GIDP in Baseball: Impact, Strategies, and Historical Highlights

Pat Bloom

gidp in baseball

Ever wondered what connects baseball legends like Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, and Cal Ripken? They all led the major leagues in grounding into double plays (GIDP) at some point in their careers.

While it might seem like a negative stat, it’s a fascinating aspect of the game that even the best players encounter.

A GIDP occurs when a batter hits a ground ball, and the defense successfully turns it into two outs. For this to happen, there must be at least one runner on base and fewer than two outs.

Despite its seemingly negative connotation, grounding into double plays is an inevitable part of baseball, even for Hall of Famers.

GIDP in Baseball

“GIDP” stands for “Grounded into Double Play” in baseball. It’s a statistic that measures how many times a batter hits a ground ball that results in two outs being recorded on the same play.

Typically, this happens when there’s a runner on first or runners on first and second base and the batter hits a ground ball that is fielded by an infielder who then throws to second base to force out one runner and then to first base to retire the batter, completing the double play.

Definition and Importance

Grounding Into Double Plays (GIDP) occurs when a batter hits a ground ball that results in two outs. For this to happen, there must be at least one runner on base and fewer than two outs.

GIDP often changes the momentum of an inning, as it removes the potential for scoring. Despite its negative perception, GIDP is a common aspect even for legendary players.

Noteworthy is how Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente both led the major leagues in grounding into double plays during parts of their careers.

How GIDP is Recorded and Measured

Scorers record a GIDP by first noting the batter who grounded into the play then identifying the fielders involved in making the outs.

The official scorecard marks the sequence, such as 6-4-3, meaning the shortstop (6) threw to the second baseman (4), who then threw to the first baseman (3).

Advanced metrics track GIDP instances to analyze player tendencies, providing insights into how often a player grounds into double plays relative to their opportunities. Understanding these metrics helps managers make strategic decisions during games.

Strategy Behind Grounding Into Double Plays

While “Grounding Into Double Plays” (GIDP) is generally viewed as an undesirable outcome for the batting team because it results in two outs, there can be strategic reasons behind it, albeit less common.

Here are a few scenarios where grounding into a double play might make strategic sense:

Pitching Techniques to Induce GIDPs

Pitchers use specific techniques to induce GIDPs. One key method is throwing sinkers. Sinkers tend to drop suddenly, making batters hit ground balls.

Another technique involves pitching inside. When executed correctly, inside pitches jam batters, causing weak grounders. Pitchers also employ off-speed pitches like changeups.

These pitches disrupt timing, increasing the likelihood of a poorly hit ball. Positioning fielders strategically is another tactic. By aligning infielders based on batter tendencies, teams improve double play chances.

Batting Strategies to Avoid GIDPs

To reduce the likelihood of grounding into double plays (GIDPs), batters can employ several strategies:

Hitting to Gaps

Rather than hitting directly at infielders, batters can aim to hit the ball to the outfield or into the gaps between infielders. Line drives or fly balls are less likely to result in double plays compared to ground balls.

Waiting for Pitches

Batters can be patient at the plate and wait for pitches that they can drive. By being selective, they can avoid swinging at pitches that are likely to result in ground balls.

Adjusting Swing

Batters can adjust their swing to hit the ball with more lift, aiming for line drives or fly balls instead of hard-hit ground balls. This can involve slight changes in the angle of the bat at contact.

Speed on the Bases

Having faster runners on base can decrease the likelihood of double plays. Speedy runners are more likely to beat out throws to first base, preventing the defense from turning the double play.

Hit and Run

Coaches may employ hit-and-run strategies where the baserunner starts running with the pitch. This forces the defense to cover the base, creating gaps in the infield that the batter can exploit.


In certain situations, especially with a runner on first base and less than two outs, batters may choose to sacrifice bunt to advance the runner without risking a double play.

Study Pitcher Tendencies

Batters can study pitchers to understand their tendencies in inducing ground balls. This can help batters anticipate pitches that are more likely to result in ground balls and adjust their approach accordingly.

Historical Significance of GIDPs

Grounding Into Double Plays (GIDPs) plays a pivotal role in the game’s history, influencing outcomes and player strategies.

Understanding the historical significance of GIDPs provides deeper insights into baseball’s evolution and iconic moments.

Notable GIDP Records in MLB

Several players and teams have set historic records related to GIDPs, offering a glimpse into their strategic importance.

Joe Torre stands out with a career record of grounding into 297 double plays. Cal Ripken Jr., another notable player, holds the single-season record, having grounded into 36 double plays in 1984.

These records emphasize the variability of GIDPs across different teams and seasons.

Career GIDPJoe Torre2971960-1977
Single-Season GIDPCal Ripken Jr.361984
Most Team GIDP (Season)St. Louis Cardinals2351979
Fewest Team GIDPNew York Yankees861990

Memorable GIDP Instances in Baseball Games

Several memorable instances of grounding into double plays (GIDP) have occurred in baseball games over the years.

Here are a few notable ones:

Grounding into double plays (GIDP) can often be game-changing moments in baseball, shifting momentum and shaping the outcome of matches. Here are a few memorable instances:

Bill Mazeroski’s World Series Walk-Off (1960)

In Game 7 of the 1960 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees, the Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry.

However, earlier in the game, Mazeroski had grounded into a double play in the fourth inning, which temporarily halted a potential rally.

Mazeroski’s redemption with the walk-off homer made his earlier double play a footnote in one of baseball’s most iconic moments.

1978 Red Sox vs. Yankees One-Game Playoff

In a one-game playoff to decide the American League East division winner between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski grounded into a crucial double play in the seventh inning with runners on first and second and nobody out.

The double play stifled the Red Sox’s rally, and the Yankees went on to win the game 5-4, ultimately advancing to the playoffs.

2003 ALCS, Game 7

In Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, the Red Sox had a prime opportunity to score in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and no outs.

However, Boston’s Jason Varitek grounded into a double play, killing the rally and ultimately contributing to the Yankees’ 6-5 victory, which sent them to the World Series.

2016 NLCS, Game 6

In Game 6 of the 2016 National League Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cubs’ Addison Russell grounded into a double play in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and nobody out.

While the Cubs still won the game 5-0 and advanced to the World Series, Russell’s double play temporarily deflated what could have been a massive scoring opportunity for Chicago.

GIDP and Player Statistics

Grounding into Double Plays (GIDP) is one of the many statistics used to evaluate a baseball player’s performance, particularly for hitters.

However, it’s essential to consider this statistic in context alongside other metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of a player’s overall contribution to their team.

Here’s how GIDP relates to player statistics:

Impact on Batting Averages and Player Performance

Grounding into double plays (GIDPs) significantly affects a player’s batting performance. When a batter hits into a double play, it not only results in two outs but also stalls potential offensive momentum.

This negative outcome impacts various batting metrics, including on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Players known for high GIDP rates often face criticism because their actions can disrupt scoring opportunities.

Slow-footed, right-handed batters are more prone to GIDPs as they hit the ball hard but on the ground. Jim Rice is notable for leading the American League in GIDPs multiple times in the early 1980s, setting a single-season record of 36 GIDPs.

This tendency restrained his overall offensive value despite his power-hitting capabilities. By contrast, players who avoid GIDPs typically maintain higher batting averages and on-base percentages.

Utilization of strategies like hitting the ball in the air and employing hit-and-run plays helps in minimizing GIDPs, thus enhancing overall performance metrics.

Career Leaders in GIDPs

The career leaders in GIDPs have recorded significant numbers over their playing histories.

Albert Pujols stands out as the career leader in grounding into double plays, illustrating how even premier hitters with strong offensive stats can have high GIDP counts. As of the end of the 2021 season, Pujols has amassed 413 GIDPs.

Other notable players in this category include Cal Ripken Jr. and Hank Aaron, both of whom had remarkable careers yet faced high GIDP statistics.

High GIDP numbers often correlate with longevity and consistent at-bats over multiple seasons.

Albert Pujols413
Cal Ripken Jr.350
Hank Aaron328

Notable GIDPs in Baseball History

Several notable instances of Grounding into Double Plays (GIDP) have left lasting impressions on baseball history:

July 24, 2013: Rays vs. Red Sox

On July 24, 2013, the Tampa Bay Rays faced the Boston Red Sox in a game that saw a memorable GIDP. In the sixth inning, Red Sox’s Stephen Drew grounded into a double play with runners on first and third.

Drew hit a sharp grounder to second baseman Ben Zobrist, who flipped to shortstop Yunel Escobar, and then relayed to first baseman James Loney to complete the play. This crucial double play stalled a potential rally for the Red Sox, preserving the Rays’ lead.

June 27, 2015: Dodgers vs. Marlins

June 27, 2015, featured an impressive GIDP during a Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins game. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Marlins had a scoring opportunity with a runner on first.

Justin Bour hit a ground ball to Dodgers’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who swiftly passed it to second baseman Howie Kendrick.

Kendrick completed the play by firing to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. This well-executed double play thwarted the Marlins’ chance to tie the game.

October 18, 2020: Dodgers vs. Braves

A pivotal GIDP occurred on October 18, 2020, in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and Braves.

With the Braves threatening in the fourth inning, runners on first and second, and no outs, Nick Markakis grounded into a double play that shifted momentum.

Dodgers’ third baseman Justin Turner fielded the ball, threw to second baseman Kiké Hernández, who then relayed to first baseman Max Muncy. This double play was critical, as it helped the Dodgers secure their path to the World Series.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is GIDP in baseball?

GIDP stands for “Grounding Into Double Plays.” It occurs when a batter hits a ground ball that results in two outs in a single play. It’s a defensive strategy that can significantly impact the game’s momentum.

How does a GIDP affect a player’s performance metrics?

Grounding into double plays negatively affects a player’s batting statistics, reducing their number of hits and lowering batting averages. High GIDP rates can diminish a player’s overall offensive value.

Who are some notable players with high GIDP rates?

Players like Jim Rice, Albert Pujols, and Cal Ripken Jr. have high GIDP rates, impacting their offensive metrics. Despite this, they are notable for their career performances and contributions to the game.

Why is the double play significant in baseball strategy?

Double plays are crucial because they effectively cancel scoring opportunities for the opposing team, shifting momentum and allowing the defensive team to rapidly exit an inning with minimal damage.

How do teams try to avoid grounding into double plays?

Teams avoid GIDPs by emphasizing strategies such as hitting the ball in the air, starting runners to prevent double plays, and placing increased focus on situational hitting to avoid grounders to infielders.


Understanding GIDP is crucial for appreciating the strategic depth of baseball. While double plays can dampen offensive momentum, they also showcase the defensive prowess and split-second coordination required to execute them.

Recognizing the impact of GIDPs on player statistics and game outcomes enhances your appreciation for the sport’s nuances.

Whether you’re analyzing advanced metrics or reliving memorable GIDP moments, it’s clear that this aspect of baseball continues to be a pivotal element of the game.

Coaches and players alike strive to minimize ground into double plays (GIDPs) as part of their offensive strategy. By doing so, they enhance scoring opportunities and maintain pressure on the opposing team.

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Pat Bloom

I lead Washington University in St. Louis' baseball team, emphasizing skill development, strategic play, and sportsmanship. Our rigorous training and competitive spirit cultivate discipline and teamwork, preparing athletes for success both in baseball and academics. We embody the determination and sportsmanship that define our university's athletics. LinkedIn

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