Reading a Baseball Box Score
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.
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.

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

What This Particular (Cleveland Indians) Box Score Means:
Leadoff 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 DoublePlay (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).
Cleveland Indians Batting
Player
 AB
 R
 H
 RBI
 BB
 SO
 BA


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

 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 LFCF).
 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).
 2out RBI: J. Thome 2.
 Team LOB: 6.
 With RISP: 2 for 14.
Fielding
 E: E. Murray (his 3^{rd} 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 8^{th} of the season2nd base off J. Abbott/R. Karkovice).
What This Particular (Chicago White Sox) Box Score Means:
For example, leadoff hitter (centerfielder  CF) Lance Johnson had four official atbats (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 atbats, scored three earned runs on seven hits and had one batter walk once. Leftfielder (LF) Tim Raines received his 22^{nd} run batted in (RBI) of the season; Rightfielder (RF) Mike Devereaux got his 13^{th} 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 (Chicago’s John Kruk was tagged out (picked off the base) by Indians’ catcher Tony Pena, who covering first base at the time).
Player
 AB
 R
 H
 RBI
 BB
 SO
 BA


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 PHLF
 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

Fielding
 DP: 2. M. DevereauxO Guillen; R. VenturaF. 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).
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
 Pickoffs

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
Pitcher
 IP
 H
 R
 ER
 BB
 SO
 HR
 ERA


Orel Hershiser W (win)(41)(winloss 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
Pitcher
 IP
 H
 R
 ER
 BB
 SO
 HR
 ERA


Jim Abbot L (loss) (22) winloss 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 strikeshortened 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).
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 putouts by the number of assists, putouts, and errors. For example, if Albert Belle has 180 putouts 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.
 WinLoss Percentage: Divide the total number of games won by the number of decisions. For example, if pitcher Charles Nagy has a winloss record of 16 and 3, divide the 16 into 19. The would give us the number of .850.
Major League Baseball References
© 2012 Teri Silver
Comments
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 WGNTV were shown on air actually filling out their own score sheets one day. I found that interesting.
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
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