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.
The term "base hit" is not an official baseball term, but is typically used by play-by-play announcers to distinguish over-the-wall home runs from other varieties of hits that are in play. It is more commonly used for balls that bounce within fair territory and pass by the infielders into the outfield, thus guaranteeing the batter at least a single.
An "infield hit" is a hit where the ball does not leave the infield. Infield hits are uncommon by nature, and most often earned by speedy runners.
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.
A no-hitter is a game in which one of the teams prevented the other from getting a hit. Throwing a no-hitter is rare and considered an extraordinary accomplishment for a pitcher or pitching staff. In most cases in the professional game, no-hitters are accomplished by a single pitcher who throws a complete game. And while they are similar, a no-hitter is different from a perfect game, in that a pitcher who throws a no-hitter still allows runners to reach base safely, through a combination of walks, errors, or hit batsmen.
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.