Is the 31 pickoff move still legal?


As the title says, I am just wondering if the 31 pickoff move still legal? (Right handed pitcher)


Not in MLB. I still see it in college and high school.


It’s illegal in high school played under OBR. I’m not a fan of NFHS rules and don’t study them.


Legal here in California for hs baseball


For years, I coached this move as a valuable run catcher - especially for the runner on first. But it had to be “sold” right. It’s a tricky thing to do and requires absolute concentration and discipline. Timing was everything.

However, it was not until I sub’d as a first base coach, did I realize the illegal move aspect, and finally the elimination of the move.

Simply stated, when the pitcher lifts the leg straight up and then moves that leg directly towards home, while still in contact with the rubber, he’s committed to deliver home. Even after a leg lift, his stride goes just slightly towards third, and I emphasize slightly, it’s extremely difficult to make a judgement call that his move was towards third.

So, from first base, it’s almost impossible to make a reasonable judgement call by the runner on first of what exactly the pitcher is doing. In a sense - as it was explained to me, deceiving the runner unfairly was the basis for the decision.

I know many pitching coaches had a problem with eliminating this move - right up until they assumed another coaching job that involved baserunners.


By the way, there is a move similar to the one being reviewed.

The pitcher can actually move his stride leg directly towards third, do a step towards third with the stride leg, in the process, pulling himself/herself off the rubber and doing a short “walk” step towards third - then completely off the rubber, turn quickly on the side of the mound… about a foot away from the pitcher’s rubber and snap throw the ball to first - DON’T FAKE A THROW.

I coached this move and never got a call against it. At first, there were objections -BUT, the pitcher was completely disengaged, the pitcher was on the side of the mound completely and in full view of the runner at first walking towards third… without any deception. Seeing the pitcher almost off the mound, on the opposite side of the rubber gave no indication of an illegal move.

The main components of this move are:

= step directly towards third with the stride leg
=make an arm motion only when stepping TOWARDS third, not when facing home
=make an arm motion that looks like the ball is going to thrown towards third
=while completely disengaged from the rubber and doing a short-step walk towards third
= keep the throwing arm up in the air all the time
= turn with the complete body and just hesitate for a second and look at first, then look surprised that the runner is off the bag. *** got to sell the hesitation part real good**
= do a hard snap throw towards first … DON’T FAKE A THROW.

Now to actually sell this move, try it haphazardly in the early part of the game. Make the move slowly all the way through the move, just to show the umpires that your not making an illegal move. Allow the baserunner on first to get a look long look at the move so the baserunner can’t claim deception. In essence, the baserunner has seen the fake move towards third, the baserunner has seen the complete disengagement of the rubber, the baserunner has seen the pitcher do a short half step walk down the mound, stop and casually turn and look at the baserunner on first - WITH THE THROWING ARM STILL UP, and a throw to first with no real chance of getting the baserunner…

Why the move early in the game without actually going after the baserunner on first? It’s to establish the “no objections” early, so when the move is done in real time … and it works … you can bring notice to the move early with no cries of foul!


Considered a balk in our state high school rules


Could you expand on the rule?


If a righty pitcher steps off the rubber, he can make that move… but he cannot make the move like a lefty does to first, if he does, fakes to third and goes to first, it’s a balk.


Still legal in Missouri HS play as of now.