To a casual observer who have never played baseball, all baseball fields ((a.k.a. ball field, ball park, sandlot or baseball diamond) may look the same with a home plate, 3 bases and some lines.
But you should know that there is a wealth of information that have been developed over a long period of time that baseball has been around.
As a manager or coach, it is important to know as much as you can about baseball fields and its layout so that your players can advance their knowledge of the game.
This post is my attempt at creating a complete guide to baseball field layout that can hopefully help you achieve that goal.
- Basic Layout
- Pitching Mound Specifications
- Home Plate Dimensions
- Batter’s Box
- Baseline (a.k.a. base path)
- Distance between bases
- Runner’s Lane or Running Lane
- Coach’s box
- Foul Line
- On-deck circles
A baseball field is divided into two major sections: an infield and outfield.
In Majors League Baseball (MLB), all infield dimensions are exactly the same (not including foul territories) but outfield sizes can vary greatly.
In youth baseball, infield dimensions will vary depending on the the age group of players and league affiliation.
Except in T-ball division, most (if not all) ball fields will have these components:
- Baseline (or basepath) is a straight line between two adjacent bases. The left and right foul line between HOME PLATE –> FIRST BASE and THIRD BASE –> HOME PLATE serves as the baseline. Baseline between FIRST BASE –> SECOND BASE and SECOND BASE –> THIRD BASE is IMAGINARY so it is not drawn
- Distance between the Home Plate –> First Base, First Base –> Second Base, Second Base –> Third Base and Third Base to Home Plate is 90 feet
- Runner’s Lane or Running Lane is only marked between Home Plate and First Base; it is approximately 45 feet long (the last half)
- Coach’s box – designated area for first base and third base coaches
- Foul Line – lines extend from both left and right batter’s box
- On-deck circle
Pitching mound, or pitcher’s mound, is a low artificial hill located in the middle between first and third base where a pitcher stands and throws his pitches.
In MLB, this hill is 18 feet (5.5 m) in diameter, with the center 59 feet (18 m) from the rear point of home plate.
Six inches (15 cm) in front of the pitcher’s rubber, the mound begins to slop downward.
The top of the rubber is to be no higher than ten inches (25 cm) above home plate.
A pitching mound in youth baseball is similar but not quite the same.
Instead of a 18 ft diameter, most youth fields have 16 ft diameter pitching mounds with a mound that is about 8 inches tall.
Because available fields for youth baseball and softball games are limited and dictated by location, most leagues publish facility guidelines to help local organizations develop their playing fields.
Here is a sample of such guideline from (Babe Ruth – external link)
On a side note, be aware that pitching mound is notoriously difficult to maintain as it is the most heavily used part of the field after batter’s box so the height will vary greatly, especially during the latter part of a season.
Lastly, if your league plays both baseball and softball games on a same field (or maybe you are sharing a soccer turf field), you may see a portable pitcher’s mound that looks something like this:
Euphemistically called a “turtle”, these portable mounds are simply placed into place by several adults on a needed basis. Depending on your league, you may see a smaller version for younger players and larger (and very heavy) portable mounds for older players.
When kids reach 13u (a.k.a. 13 years old), they typically move onto a 60×90 baseball field with a permanent mound.
A pitcher may keep a “rosin bag” on the rear of the mound to dry off his hands (rosinbag is a small canvas bag filled with rosin powder which consists of sticky substance extracted from the same of fir trees; rosin bag is used to pitchers to imorve their grip on the baseball and keep their hands dry).
Although rare in youth baseball leagues, Major League Baseball teams are also permitted cleat cleaners on the back of the mound. This may be a flat grate-style plate, or simply a hand tool such as a piece of wood used to remove mud and dirt from cleats. These items are allowed to remain on the backside of the mound at the discretion of the umpire, thus reducing the probability that they will affect a live play.
Home Plate Dimensions
According to MLB’s Official Baseball Rules, home base (or home plate) is marked by a five-sided slab of whitened rubber that is 17-inch (43.18 cm) square with two of the corners removed so that one edge is 17 inches long, two adjacent sides are 8.5 inches (21.59 cm) and the remaining two sides are 12 inches (30.48 cm) and set at an angle to make a point.
Home plate is set in the ground with the point at the intersection of the lines extending from home base to first base and to third base; with the 17-inch edge facing the pitcher’s plate, and the two 12-inch edges coinciding with the first and third base lines.
In order to reduce injury risk during sliding, the top edges of home base is beveled and the base is fixed in the ground level with the ground surface.
Whether you are playing baseball/softball or T-Ball or Majors, a home plate dimension remains the same!
A pitching rubber (a.k.a. pitcher’s plate) is a flat rectangular slab made of whitened hard rubber (used to be made from wood) on top of the pitcher’s mound.
All baseball pitchers, regardless of the age, must touch this rubber while beginning his/her throwing motion.
Most pitchers work from the center of the rubber, using it to push off with their back foot to obtain additional velocity on their pitches.
Few pitchers work from the side of the rubber, however, maintaining contact with the side of their foot while starting their motion; this allows them to throw a pitch coming from an angle which is uncomfortable for the batter.
The rubber’s dimension is 24 inches (61 cm) by 6 inches (15.24 cm), according to section 1.07 of the MLB rules.
For MLB, the pitcher’s rubber is set so that its front edge is exactly 60 feet 6 inches from the rear point of home plate, and is elevated 10 inches above the rest of the playing field. The area of the mound around the pitching rubber is flat.
The rubber comes into play often in defining what is a balk (What is a balk? Link TBD) .
Lastly, the distance between a pitching rubber and home plate varies depending on the age group (refer to the pitching distance section below).
Some smaller fields may have moveable bases which allows multiple size configurations.
Pitching distances in youth baseball varies greatly between different leagues and age groups.
However, when players reach 13 or 14 years old (13U – 14U; 14U is generally high school freshman), all baseball games are conducted on big fields (60×90) and all high school level softball games are played on 40/60 fields (college softball players usually play on 43/60 fields).
General Pitching Distances Between Age Groups
Baseball field sizes are usually represented by two numbers.
So when someone says, “Hey, is our small field available tonight” or “Is our 50/70 field available for practice tomorrow”, the field size is:
- the distance from pitching rubber to home plate is 50ft;
- the distance between bases (home plate to first base or second to third or third to home) is 70 ft
Here’s a nifty list of player’s age and general field size guideline:
- Pre-K and K graders (t-ball): 35ft/50ft commonly referred to as 46/60 or small field(1)
- First/second graders (Farm A/Farm AA): 46ft/60ft commonly referred to as 46/60 or small field
- Third and Fourth graders (Minors): 46ft/60ft commonly referred to as 46/60 or small field
- Fifth/Sixth graders (Majors): 50ft/70ft commonly referred to as 50/70 field
- Seventh/Eighth graders (Pony): 60ft/90ft, commonly referred to as 60/90 or big field
- Eighth/Ninth/tenth graders (Seniors): 60/90
- Eleventh/Twelfth graders (Babe Ruth): 60/90
Field Dimensions – Requirement or Recommendation?
If you’ve watched Major league baseball games, you know that there are stadiums that are drastically different from one another.
Let’s compare two distinct MLB parks:
Boston Fenway Park
Since 1912, it has been the home for the Boston Red Sox, the city’s American League baseball team and is the oldest ballpark in MLB.
Because of its age and constrained location, the park has quirky features including “The Triangle,” Pesky’s Pole, and the Green Monster in left field.
Minute Maid Park
Located in Downtown Houston, Texas, it opened in 2000 as the home of Houston Astros.
Minute Maid Park is Houston’s first retractable-roofed stadium, featuring a natural grass playing field.
The ballpark was built as a replacement of the Astrodome, the first domed sports stadium ever built, which opened in 1965.
So as you can see, although the infield basepaths (90 ft) and pitching distance (60ft 6″) are the same for both Fenway Park and Minute Maid Park, the overall field dimensions differ greatly.
The same concept rule applies to youth baseball and softball fields.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of frequently asked questions:
- What is the distance between 1st base and 3rd base – The distance between first base and third base is 127 feet 3 3/8 inches. All measurements from home base are taken from the point where the first and third base lines intersect.
- how do you measure the distance between bases? –
- What if my field doesn’t have an outfield fence? – This is very common, especially for younger kids playing on smaller fields. Some leagues or towns may provide temporary baseball fences (it looks omething like this – https://www.coversports.com/product-category/browse-by-product/portable-fencing/) but most leagues just play without the fence. For older kids (13u+), playing on a field without a fence means less chance of home runs
- What is the distance from home plate to second base? – The distance across the infield from the back tip of home plate to second base is 127 feet, 3 3/8 inches (which is identical to the distance between first and third base)
Baseball Field Dimensions per League
Pinto Baseball Field Dimensions
- Baseline — 60 feet
- Home plate to second base —70 feet 8 1/2 inches
- Home plate to front of pitching rubber —38 feet
- Infield arc radius — 50 feet
- Home plate to backstop — 20 feet
- Foul lines — 125 feet to fence
- Center field fence — 175 feet
Little League Baseball Field Dimensions
- Baseline — 60 feet
- Home plate to second base — 84 feet 10 ¼ inches
- Home plate to front of pitching rubber — 46 feet
- Infield arc radius — 50 feet
- Home plate to backstop — 25 feet
- Foul lines — 200 feet minimum to outfield fence
- Center field fence — 275 feet
Bronco Baseball Field Dimensions
- Baseline — 70 feet
- Home plate to second base — 99 feet
- Home plate to front of pitching rubber — 50 feet
- Infield arc radius — 65 feet
- Home plate to backstop — 30 feet
- Foul lines — 225 feet to outfield fence
- Center field fence— 275 feet
Pony Baseball Field Dimensions
- Baseline — 80 feet
- Home plate to second base — 113 feet 2 inches
- Home plate to front of pitching rubber — 54 feet
- Infield arc radius — 80 feet
- Home plate to backstop — 40 feet
- Foul lines — 265 feet to outfield fence
- Center field fence— 275 feet
High School, College, and Pro Baseball Field Dimensions
- Baseline — 90 feet
- Home plate to second base — 127 feet 3 3/8 inches
- Home plate to front of pitching rubber — 60 feet 6 inches
- Infield arc radius — 95 feet
- Home plate to backstop — 60 feet
- Foul lines — 325 feet minimum to outfield fence
- Center field fence— 400-plus feet
Softball Field Dimensions per Age Group
Similar to baseball fields, the overall field dimensions are affected by the size of the actual location so many local leagues will adopt differing sizes.
- First/Second graders (PeeWee): 30/45
- Third/Fourth/Fifth graders (Minors): 35/60
- Sixth/Seventh/Eighth graders (Majors): 40/60
- Clem’s Baseball Stadium List – http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/Stadium_lists.html
- Little League – Field Specifications
- Little League – How to Resize a LL field from 46/60 to 50/70 Major Division (external link to Little League)
- MLB – See the dimensions of every big league ballpark
- Turface Athletics – How To Layout a Baseball Field