How to Read a Baseball Box Score - HowTheyPlay - Sports
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How to Read a Baseball Box Score

Teri Silver is a journalist, commercial copywriter, editor, broadcast anchor, and Public Relations Specialist.

Play Ball!

Play Ball!

Keeping a baseball box score is something that some folks do for their own pleasure. Everyone has their own methods. But if you enjoy the game of baseball, and you’re not truly savvy about game statistics, a newspaper box score can be confusing. What do all those letters and numbers stand for? Who hit singles, doubles, triples, and home runs? Who got the save? Who were the umpires? And, of course, what was the final score? First, let’s review the basics.

reading-a-baseball-box-score

Basic Info

Major League and other baseball organizations have their own official methods on how to the keep track of the stats. The first thing you need to know is what the abbreviations stand for.

Hitting Abbreviations

2B

Doubles

3B

Triples

AB

At Bats (Only official times at bat. Walks, sacrifices, and instances where the batter is hit by the pitch do not count toward batting average statistics.)

AB/GIDP

At Bats per Grounded Into Double Play

AB/HR

At Bats per Home Run

AB/RBI

At Bats per Runs Batted In

AO

Fly Outs

AVG (BA)

Batting Average

BB

Bases on Balls (Walks)

CS

Caught Stealing

DH

Designated Hitter

G

Games Played

GIDP

Ground Into Double Plays

GO

Ground Outs

GO/AO

Ground Outs/Fly Outs

GSH

Grand Slam Home Runs

H

Hits

HBP

Hits by Pitch

HR

Home Runs

IBB

Intentional Walks

LIPS

Late Inning Pressure Situations

LOB

Left On Base

NP

Number of Pitches

OBP

On Base Percentage

OPS

On Base Plus Slugging Percentage

PA/SO

Plate Appearance per Strikeout

R

Runs Scored

RBI

Runs Batted In

SAC

Sacrifice Bunts

SB%

Stolen Base Percentage

SB

Stolen Bases

SF

Sacrifice Flies

SLG

Slugging Percentage

SO

Strikeouts

TB

Total Bases

TP

Triple Play

TPA

Total Plate Appearances

XBH

Extra Base Hits

Fielding Abbreviations

A

Assists

CS

Caught Stealing

DER

Defensive Efficiency Rating

DP

Double Plays

E

Errors

FPCT

Fielding Percentage

G

Games Played

INN

Innings Played

OFA

Outfield Assists

PB

Passed Balls

PO

Putouts

RF

Range Factor

SB

Stolen Bases (Allowed)

TC

Total Chances

TP

Triple Plays

Player Position Abbreviations and Miscellaneous Stats

1B

First Base

2B

Second Base

3B

Third Base

SS

Shortstop

LF

Left Field

CF

Center Field

RF

Right Field

P

Pitcher

C

Catcher

PH

Pinch Hitter

DH

Designated Hitter

A

Attendance

T

Time of the Game (Duration of Game)

Umpires

Referees of the Game

Inherited Runners Scored

Runners on base scoring when a relief pitcher is brought in.

Field Condition

Dry, wet, muddy, etc.

Weather Conditions

Game time temperature, winds, precipitation, etc.

reading-a-baseball-box-score

The Box Score

Let’s take a look at a typical baseball game; this is one between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox that took place on May 31, 1995. The Indians won the game at 6 to 3. Although a ball game’s official scorer adds more statistics into his final determination (such as fielding data), newspapers and online sites typically publish the box score like this.

Innings

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

CHI

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

2

0

3

7

3

CLE

0

1

2

0

0

2

0

1

X

6

8

3

Cleveland Indians Batting

PlayerABRHRBIBBSOBA

Kenny Lofton CF

4

1

1

0

0

0

.286

Omar Vizquel SS

3

0

0

0

1

1

.214

Carlos Baerga 2B

4

0

1

1

0

0

.326

Albert Belle LF

3

2

2

1

1

0

.295

Eddie Murray 1B

4

0

0

0

0

0

.319

Manny Ramirez RF

4

0

2

0

0

0

.395

Dave Winfield DH

3

1

0

0

1

0

.200

Jim Thorne 3B

3

1

1

2

1

1

.330

Tony Pena C

4

1

1

0

0

1

.247

Orel Hershiser P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Assenmacher P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jose Mesa P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Totals

32

6

8

4

4

3

.250

Indians Stats

  • 2B: M. Ramirez (2—1 off J. Abbott, 1 off K McCaskill); T. Pena (off J. Abbott); A. Belle (off J Abbott).
  • HR: J. Thome (off J. Abbott; 6th inn, 1 on, 2 outs); A. Belle (off K McCaskill; 8th inn, 0 on, 0 outs to Deep LF-CF).
  • IBB: D. Winfield (1, by J Abbott); J. Thome (1, by K McCaskill).
  • TB: A. Belle 6; J. Thome 4; M. Ramirez 4; T. Pena 2; K Lofton; C. Baerga.
  • GIDP: A. Belle.
  • RBI: J. Thome 2 (his 19th); C. Baerga (19); A. Belle (20).
  • 2-out RBI: J. Thome 2.
  • Team LOB: 6.
  • With RISP: 2 for 14.

Fielding

  • E: E. Murray (his 3rd for the season); C. Baerga (3); O. Hershiser.
  • Outfield Assists: K. Lofton (L. Johnson at 3rd base).

Base Running

  • SB: D. Winfield (2nd base off J. Abbott/R Karkovice); K. Lofton (his 8th of the season-2nd base off J. Abbott/R. Karkovice).

What This Particular (Cleveland Indians) Box Score Means:

Lead-off hitter (centerfielder) Kenny Lofton had four official at bats (AB), one base hit (H), and scored one run (R). He did not walk (BB), strike out (SO), or bat in a run (RBI). His batting average (BA or AVG) at the end of the game was .286. The team had a total of 32 at bats and scored six runs on eight hits. Two of the runs were unearned, so the number of statistically official runs batted in (RBI) was four.

Three of the Indians players hit doubles (2B); two of them hit home runs (HR). Two ballplayers were intentionally walked (IBB) by Chicago pitchers. Other statistics include Total Bases (TB), Grounded Into a Double-Play (GIDP), the number of Indians players that were Left On Base (LOB) and base hits that occurred with runners in scoring position (RISP). Fielding highlights included errors (E), outfield assists (OFA) and stolen bases (SB).

Chicago White Sox Batting

PlayerABRHRBIBBSOBA

Lance Johnson CF

4

0

1

0

0

0

.252

Tim Raines LF

4

0

1

2

0

0

.316

Mike LaValliere C

0

0

0

0

0

0

.238

Frank Thomas 1B

3

1

1

0

1

0

.327

John Kruk DH

4

0

1

0

0

0

.233

Robin Ventura 3B

4

0

1

0

0

1

.279

Mike Devereaux RF

4

0

1

1

0

1

.287

Ray Durham 2B

4

0

0

0

0

0

.321

Ron Karkovice C

2

0

0

0

0

1

.230

Warren Newson PH-LF

1

1

0

0

0

1

.282

Ozzie Guillen SS

3

1

1

0

0

0

.306

Jim Abbot P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kirk McCaskill P

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Totals

34

3

7

3

1

4

.206

White Sox Stats

  • TB: F. Thomas; T. Raines; O. Guillen; M. Devereaux; L. Johnson; R. Ventura; J. Kruk.
  • RBI: T. Raines 2 (22); M. Devereaux (13).
  • 2-out RBI: M. Devereaux.
  • Team LOB: 5.
  • With RISP: 4 for 6.

Fielding

  • DP: 2. M. Devereaux-O Guillen; R. Ventura-F. Thomas.
  • PB: R. Karkovice (4).
  • E: R. Durham (5); R. Ventura (11); F. Thomas (4).
  • Outfield Assists: M. Devereaux (C. Baerga at 2nd base).

Base Running

  • Pickoffs: J. Kruk (1st base by T. Pena).

What This Particular (Chicago White Sox) Box Score Means:

For example, lead-off hitter (centerfielder - CF) Lance Johnson had four official at-bats (AB), one hit (H) but did not walk (BB), strike out (SO) or score any runs (R). His batting average (BA or AVG) at the end of the game was .252. The team had a total of 34 at-bats, scored three earned runs on seven hits and had one batter walk once.

Leftfielder (LF) Tim Raines received his 22nd run batted in (RBI) of the season; Rightfielder (RF) Mike Devereaux got his 13th RBI with two batters out. The White Sox left five runners on base (LOB) and had four hits in six opportunities with runners in scoring position (RISP), but not all runners scored. Fielding statistics included a passed ball (PB) by the catcher (C), errors (E) by three players and one base runner that was tagged out by the defensive player as Chicago’s John Kruk was tagged out (picked off the base) by Indians’ catcher Tony Pena, who was covering first base at the time.

Pitching Abbreviations

AO

Fly Outs

APP

Appearances

AVG

Opponents Batting Average

BB

Bases on Balls (Walks)

BB/9

Walks per Nine Innings

BF

Batters Faced

BK

Balks

BS

Blown Saves

CG

Complete Games

CGL

Complete Game Losses

CS

Caught Stealing

ER

Earned Runs (runs that resulted with no errors or passed ball from the defense)

ERA

Earned Run Average

G

Games Played

GF

Games Finished

GIDP

Grounded into Double Plays

GO

Ground Outs

GO/AO

Ground Outs/Fly Outs Ratio

GS

Games Started

GSH

Grand Slams

H

Hits Allowed

H/9

Hits Allowed per Nine Innings

HB (HBP)

Hits Batsmen (Hit by Pitch)

HLD

Hold

HR

Home Run Allowed

I/GS

Innings per Games Started

IBB

Intentional Walks

IP

Innings Pitched

IR

Inherited Runners

IS

Inherited Score

K (SO)

Strikeout

K/9

Strikeouts per Nine Innings

K/BB

Strikeout/Walk Ratio

L

Losses

LIPS

Late Inning Pressure Situations

LOB

Left On Base

MB/9

Base Runners per Nine Innings

NP

Number of Pitches Thrown

OBA

On Base Against

PA

Plate Appearances

P/GS

Pitches per Game Start

P/IP

Pitches per Innings Pitched

PK

Pick-offs

R

Runs

RW

Relief Wins

SB

Stolen Bases

SHO

Shutouts

SLG

Slugging Percentage Allowed

SVO

Save Opportunities

TB

Total Bases

TP

Triple Plays

UR

Unearned Runs

W

Wins

WHIP

Walks + Hits/Innings Pitched

WP

Wild Pitches

WPCT

Winning Percentage

XBA

Extra Base Hits Allowed

Pitching Stats

Box scores list the pitchers’ statistics separately. They include innings pitched, hits, earned and unearned runs, intentional and unintentional walks, home runs allowed, strikeouts, and the pitcher’s earned run average (ERA) at the end of the game. The stats also include wins, losses, and saves. Although the game’s official scorer adds other statistics to the final totals, typical pitchers’ box scores in newspapers and on the Internet look like this.

Cleveland Indians Pitching

PitcherIPHRERBBSOHRERA

Orel Hershiser W (win)(4-1)(win-loss record)

7.2

6

3

1

1

3

0

3.74

Paul Assenmacher

0.1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0.00

Jose Mesa S (save)(11)(pitcher's total saves)

1

0

0

0

1

0

0

2.45

Team Totals

9

7

3

1

2

3

0

1.00

Chicago White Sox Pitching

PitcherIPHRERBBSOHRERA

Jim Abbot L (loss) (2-2) win-loss record)

7

6

5

1

3

2

1

4.03

Kirk McCaskill

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

5.79

Team Totals

8

8

6

2

4

3

2

2.25

Information for Both Teams’ Pitching Staffs

  • P. Assenmacher faced one batter in the 9th inning.
  • Balks: None.
  • WP (wild pitch): None.
  • HBP (hit by pitch): None.
  • IBB (intentional base on balls (walks): J. Abbott (1; D Winfield); K. McCaskill (3; J. Thome).
  • Pickoffs: None.

(In 1995, the Indians’ record of 100 wins, 44 losses allowed the team to finished first in the American League Central Division following a Major League Baseball strike-shortened season. The White Sox finished the season in third place of the AL Central with a record of 68 wins, 76 losses). In the 1995 playoffs, the Indians beat the Boston Red Sox three games to none in the division series and the Seattle Mariners four games to two in the Championship series to win the American League pennant that year).

A World Series Box Score

A World Series Box Score

Calculating Stat Numbers

  • Batting Average: Divide the number of base hits by the total number of at bats (AVG). For example, if Jim Thome has a season total of 400 at bats and 125 base hits (singles, doubles, triples, and home runs), then his batting average would be .320.
  • Earned Run Average: Multiply the number of earned runs by nine, the number of innings in a typical game. Divide that by the total number of innings pitched. For example, if pitcher Orel Hershiser allowed 60 earned runs in 230 innings, then multiply 60 by 9. Divide that number, 540, into 230. The ERA would be 2.35.
  • Slugging Percentage: Slugging percentage is the number of total bases divided by the total number of at bats. Additional points are made for each base hit; a single base hit is one point while a home run is worth 4 points. After adding all the points, divide that total number by the total number of at bats. For example, if Manny Ramirez has a total of 140 singles in 420 at bats, then 140 divided by 420 would give him a slugging percentage of .340.
  • On Base Percentage: Total up the number of base hits, walks (Base on Balls/BB) and times the batter was hit by a pitch. This figure is then divided by the number of at bats, number of walks, number of hits, number of times the batter walked, and number of times he hit a sacrifice fly to move a runner. For example, if Omar Vizquel has a total of 450 at bats, 120 hits, 60 walks, was hit by a pitch eight times and batted six sacrifice fly balls, the formula would be 120+60+8=188. Divide this figure into 450+60+8+6, which would be 524. The OBP would be .360.
  • Fielding Average/Fielding Percentage: Divide a player’s total number of assists and put-outs by the number of assists, put-outs, and errors. For example, if Albert Belle has 180 put-outs and 200 assists while committing 8 errors, then his Fielding Percentage would be 180+200 divided by 180 + 200+8. That would be 380 divided by 388, giving us a FPCT of .980.
  • Win-Loss Percentage: Divide the total number of games won by the number of decisions. For example, if pitcher Charles Nagy has a win-loss record of 16 and 3, divide the 16 into 19. The would give us the number of .850.

Major League Baseball References

Questions & Answers

Question: What do these numbers mean in reference to a baseball player .240/.331/.411?

Answer: Without seeing the complete and actual box score, I guess that this is the player's batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage -- although maybe not in that order. Often, when listed in a row, they are qualified with the abbreviations (BA for Batting Average, OBP for On Base Percentage, SLG for Slugging Percentage, and OPS for On Base Plus Slugging). People (and sports reporters) tend to list statistics in different ways, regardless of "standard" procedures.

Question: What does WCGB stand for in baseball standings that are printed in the newspaper?

Answer: It stands for "Wild Card Games Back." In Major League Baseball, each league has three divisions (East, Central and West). At the end of the season, the top team in each division receives an invitation to compete in the first round of the playoffs, but the Wild Card chooses the fourth team. The WCGB statistic is most important in August and September, for determining which team (not already in first place in its division) has a shot at getting the Wild Card spot. For example, if your favorite team is second in its division, the WCBG figure will show how many games it is behind the Wild Card leader (at that point in the season) competing to receive that fourth invitation to participate in the division playoffs.

Question: In regards to baseball, what does TB mean?

Answer: TB, or the number of total bases, is the figure that describes the complete amount a batter has earned with singles, doubles, triples and home runs. Add one for each single, two for each double, three for each triple, and four for each home run. The statistic does not take into account for a batter being walked, hit by a pitch, reaching on an error or dropped ball strikeout.

Question: What do the numbers on the left of the baseball scoreboard mean?

Answer: It may be the numbers that each pitcher in the game wears, but I would have to see the scoreboard to be able to give you a more specific answer.

Question: What does (H, 1) next to a pitcher mean?

Answer: Without seeing the actual box score, I would say that the H,1 statistic means a relief pitcher, who has entered the game in a save situation, held the lead for one inning.

Question: For relief pitchers, what does H/9 mean?

Answer: H/9 (or H,9) means hits allowed for nine innings pitched. Because only a few starters pitch nine innings in Major League Baseball these days, the statistic is for starters and relievers. Divide the number of hits allowed by a pitcher (singles, doubles, triples and home runs) by the number of innings he has pitched -- then multiply that number by nine.

H/9 comes from the number of outs the pitcher gets, including the double plays, sacrifices and such when there is no "official" at-bat recorded.

Question: In a box score next to the relief pitchers' statistics, I have seen the letter B, followed by a # number sign. What do they stand for?

Answer: I believe it's an abbreviated stat for Batters Faced (BF). And ... that would make sense, in that there is a number after the "B." I've never seen the number-of-batters-faced statistic shortened this way but in today's internet age, box scores are seemingly changing.

Question: What does the S mean in the Box Score of a baseball game?

Answer: I have never seen a single "S" on a box score so it could be the way the person scoring has noted the statistic--people (and news outlets) sometimes/often tend to keep track in their own way. If the notation is for offense, the "S" could mean "Sacrifice" (as in a bunt or fly ball), it might even be a "steal," although that is usually noted as "SB." Some scorers note strikeouts as "S" but those are usually written as "SO," or, more typically, "K." And it wouldn't surprise me if "S" stood for "Single." If the "S" you're looking at is for pitching, it might be for "Save," although -- that is more uniformly called "SV." Perhaps the thing to do here is to take a look at the entire game and see what makes the most sense.

© 2012 Teri Silver

Comments

Teri Silver (author) from The Buckeye State on February 21, 2016:

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking if there is a separate but all inclusive category? If so, I've never seen one. The stat list here includes: BB (for bases on balls) and HB (for hit batsmen), and etc. Everything is listed separately. Most often (and depending on the official scorer) details are included in the sentence-structured content that runs below the figures outline. Thus, if a pitcher, for example, hits three batters, it would be included in the paragraph as HB:3 (and may include the names of the players who were hit by the ball -- or the text (hit batsmen or HBP -- hit by pitch--) would be written out completely. It usually depends on the editor who is setting up the printed (or computer) page, and how much space is used for each description.

Willy on February 20, 2016:

I'm seeing pitching box scores that have the following columns:

ip...h...r...er...bb....so...ab...bf...np

I don't see ab (at bat) as one of your pitching stats.

Someone has suggested that ab counts don't include things like walks, hit batsmen, etc.

Is there an equivalent in your list of pitching stats?

Thanks

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on October 04, 2014:

This is a great resource. I know most of the standard baseball abbreviations listed in a box score, but there are still some I shake my head at. :) So this is a good list to come back to when I get 'stuck'.

BTW, I recently realized that the TV sportscasters calling a game actually keep their own box scores throughout each game. I'd always assumed that those figures were kept for them by others and/or on a computer, but Len Kasper & Jim (JD) Deshaies who call each Chicago Cubs game for WGN-TV were shown on air actually filling out their own score sheets one day. I found that interesting.

Teri Silver (author) from The Buckeye State on July 12, 2014:

Hi Ryan, the numbers in parentheses (should/generally) mean how many the player has for the season, at that point. In your examples, Freeman and Simmons each had one double for the game, with that being freeman's 28th on the year and Simmons' 10th. Freeman got two RBIs giving him 52 for the season (with 28 doubles so far, that's a great stat), and Upton's one RBI gives him 51 for the season, at the end of that game. Looks like Schafer got credited for a sacrifice.

Ryan on July 11, 2014:

ATTING

2B: F Freeman (28); A Simmons (10)

RBI: F Freeman 2 (52); J Upton (51)

S: J Schafer

What does the 28 10 52 and 51 mean

terisilver on April 27, 2014:

Hi, Mark. I have never seen any attendance figures in parens, but I'm guessing that if it's a higher figure, it could be the number thus far for the season. I will do some investigating and if I find the actual answer, I'll post it here.

Mark on April 26, 2014:

I would like to know what the 2 attendance figures are in a MLB box score? The first is the actual attendance and not sure what the second one is in parenthesis.

Doc Prius on April 06, 2014:

Hi Teri, love your hub. But didn't you get your definition for "slugging percentage" a little off? It's the same as what you gave for the batting average definition.

I thought slugging was the total number of bases divided by at bats, not the total number of hits. Thanks for a great hub.

Teri Silver (author) from The Buckeye State on June 15, 2012:

Thanks, Nick , that's interesting info, I didn't know .... I love the quote, too (Harrah-former Cleveland Indian).

NickCavender from Fairmont, WV on June 14, 2012:

I love the hub. Many people don't know that the box score is generally credited to a journalist named Henry Chadwick, who is a member of the baseball hall of fame. He's also credited with the creation of the batting average and ERA statistics.

Baseball statistics are like a girl in a bikini. They show a lot, but not everything. ~Toby Harrah, 1983

sandonia on June 05, 2012:

This is a great hub for novices! While box scores can never provide the full picture of a game, they're still excellent for the casual fan.

Teri Silver (author) from The Buckeye State on March 30, 2012:

Thanks, Paul. I find that a lot of people get confused about baseball stats and now, especially, we see so many more statistics that are printed online than in a newspaper (what's a newspaper, LOL?)

t

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on March 29, 2012:

This is a very interesting and useful hub for the novice who doesn't know much about baseball. When I attended games in person, I always got an official program and kept score as the game proceeded. This was very interesting and it provides the raw stats for the reporters who are putting the box scores in the papers or on the Internet.

michiganman567 from Michigan on January 25, 2012:

Numbers galore, you must be a baseball fan! I'm glad that you don't have those new stats like WAR in there. I hate when someone tries to make an argument and they break out those silly stats

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