What is a Single in Baseball? – Explained, Facts, and Other Information


A single in baseball is when a batter hits the ball and successfully reaches first base (and only first base) without a fielder making an error or attempting to put out another runner. A batter may be credited with a single if they reach second base, third base, or home plate; and an error occurred on the play and the official scorer determines that the batter would have only reached second base if the error had not occurred.

Common Questions

What is the difference between a single and a fielder’s choice?

A fielder’s choice means the defensive player successfully put out a player other than the hitter. Even though the hitter successfully reaches first base, they do not receive credit for a single. An example: the batter hits the ball to the shortstop who throws the baseball to the secondbaseman before the runner from first reaches the bag; the secondbaseman then throws to first but the hitter reaches bases before the throw arrives. In this case, the runner who was on first before the ball was hit is out, and the hitter is safe.

Video example:

What is the difference between a single and a walk?

Both involve a hitter advancing a single base. A single, though, involves the batter hitting the ball and advancing safely to first. Singles provide runners on base the opportunity to advance more than one base (e.g., first base to third base; or second base to home).

Walks only allow the hitter to advance one base, and then any subsequent runners forced to also advance (e.g., a runner on first would advance to second). For this reason, singles project to add more runs than walks (0.7 runs vs. 0.55 runs according to this Fangraphs articleOpens in a new tab.).

Does a batter get credit for a hit if they are thrown out going to 2nd base?

Yes, a batter still gets credit for a hit even if they are thrown out attempting to reach second base for a double. In this case, they are credited with a single.

Lots of Data about Singles

Career Leaders in Singles
Player Name # of Singles # of Plate Apperances
Pete Rose 3,215 15,876
Ty Cobb 3,053 13,072
Eddie Collins 2,643 12,037
Cap Anson 2,598 11,319
Derek Jeter 2,595 12,602
Ichiro Suzuki 2,514 10,734
Willie Keeler 2,513 9,594
Honus Wagner 2,422 11,739
Rod Carew 2,404 10,550
Tris Speaker 2,383 11,988
Slapstick Players (Players with Highest Percentage of Singles)

This table shows the players with the highest percentage of their career hits being singles. I limited the list to only those hitters with at least 1,000 career hits.

Player Name # of Career Singles # of Career Hits Percentage
Roy Thomas 1,377 1,537 90%
Al Bridwell 935 1,064 88%
Maury Wills 1,866 2,134 87%
Otis Nixon 1,199 1,379 87%
Patsy Donovan 1,955 2,253 87%
Sandy Alomar 1,010 1,168 86%
Jimmy Slagle 1,158 1,340 86%
Miller Huggins 1,269 1,474 86%
Willie Keeler 2,513 2,932 86%
Davy Jones 873 1,020 86%
Power Players (Players With Lowest Percentage of Singles)

This table shows the players with the lowest percentage of their career hits being singles. I limited the list to only those hitters with at least 1,000 career hits.

Player Name # of Career Singles # of Career Hits Percentage
Mark McGwire 1,626 785 48%
Adam Dunn 1,631 825 51%
Barry Bonds 2,935 1,495 51%
Giancarlo Stanton 1,160 591 51%
David Ortiz 2,472 1,280 52%
Hank Greenberg 1,628 847 52%
Carlos Delgado 2,038 1,064 52%
Carlos Pena 1,146 603 53%
Babe Ruth 2,873 1,517 53%
Gorman Thomas 1,051 558 53%

Wesley Lyles

Wesley is a jack of all trades hobbyist. Though much of his spare time is spent playing board games (especially solo card games like Legendary), Hearthstone, Rocket League, and MLB The Show.e He also enjoys most sports, but pays way too much attention to baseball and football.

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