What is RBI in baseball? Understanding baseball better!

What is RBI in baseball? Understanding baseball better!

Kenneth Mwenda
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:29 PM

What does RBI mean in baseball? RBI, "runs batted in," is a term frequently used in baseball. There are other ways to get RBIs, but it should be no surprise that run-scoring hits are the most typical ones.

What is an RBI in baseball? Understanding baseball better
Jeremy Pena (R) of the Houston Astros connects for an RBI double during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2022, in Houston, Texas. Photo: Bob Levey
Source: Getty Images

Baseball keeps track of various statistics to assess a player's performance and value to their team. However, the RBI is one of the most frequently asked about.

What is an RBI in baseball?

An RBI is the number of runs a player has won by hitting a batted ball in a manner that enables a runner on base to progress to home plate and score a run. An RBI can be achieved by striking a single, double, triple, or home run, or even being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded or by reaching base on an error or fielder's choice with runners on base.

A player's offensive output and contributions to their team's scoring are typically gauged by their RBI totals. The highest amount of RBIs you can garner for one at-bat is four.

Runs batted in were not a recognised statistic prior to the 1920 Major League Baseball season. However, according to the Society for American Baseball Research, baseball writer Ernie Lanigan kept track of the RBI figure from 1907 to 1919 unofficially.

An RBI is frequently referred to as a "ribby" (or "ribbie"), "rib", or "ribeye". Fans have a "(very) minor controversy" over the plural of "RBI": it is typically "RBIs," following the convention for English initialisms; however, some sources use "RBI" as the plural on the grounds that it can stand for "runs batted in."

How to calculate RBI in baseball

What is a walk off RBI in baseball?
Josh Bell (L) of the San Diego Padres hits an RBI double during the seventh inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on October 23, 2022, in Philadelphia. Photo: Michael Reaves
Source: Getty Images

RBI is determined by counting the number of runs a player has scored due to their at-bat. This would include runs scored on a single, double, triple, home run, walk, or hit by pitch.

What is a good RBI in baseball?

At least above 100, as you will see in a subsequent section, the record for the most RBIs in a season is 191. However, that was in 1930, and the game has changed significantly since then, and the best college RBI is also much worse than that. Nowadays, players who accumulate more than 100 RBIs in a season are considered impressive.

What is the average RBI in baseball?

Therefore, anything between 50 and 100 RBIs is considered average to good, while 100 RBIs or more are impressive. You should also remember that RBIs are influenced by a batter's opportunity and the number of runners on base during those at-bats. As a result, a player's chance to score an RBI often depends on the team they play for.

The batter's function determines a lot of things. The batting order is crucial, so a leading hitter will obtain a base that enables others to drive them to home plate.

The hitter receives an RBI when they make it home. A number three or four hitter will have more opportunities to get an RBI than a leadoff hitter who comes to the plate with no one on base.

What is a walk-off RBI in baseball?

What does RBI mean in baseball?
Teammates mob Cleveland Guardians' Oscar Gonzalez (L) after hitting a walk-off bases-loaded single in the ninth inning in Cleveland on October 15, 2022. Photo: Frank Jansky
Source: Getty Images

In baseball, a walk-off occurs when the home team scores the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning or during extra innings to end the contest. Since the game is over, once the baserunner touches home plate, the batter who brings in the winning run with a hit or walk only needs to touch first base.

The phrase first appeared in 1988 when pitcher Dennis Eckersley used the phrase "walk-off piece" to refer to a pitcher's unsuccessful walk following a game-winning home run. One team is said to have "walked off" the pitch when a game is lost in the ninth inning.

Famous walk-offs

Baseball walk-off victories are thrilling, and a home run is even more dramatic. Seven postseason games in major league baseball have been decided by walk-off home runs. They consist of the following:

  • 1951 Playoff Series ( The New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers )
  • 1960 World Series ( New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates )
  • 1975 World Series ( The Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds )
  • 1988 World Series ( The Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's)
  • 1991 World Series ( The Minnesota Twins trailed the Atlanta Braves )
  • 1993 World Series (The Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies )
  • 2003 ALCS ( Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees )

The most RBIs in baseball history

Most RBI in baseball history
Hall of Famer Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves swings at the ball in January 1960. Photo: Focus On Sport
Source: Getty Images

The players with the most runs scored during their careers due to their own at-bats are listed as the all-time RBI leaders. These players rank among the game's most successful and productive hitters ever. According to various sources, these Major League Baseball players have the most RBIs in their careers:


Career RBIs

Plate Appearances

Years Played

Henry Aaron



1954 – 1976

Albert Pujols



2001 – 2022

Babe Ruth



1914 – 1935

Alex Rodriguez



1994 – 2016

Cap Anson



1871 – 1897

Barry Bonds



1986 – 2007

Lou Gehrig



1923 – 1939

Stan Musial



1941 – 1963

Ty Cobb



1905 – 1928

Jimmie Foxx



1925 – 1945

Eddie Murray



1977 – 1997

Willie Mays



1948 – 1973

In such situations, it is difficult to avoid mentioning Hack Wilson. The player has been for long holding the most RBI in a single-season record.

How to calculate RBI in baseball
Hack Wilson rounding the bases at the Chicago Cubs training camp on Catalina Island in March 1931. Photo: Bettmann
Source: Getty Images

With the current gameplay, it will be tough to break Hack Wilson's record. Here are the top ten RBI scorers in a single season.


Season RBIs

Year of Record

Hack Wilson



Lou Gehrig



Hank Greenberg



Jimmie Foxx



Lou Gehrig



Lou Gehrig



Babe Ruth



Hank Greenberg



Chuck Klein



Jimmie Foxx



According to sources, two different St. Louis Cardinals players currently hold the record for the most RBIs in a single game, which stands at 12. On September 16, 1924, Jim Bottomley first established the record. He collected 12 RBIs on his 6-for-6 performance, which included three singles, a double, a home run, and a grand slam.

On September 7, 1993, another Cardinals player named Mark Whiten tied the record. All 12 of his RBIs during the game came from his four home runs, which he hit during the contest.

RBI are significant because they reflect both the performance of the batter and the team as a whole. Teams will examine statistics and take into account a player's likelihood of contributing to a home run based on statistics like RBI.

READ ALSO: What is an inning, and how many innings are there in baseball?

Sports Brief published an article about innings in baseball. Regular play in professional baseball games lasts only nine innings. There are three outs per inning, and there are a total of 27 outs available to each team.

Extra ones are played to decide the winner if a match is tied after nine. Click on the above link to read more!

Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.