Bat-and-ball games

Young men playing a bat-and-ball game in a 13th-century manuscript of the Galician Cantigas de Santa Maria

Bat-and-ball games (or safe haven games to avoid confusion with club games such as golf and hockey) are field games played by two opposing teams.[1] The teams alternate between "batting" roles, sometimes called "in at bat" and "out in the field", or simply in and out. Only the batting team may score, but they have equal chances in both roles. The game is counted rather than timed.

A player on the fielding team puts the ball in play with a delivery whose restriction depends on the game. A player on the batting team attempts to strike the delivered ball, commonly with a "bat", which is a club governed by the rules of the game.

After striking the ball, the batter may become a runner trying to reach a safe haven or "base". While in contact with a base, the runner is safe from the fielding team and in a position to score runs. Leaving a safe haven places the runner in danger of being put out. The teams switch roles when the fielding team puts the batting team out, which varies by game.

In modern baseball the fielders put three players out; in cricket they retire all players but one.

Some games permit multiple runners and some have multiple bases to run in sequence. Batting may occur, and running begin, at one of the bases. The movement between those "safe havens" is governed by the rules of the particular game.

Globally, cricket and baseball are the two most popular games in the family.

List of bat-and-ball games

Mainstream sports

Other games

Hybrid bat-and-ball games

Non bat-and-ball games

Striking the ball with a "bat" or any type of stick is not crucial. These games use the foot or hand. Otherwise their rules may be similar or even identical to baseball. The first two use a large (35 cm) soft ball.


  1. Usually. In some games for a small number of players, such as workup and the old-cat games, there are no teams and players rotate through the positions.

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