Frequently Asked Questions

I've noticed that some questions keep appearing in my e-mail and in the discussion area.   So, I've decided to publish them, along with the answers, on this page.   It is definitely not an exhaustive resource.  In fact, I've barely begun working on it.   So, If you have a question that you think belongs here, send it to me.   If you have the answer to that question, send it along also.   I will be glad to credit you with the submission.

Why is "K" used for a strikeout?
How are earned runs determined?
When does a pitcher get credited with a win, loss, or save?
When is a batter credited with an RBI?
What do you do when a team bats around?

Why is "K" used for a strikeout?

In 1861, Henry Chadwick invented a scoring system which used a series of letter symbols.   He selected "K" for "struck out".   He explained that "K" was the prominent letter in the word "strike" and it would be easy to remember.   Stories have circulated that M.J. Kelly of the New York Herald was the first to use "K" for a strikeout and that it was because it was his last initial.   Actually, Mr. Chadwick was the first baseball editor for the New York Herald and Kelly learned it from him.*

*Source - "The Joy of Keeping Score" by Paul Dickson.

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How are earned runs determined?

Earned runs are determined by reconstructing all innings as they would have occurred without errors, any catcher's interference, and passed balls.   The pitcher is given the benefit of the doubt when determining which bases would have been reached by errorless play.

Examples of unearned runs are ...

This is not an exhaustive list, but should be enough to give you an idea about how to reconstruct the innings.

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When does a pitcher get credited with a win, loss or a save?

For a complete explanation, refer to rules 10.19 and 10.20 of the Official Rules of Major League Baseball. For convenience, here are some basic guidelines. The following criteria must be met for a starting pitcher to get credit for the win.

  1. The starter's team must win.
  2. The starter must pitch five complete innings.
  3. The starter's team must be leading when he leaves the game.
  4. The starter's team must remain in the lead for the rest of the game.
A reliever is credited with a win if he is the pitcher of record when his team assumes the lead and maintains it for the rest of the game.  It may seem unfair but a reliever can get credit for the win if he gives up the tying or go ahead run to the opponent and then is the pitcher of record when his team regains the lead.

Rule 10.19(4) lists an exception to the above.  If a relief pitcher is ineffective in a brief appearance and a succeeding pitcher can be considered to have been responsible for his team maintaining the lead, the succeeding pitcher should be credited with the victory.

A pitcher is credited with a loss when his team loses the game and the opponent assumed and kept the lead while he was the pitcher of record.

A save can be credited to a relief pitcher when the following conditions are met.

  1. The reliever is the final pitcher in a game won by his team.
  2. The reliever is not the winning pitcher.
  3. One of the following conditions is met:
Remember, these are just basic guidelines. Be sure to check the official rules for an exact explanation.

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When is a batter credited with an RBI?

The batter is credited with an RBI (run batted in) for every runner that reaches home safely when any of the following occurs:

The scorer must make a decision about crediting an RBI if a run scores because a fielder holds a ball or throws to the wrong base.  Rule of thumb -- If the runner keeps running without stopping after the ball is hit, credit an RBI.  If the runner stops at a base and takes off again after noticing the misplay, credit the run as scored on a fielder's choice.

Do not credit an RBI when either of the following occurs.

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What do you do when a team bats around?

If I'm using a scorecard that has room for more than nine innings, I just renumber the innings at the top and then continue scoring.

Unfortunately, not all scorecards allow for more than nine innings.   So far, this has been the case with all of the scorecards in the official game programs that I've purchased.  I guess the program publishers never heard of a baseball game going into extra innings.  In this situation, I'll continue scoring in the next column and then draw a line at the bottom of the score box for the last batter in the inning.   Then, I'll place the appropriate inning numbers above and below the line in the right-hand corners.

It looks something like this.

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