How to Keep Score for Baseball

The first thing to know when keeping score at a baseball game is the number system attached to the players on the field. Once you know the numbers, everything else is easy. Each of the nine players on the field is assigned a number for scoring purposes; this has nothing to do with the number on their jerseys.

The numbers go as follows:

1 = pitcher
2 = catcher
3 = first baseman
4 = second baseman
5 = third baseman
6 = shortstop
7 = left fielder
8 = center fielder
9 = right fielder

Always remember the number is attached to the player, no matter what, so if a dramatic shift in the defense takes place for a pull-hitting lefty who always hits the ball to right field and the third baseman is playing in the shortstop’s position for that play, he still gets the number five attached to him.

Filling in the starting rosters should be pretty self-explanatory when looking at your score sheet. Once that is done and the game begins, it is time to start marking things on your sheet. You will be surprised how much more into the game this will put you and how much more intrigued you will be by each play.

Next to each player’s name should be a series of little baseball diamonds. Those are used to record what happened on each at-bat for that player. So, let’s say the first player on the visiting team comes up for the first at-bat of the game. He hits a line drive double to start things off. That means you write a “2B” down in the middle of his first baseball diamond; this stands for double.

Then, preferably with a red pen, trace the line from home to first and from first to second to indicate that player has made it to second base. Every time the player advances a base, trace another red line to indicate how far around he got. If he ends up scoring, your red line going all the way around the bases will indicate that he scored.

All the symbols used for hitters getting on base are pretty simple: BB = walk, 1B = single, 2B = double, 3B = triple, HR = Home Run. If the player steals a base, you can mark a little “sb” next to the base he stole.

If the hitter makes an out, you record it according to type of out. If he strikes out, you use a “K”, unless he strikes out looking, meaning without swinging the right bat; a lot of people will us a backwards “K” to indicate that.

If the player flies out, you just write an “F” down and the corresponding number of the player who caught it. So, if he flies out to right field, you would record “F9.”

If the player grounds out, you record the numbers, in order, of the players who touched the ball leading to the out. The key word here is “touched.” If a player hits a line drive that deflects off of the pitcher on its way to the second baseman who then throws the hitter out at first, you would record 1-4-3 as the out sequence. The pitcher didn’t catch the ball, but he did touch it.

If an error gets committed by a fielder, it is also recorded by the corresponding number. So if the third baseman makes an error, you would record “E5” in the little baseball diamond to indicate the hitter reached base by a third baseman’s error.

We won’t get into every possible scenario that can be scored. We would be here forever. If you decide to keep score at the next baseball game you attend, you will find it adds a whole new element of fun to the spectator side of the game. Feel free to be somewhat creative in how you mark things down, just not so creative that someone else couldn’t understand what you meant. The whole trick to keeping score is really just knowing the number system.