In baseball statistics, a base on balls (BB), also called a walk, is credited to a batter and against a pitcher when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls. It is called a "walk" because the batter is then entitled to walk to first base, or more specifically (as defined in the rules of baseball) he is "entitled to first base without liability to be put out." Any baserunner currently on first base advances as well, while runners on second or third advance only if all bases behind them are occupied.

Receiving a base on balls does not count as an official at bat for a batter but does count as a plate appearance.[1]

A pitcher can also choose to intentionally walk a batter. This is usually done for the purpose of facing a different batter that the team feels they have a better chance of getting out, or to allow a double play possibility if first base is open with less than two outs.

A hit by pitch is not considered a walk, though the consequences are often the same for both.

Walk leaders in Major League BaseballEdit

Bold denotes active players. Totals are through the 2005 season. On July 4, 2004, Barry Bonds drew his 2,191st base on balls to pass the career record of Rickey Henderson, who is no longer active in the major leagues.


  1. Barry Bonds - 2,311
  2. Rickey Henderson - 2,190
  3. Babe Ruth - 2,062
  4. Ted Williams - 2,021
  5. Joe Morgan - 1,865


  1. Barry Bonds (2004) - 232
  2. Barry Bonds (2002) - 198
  3. Barry Bonds (2001) - 177
  4. Babe Ruth (1923) - 170
  5. Mark McGwire (1998); Ted Williams (1947 and 1949) - 162


  1. In 1887, Major League Baseball counted bases on balls as hits. The result was skyrocketed batting averages, including some near .500, and the experiment was abandoned the following season. Current record books do not count walks in 1887 as hits.
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