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In baseball statistics, a hit (denoted by H), sometimes called a base hit, is credited to a batter when the batter safely reaches first base after hitting the ball into fair territory, without the benefit of an error or a fielder's choice. To do this, the batter must reach first base before any fielder can either tag him with the ball, throw to another player protecting the base before the batter reaches it, or tag first base while carrying the ball. The hit is scored the moment the batter reaches first base safely - if the runner is put out while attempting a double or triple on the same play, he still gets credit for the hit. A hit is defined by rule 10.05 of MLB's Official Rules.
In cases where a ball takes an unusual bounce, and a fielder might have a chance of throwing the runner out but does not, it is at the official scorer's discretion whether the batter is given a hit or instead reached on an error. Most often, an unusual bounce is considered a hit, as the fielder cannot anticipate the errant bounce and make a play on it.
If a batter reaches first base because of offensive interference by a preceding runner (including if a preceding runner is hit by a batted ball), he is also credited with a hit.
In 1887, Major League Baseball counted bases on balls (walks) as hits. The result was skyrocketing batting averages, including some near .500; Tip O'Neill of the St. Louis Browns batted .485 that season, which would still be a major league record if recognized. The experiment was abandoned the following season. There is some controversy regarding how the records of 1887 should be interpreted; as the number of legitimate walks is known for all players that year, computing averages using the standard method used in other years is quite simple. In 1968, Major League Baseball formed a Special Baseball Records Committee to resolve this issue, among others, and the Committee ruled that walks in 1887 should not be counted as hits; in 2000, Major League Baseball reversed its decision, ruling that the statistics which were recognized in each year's official records should stand, even in cases where they were later proven incorrect. Most current sources list O'Neill's 1887 average as .435, as calculated by omitting his walks; he would retain his American Association batting championship. However, the variance between methods results in differing recognition for the 1887 National League batting champion; Cap Anson would be recognized, with his .421 average, if walks are included, but Sam Thompson would be the champion at .372 if they are not.