What is a Sacrifice Fly in Baseball? And Other Interesting Facts about Sac Flys

A sacrifice fly occurs when a runner scores after a batter hits a flyball that is either successfully caught or dropped by a fielder, but the official scorer determines that the runner would have still scored even if the ball had been caught.

How long has the sacrifice fly statistic been in place?

The sacrifice fly has technically been around since 1908, and was in place until 1931. And then again briefly in 1939. Even then, it was not recorded separately from other sacrifices. It was not until 1954 that it was designated as its own official statistic.

But does a sacrifice fly count against the batter?

Yes. And no.

The negative: sacrifice flys adversely affect a hitter’s on-base percentage (OBP).

The positive: they do not count against the hitter’s batting average. Additionally, a hitter gets credit for an RBI when they hit a sacrifice fly.

Graphic: How Does a Sacrifice Fly Affect a Hitter's Statistics?

Can You Score From Second Base on a Sacrifice Fly?

Absolutely, though usually it requires one of the following to occur:

  • Player falling down
  • Players running into each other (extension of above)
  • Player making a mistake (e.g., not realizing the flyout was not the 3rd out)

And thanks to Youtube user Crazy For Baseball, we have a montage of players scoring from second base:

And courtesy of a throwing error, a player can even score from first.

Who are the league leaders for sacrifice fly each year?

Since 1954, the league leader for sacrifice fly has had between 7 and 19.

Note: scroll left and right to see the leaders for the American and National League.

Who are the career leaders for sacrifice fly?

Sitting atop the career leaderboard are two long-time Baltimore Orioles: Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.

Graph of Career Leader in Sacrifice Fly

What is the shortest sacrifice fly ever recorded?

I’m not actually sure. It’s quite possible that one of these sacrifice flyballssacrifice popouts would make the cut.

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