Reading a Baseball Box Score

Updated on July 3, 2017
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Teri Silver is a journalist, commercial copy writer, editor, broadcast anchor, and Public Relations Specialist.

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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:

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).

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 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 (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 (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 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

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).

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

Pitcher
IP
H
R
ER
BB
SO
HR
ERA
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

Pitcher
IP
H
R
ER
BB
SO
HR
ERA
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 | Source

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.

© 2012 Teri Silver

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    • TeriSilver profile image
      Author

      Teri Silver 21 months ago from The Buckeye State

      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.

    • profile image

      Willy 22 months ago

      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 profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 3 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      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.

    • TeriSilver profile image
      Author

      Teri Silver 3 years ago from The Buckeye State

      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.

    • profile image

      Ryan 3 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      terisilver 3 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Mark 3 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Doc Prius 3 years ago

      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.

    • TeriSilver profile image
      Author

      Teri Silver 5 years ago from The Buckeye State

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

    • NickCavender profile image

      NickCavender 5 years ago from Fairmont, WV

      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 profile image

      sandonia 5 years ago

      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.

    • TeriSilver profile image
      Author

      Teri Silver 5 years ago from The Buckeye State

      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 Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 5 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      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 profile image

      michiganman567 5 years ago from Michigan

      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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