occurs quite rarely in the majors, and only six players have been the beneficiary twice in one game, for a total of seven instances: Ben Geraghty (1936), Pat Corrales (1965, twice), Dan Meyer (1977), Bob Stinson (1979), David Murphy (2010) and Jacoby Ellsbury (2015). Ellsbury is the only one among these to have the interference charged to two different catchers. Ellsbury is also the single-season leader, with 12 in 2016, and tied Pete Rose for the career lead, when he reached a total of 29 during the 2017 season.
- Ted Berg: "Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury set an extremely obscure record", For the Win!, USA Today Sports, July 20, 2016.