Do MLB Pitchers Intentionally Hit Batters?


Baseball is a beloved American pastime, with millions of fans around the world. The game has been around for over a century, and continues to be a beloved event for many. One of the most controversial topics in the game is whether or not MLB pitchers intentionally hit batters. This article takes an in-depth look at the issue, examining both sides of the debate and delving into the history of MLB pitching.

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History of Intentional Hitting

At its core, baseball is a game of strategy. Pitchers have the ability to throw a variety of pitches, and it is up to the batter to determine which pitch will be thrown and how to hit it. This strategy has been around since the inception of the game, and has seen its fair share of controversy.

In the early days of baseball, pitchers would often try to hit batters in order to intimidate or gain an advantage. This practice was known as “brushback” or “chin music.” In some cases, brushback pitches were used to protect a pitcher’s teammates, while in other cases they were used to gain an edge in the game.

Over time, the practice of intentionally hitting batters has been largely phased out, but it still exists to this day. While it is officially against the rules, there are still some pitchers who take advantage of the situation and use it as a tool to gain an edge.

The Debate

The debate over whether or not MLB pitchers intentionally hit batters has raged on for years. On one side of the debate, there are those who argue that pitchers do not intentionally hit batters. They argue that pitchers are simply trying to pitch the best game they can, and that any perceived intentionality is simply part of the game.

On the other side of the debate, there are those who argue that pitchers do, in fact, intentionally throw at batters. They point to statistics that show that certain pitchers have a higher rate of hitting batters than others, as well as specific instances where it appears that a pitcher has thrown at a batter intentionally.

Reasons for Intentional Hitting

There are a few different reasons why a pitcher may choose to intentionally hit a batter. The most common is to send a message to the opposing team. Pitchers may also intentionally hit a batter in order to gain an advantage in the game. For example, if a pitcher has the opportunity to throw a pitch that is difficult for the batter to hit, they may choose to throw at the batter in order to get the batter out.

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Another common reason for intentionally hitting a batter is to protect a teammate. If a pitcher feels that a batter is getting too close to the plate, they may throw at the batter in order to back them off. This tactic is often used when a pitcher’s teammate has been hit by a pitch, in order to “send a message” to the opposing team.

Potential Consequences

If a pitcher is found to have intentionally hit a batter, there are a few potential consequences that they could face. The most severe of these is a suspension from the league. Depending on the severity of the situation, the length of the suspension could range from a few games to an entire season. Additionally, the player may also be fined, or even have their contract terminated.

In some cases, the pitcher may also face criminal charges. Intentionally throwing a pitch at a batter is considered assault, and if the situation is serious enough, the pitcher could be charged with a criminal offense.

MLB’s Stance

The MLB takes a strong stance against intentionally hitting batters. The league has a strict policy against pitchers throwing at batters, and any player found to have done so will face disciplinary action. The league also works closely with teams to ensure that pitchers are not throwing at batters intentionally, and that any perceived instances of intentional hitting are investigated thoroughly.

The Impact on the Game

Intentionally throwing at batters can have a significant impact on the game. For one, it can lead to a lot of animosity between teams, as pitchers may take it upon themselves to retaliate against batters on the opposing team. Additionally, it can also lead to injuries, as a pitch that is thrown with the intent to hit can be much harder than a normal pitch.


The debate over whether or not MLB pitchers intentionally hit batters is a contentious one, and it is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. While there are those who argue that pitchers do not intentionally hit batters, there are also those who believe that some pitchers do take advantage of the situation and use it as a tool to gain an edge. Ultimately, it is up to the league to determine whether or not a pitcher has intentionally thrown at a batter, and to take appropriate action if necessary.