What Does RBI Mean In Baseball? (Explained)

People became excited when the MLB introduced the RBI statistic. At that time, it was thought to be a great way to measure a baseball player’s performance, albeit it mainly focuses on hitters. If you’re new to the sport, you might be asking, what does RBI mean in baseball?

Runs Batted In (RBI) is a baseball statistic that credits batters or hitters for making plays, allowing these plays to become scores. For instance, a batter hits the ball and becomes a base hit. In turn, a teammate reaches home to score a run.

Upon knowing what RBI is, you might still have some questions in mind. For instance, is a wild pitch an RBI? Also, who has the best RBIs in MLB history? Why do some people see that RBI isn’t a good statistic? Find out the answers to these questions as you continue reading the article.

RBI in Baseball

RBI stands for Runs Batted In. The official MLB definition of this statistic explains it as when a player is credited with an RBI when his plate appearance led to a run being scored. Most commonly, RBIs are earned for hits that score a run or an out. However, players can also get them for walks or hits by pitch. RBIs are also part of a baseball’s offensive Triple Crown. Additionally, sportscasters mention RBIs as either ‘ribby,’ ‘runs driven in,’ or ‘ribeye’ to name a few monikers.

According to Rule 9.04 Runs Batted In in the official MLB rules, it states the following about this metric:

A run batted in is a statistic credited to a batter whose action at bat causes one or more runs to score, as set forth in this Rule 9.04.

(a) The official scorer shall credit the batter with a run batted in for every run that scores

(1) unaided by an error and as part of a play begun by the batter’s safe hit (including the batter’s home run), sacrifice bunt, sacrifice fly, infield out, or fielder’s choice, unless Rule 9.04(b) applies;
(2) by reason of the batter becoming a runner with the bases full (because of a base on balls, an award of first base for being touched by a pitched ball or for interference or obstruction); or
(3) when, before two are out, an error is made on a play on which a runner from third base ordinarily would score.
(b) The official scorer shall not credit a run batted in

(1) when the batter grounds into a force double play or a reverse-force double play; or
(2) when a fielder is charged with an error because the fielder muffs a throw at first base that would have completed a force double play.
(c) The official scorer’s judgment must determine whether a run batted in shall be credited for a run that scores when a fielder holds the ball or throws to a wrong base. Ordinarily, if the runner keeps going, the official scorer should credit a run batted in; if the runner stops and takes off again when the runner notices the misplay, the official scorer should credit the run as scored on a fielder’s choice.

It’s also worth mentioning the RBI is in baseball and softball. 

Is a Wild Pitch an RBI?

Wild Pitch an RBI

No, a player doesn’t receive an RBI if a run becomes a wild pitch. The player also doesn’t point in their RBI if the play becomes a passed ball or if the call happened because of an error. Baseball players also don’t receive RBIs if they hit double plays and those runs score. However, players will receive RBIs if they commit to successful sacrifice flies or sacrifice bunts.

Who Has the Best RBIs in MLB History?

Best RBIs in MLB History

Take note that baseball tests the limits of athletes’ skills while they’re on the field. Therefore, it’s no surprise that some players are better than others in certain areas. One particular area is RBI, wherein certain MLB players in history score higher than others.

Here are the top 10 all-time leaders of RBI in the MLB’s history, along with their percentages and raw scores for the statistic:

Why is the RBI Not a Useful Stat in Baseball?

RBI Not a Useful Stat in Baseball

Most often, a batter is credited with an RBI after his plate appearance. However, in some cases, a player is not credited with an actual run scored. Take note that the RBI is a team-oriented stat. Therefore, it’s mainly about how many runs a player can score with the help of his teammates. Additionally, the best RBI men are those who can drive in runs with their power and speed. They also need their teammates to do their jobs.

The problem with RBI is that it doesn’t reflect a player’s ability to score points through hitting well. For example, a player with a .300 triple-slash line isn’t necessarily a better player than another athlete with a 100 RBI. Even if a player has a great triple-slash line, it doesn’t always mean that he’s going to drive in 100 runs.

Final Words

RBI is given to a player after he hits a home run or is hit by a pitch. The athlete may not receive an RBI if he is hit by a pitch and is not able to score from first base. Some players in MLB history, like Babe Ruth and Sam Thompson, have higher RBIs than others. With that said, RBI might not be a useful stat when looking at baseball players as a whole. People should look at the other metrics other than the RBI to see professional MLB players’ overall performances.

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Aaron Jones

Aaron Jones

My name is Aaron and I am the owner of Make Shots. On this site, I discuss the most frequently asked basketball questions and give my opinions. My love for basketball started in 2010 and ever since I have fallen in love with the sport.
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