HDL Rules

Changes/updates entered Aug. 27, 2015

The rules described herein are in addition to the Official Rules of Baseball, which are recognized in all baseball leagues.  The rules listed are specific to HDL (also referred to as the “League”) in conjunction with the Official Rules of Baseball.  The rules are enforced in general by the League officers and more specifically on the field by the umpires assigned to the games.

 League Dues

 1.    The annual dues are to be paid by every player in order to participate in the League and play in games governed by the League.

 2.    The dues are subject to change each season.  Final amount to be paid per player is set by the current HDL Officers.  Dues may be paid by check or cash directly to the VP/Treasurer responsible for finance as elected by the members. All checks are to be made payable to Hernando Desoto League or HDL.

  3.    The dues are to be paid in full no later than the date set by the current officers. Anyone who does not have their dues paid in full by that date shall obtain approval of a current league officer or they will not be eligible to take the field until they have paid in full.  

  4.    New players who join the League after the established dues date may be allowed to pay a pro-rated amount for the remainder of the season. Pro-rated dues amounts will be as determined by the League officers.                       

  5.     Any personal check returned for insufficient funds will require cash payment to include any processing fee incurred by the League for ISF.

 League Eligibility

 1.       A player must be at least 30 years of age to participate in the League.

 2.       A player that is turning 30 years of age by the end of the season is qualified to participate.

 3.       Under extenuating circumstances, the HDL Officers may lower minimum acceptable age to 28 years of age by the start of the season.  Under-age player are only allowed by special consent of the officers’, by a majority vote.

 4.        No exceptions to the age rule, other than previously stated, are acceptable and granted only in order to preserve the integrity of the League and maintain a minimum number of players required to make up a team. Age exceptions are at officers’ discretion by a majority vote.

 5.        Any player who is “under” 30 years of age is not eligible for post season awards (i.e., batting title, MVP, etc.).

 6.        Any player who is not 30 years of age is not eligible to pitch in a regular season or playoff game.

 7.        Any new pitcher to the League may not pitch more than three innings in any one game before amassing 15 total innings (i.e., 3 innings x 5 games = 15 innings) during their first season of participation. During a pitcher’s second year in the HDL, the inning restriction shall not apply.

  8.     Any player with at least two (2) years history of paying membership dues in the HDL, AND, has paid their full year dues prior to July 15th of the current season, is expected to participate in at least 1/3 of his team’s regular scheduled games to be eligible to play in the HDL Championship finals. Exceptions to the 1/3 minimum played games will be administered by HDL Officers for the best interest of HDL Competitive game impact.  Exceptions that may be waived are:  vacations, injury, job related absences, financial and family emergencies.  Exceptions that are not valid are:  participation in other adult baseball or softball leagues.


 1.        The League officers are responsible for umpires, with oversight by the President, and shall procure officials for each scheduled game. 

 2.        League officers are responsible for ensuring that a roster of umpires is kept and that the VP/Treasurer assures that umpires are paid after each day’s game(s).

 3.        The umpires are the officials for ensuring that baseball rules are observed and enforced on the field during games.  In this capacity, umpires are the last word on any play, call or decision regarding a contest between two HDL teams.  The only exception to this would be when HDL specific rules require clarification by a league officer or manager and only when requested by an umpire.

 4.       All judgment calls pertaining to play during the game made by an umpire are final. 

 5.       The only player on the field who may challenge HDL specific rules is a team manager and/or an officer. 

 6.       Umpires are only to officiate the game as it pertains to the rules of baseball and are not to express any action to unfairly alter the outcome of the game to include: engaging in any conduct which seeks to incite confrontation with a player, declaring an intent to alter the course of the game directed at any player, or exhibiting poor sportsmanship.

7. If a player/coach has been ejected from the game, he will be suspended for one game, no matter the severity of the action which caused the ejection. A longer suspension or expulsion will be decided on by league officers if necessary.


 General sportsmanship and decorum is the expectation of all HDL players.  Players should conduct themselves in a manner that exhibits healthy competition.  Disagreements in baseball are imminent and part of the game. There is a line that can never be crossed, however: 

These boundaries are as follows:

 1.       Any physical altercation initiated by a player toward another player and/or umpire is grounds for suspension or expulsion from the League. A warning and/or a fine could result from these actions. Any player who instigates an altercation with physical contact such as pushing, shoving or fighting will be automatically suspended for one game plus a $5.00 Fine.  A player who is involved in a 2nd incident in the same season will be automatically suspended for 3 games and assessed a $10.00 fine.  All Fines in conjunction with a suspension will be required to be paid in full before return to playing status is granted.

 2.       Any equipment used as a weapon whether swung or thrown at anyone is grounds for suspension or expulsion from the League.  A warning and/or a fine could result from these actions.

 3.       Unsportsmanlike conduct perpetrated by a player against another player to include but not limited to:

             a)     Sliding into a base “spikes up”,

            b)      Unnecessarily blocking a base without possession of the ball,

            c)      Or a blatant disregard for any and/or all players on the field including themselves is grounds for ejection from the game and suspension and/or fines.

 4.       If a player excessively argues an umpire’s call, the umpire will notify the player’s team manager that a warning is issued for his player’s mis-conduct.  After an initial warning has been issued, any additional unsportsmanlike conduct persisting toward the umpire may result in player ejection from the game by the umpire.  If a player is ejected and fails to vacate the field of play in a timely manner, the ejected player will receive an automatic 2 game suspension for failure to comply with an umpire, officer or manager request to cooperate. Punishment and/or fines will be decided by the Officers. 

 5.      Any foul or inappropriate language deemed audible beyond the dugout or playing field is unacceptable.  Violations may incur a warning and/or a fine not to exceed $10

6.      THREE STRIKES YOU ARE OUT – Any player who is involved in 3 disruptive incidents in a season will be suspended for the remainder of a season when the 3rd incident occurs. All fees or dues will be forfeited. 

Uniform Rule

1.      All players should wear the designated uniform as set forth by the Hernando Desoto Baseball League. You will not be allowed to play if you are not in proper uniform attire.

2.      The uniform is to include the jersey designated by the League as the official jersey for their team.  The uniform should include gray or white baseball pants (i.e., candy stripe, paisley, hearts or any designer pants that are pajama bottom in nature are not allowed).

3.       When a team wears a vest style of jersey, pitchers are allowed to wear white or gray under-sleeves as long as the team is wearing all white/gray under-sleeves. However, pitchers white/gray sleeves may not extend below the elbow.  Pitchers are allowed to wear medical sleeves that extend below the elbow.  However, they may not be white and/or gray.

4.        All players must wear uniforms in the proper manner.  All shirt tails must be tucked into the pants. All caps must be worn forward, no visors allowed.

 5.       All players are required to wear a baseball cap on defense or while running the bases.

 6.       A helmet is required at bat and on the bases.(March 2020)

 7.       No sleeves are allowed to be split, frayed or cut-off.

 8.       Any player violating the above rule is subject to fines at the discretion of the league officers.  Uniform fines may not exceed $5 per game.

 Courtesy Runner Rule

1.         A courtesy runner is allowed for the pitcher, catcher, and ONE other player(3 Total) designated prior to first pitch. The pitcher automatically gets a courtesy runner and counts as ONE of your THREE courtesy runners, even if the pitcher declines a runner. The catcher can be replaced with another player on the team to have a courtesy runner all designated prior to first pitch.

2.         The player who made the last “batted” out is the designated courtesy runner. If that player is unable to run (pitcher or catcher) the next previous “batted” out must be used.  (Example: Player in #7 of batting order is designated as injured player and singles to lead off the inning, player in #6 spot of order is the catcher, player #5 in order is injured, player in #4 spot is the pitcher, player #3 in batting order made the last out and becomes the courtesy runner.)

 3.         The manager is responsible for insuring the courtesy runner is available and ready to run.

 4.         Any designated injured player that is able to run beyond 1st base on an extra base hit eliminates their option to use a courtesy runner for that time at bat and must remain on the bases. A designated injured player may be substituted on 2nd  or 3rd base by a player who is not in the lineup but the injured player may not re-enter their position in the batting order until their substitute has completed a turn at bat.

 5.         After a pitch is thrown to the next batter a courtesy runner may not be used.  The pitcher or catcher is defined as the last player who defensively played that position.  In the top of the first the scheduled pitcher and/or catcher may request a courtesy runner. In this case, they must utilize the last batter in the lineup or someone who is not in the lineup.

 6.)       A courtesy runner is considered a “live runner”, with the following exceptions: Note: In 2015 Previous Courtesy Runner Exceptions were suspended and all courtesy runners were unrestricted to advance to next base at risk of being put Out.                      

              a.) (Suspended 2015) No straight steals, including attempting to advance on a normal “clean” exchange between pitcher and catcher.

              b.)  (Suspended 2015) In the event of pass ball or wild pitch, courtesy runner must tag occupied base before legally advancing.                                         

              c.)  (Suspended 2015) If a courtesy runner advances illegally, courtesy base runner MUST return to previously occupied base before being considered “live” and may be “put out” by tagging him with the ball or the base that was left too soon before the runner successfully returns to retouch the base.

 Additional rules

  1. After the first inning of play, the pitcher will receive 6-8 warm up pitches or 1 minute before start of his team’s defensive half of the inning.  Any pitching change will warrant enough time for a reliever to sufficiently warm up as to avoid injury.
  2.  Single games will be played 9 innings or 2 hr. and 30 min.(5/18) time limit, whichever occurs first.  No new inning may start after 2 hrs and 30 minutes (5/18) hours into the game. Special time limits may be agreed upon by the managers and umpires based on weather or lighting conditions that may occur.
  3. Double Header games will be 2 hours and 30 min. with no new inning may start after 2 hrs and 30 min. If an inning has started before 2 hrs and 20 min., the inning will be completed.
  4.  Tie games after time has expired will be continued to completion with the new HDL tiebreaker rules where the last three players in the lineup from the previous inning will load the bases with no outs. (Changed Summer 2019)
  5. Run Rule: 10 runs after 5 Innings. A game will be considered expired if one team is leading the opposing team in runs by 10 runs at the completion or greater than the 5th Inning.(Summer 2019)


 Fines will be noted in the score book and/or by an officer.  The VP/Treasurer is responsible for collection of any fine levied on a player.  The uniform rule above is an example of what may be deemed worthy of a fine.  The officer’s are the only people on the field or involved with the League that may levy a fine.  An umpire is not authorized to levy fines against players.  An umpire’s decision to eject a player from a game or observance of unsportsmanlike conduct as referenced above, are also grounds for a fine.  These fines are to be levied by an officer.

 The amount of an infraction may be charged against a player for any instance is to be determined by the officers either in advance of a season or based upon the infraction.  Any fine that has not been paid by a player as indicated by the VP/Treasurer shall be deemed ineligible for play until the fine is paid.

 Amendments, Deletions and Changes

 These rules can only be altered by a majority vote of officers (2 out of 3) who agree to suggest such change, amendment or deletion.  Thereafter, the rule can only go into effect if voted on and approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the League members.

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  1. Courtesy Runner Playoff Rule and Other Clarifications « hdlmemphisblog

    […] Rule 2 (Courtesy Runner) see https://hdlmemphisblog.wordpress.com/home/hdl-rules/ […]

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