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Reading a Baseball Box Score

Updated on March 10, 2016
Baseball !!!!
Baseball !!!! | Source

Keeping a baseball box score is sometimes a personal thing, that is, if you’re doing it for your 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 of baseball: Pitch the ball, hit the ball and field the ball. OK, there’s more …


Major League and other baseball leagues have their own “official” methods on how to the keep the box scores of professional games. The first thing you need to know is what the abbreviations stand for. Check out the tables below:

  • K - 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 9 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
  • SO - Strikeouts (a strikeout is also known as “K”)
  • SV - Saves
  • 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


  • 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 from the pitcher’s pitches)
  • 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 - Hit Batsmen (or HBP-Hit by pitch)
  • HLD - Hold
  • HR - Home Runs Allowed
  • I/GS - Innings Per Games Started
  • IBB - Intentional Walks
  • IP - Innings Pitched
  • IR - Inherited Runners
  • IS - Inherited Score

  • HBP - Hit 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 Appearances 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


  • 2B - Doubles
  • 3B - Triples
  • AB - At Bats (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 - Batting Average
  • 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

  • OFA - Outfield Assists
  • PB - Passed Balls
  • PO - Putouts
  • RF - Range Factor
  • SB - Stolen Bases (allowed)
  • TC - Total Chances
  • TP - Triple Plays


  • A - Assists
  • CS - Caught Stealing
  • DER - Defensive Efficiency Rating
  • DP - Double Plays
  • E - Errors
  • FPCT - Fielding Percentage
  • G - Games Played
  • INN - Innings Played


  • A – Attendance
  • T -Time of the game (how long it lasted)
  • Umpires- Referees of the game
  • Inherited Runners Scored – Relief pitchers’ allowing runners to score
  • Field Condition – Dry, wet, muddy, etc.
  • Weather Conditions – Game time temperature, winds, precipitation, etc.


  • 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


Let’s take a look at a typical baseball game; this one between the 1995 Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox took place on May 31st of that year. (The Indians won the game 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:

For example, lead-off hitter (centerfielder - CF) 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) and his batting average ( BA or AVG) at the end of the game was .286. The team had a total of 32 at-bats, 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 included 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 --------- 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 Thome 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).

Chicago White Sox Batting ----------- 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-------------------------------------- 2 1 0 0 0 1 .282
  • Ozzie Guillen SS ---------------------------------------------- 3 1 1 0 0 0 .306
  • Jim Abbott P
  • Kirk McCaskill P

Team Totals -------------------------------------------------- 34 3 7 3 1 4 .206

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).


Box scores list the pitchers’ statistics separately, including; 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 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 ------------------------------ 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 1 4 0 1.00

Chicago White Sox Pitching ---------------------------------- IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA

  • Jim Abbott 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 1 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).

Baseball Card Box Score!
Baseball Card Box Score! | Source


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. (125/400).

Earned Run Average: Multiply by nine - the number of earned runs allowed by a pitcher. Divide the resulting figure by the total number of innings pitched; (ERA). For example, if pitcher Orel Hershiser allowed 60 earned runs in 230 innings, then multiply 60 by 9 … the number of innings in a standard game; (60x9 =540). Divide 540 into 230 to equal 2.35, which is the pitcher’s Earned Run Average.

Slugging Percentage: Slugging percentage is the number of total bases (singles-1, doubles-2, triples-3, home runs-4) divided by the total number of At Bats. Add 1, 2 ,3 or 4 points for each base hit and then divide the total number of base hits (singles, doubles, triples and home runs) by the total number of at-bats.(For SLG, the different hits earn different points; 1, 2, 3 or 4 that are divided by at-bats). (SLG). 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 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; (OBP). For example, if Omar Vizquel has a total of 450 at-bats, 120 hits, 60 walks, was hit by a pitch 8 times and batted 6 sacrifice fly balls, the formula is this; (120+60+8 equals 188). Divide this figure into (450+60+8+6 equals 524). 188 divided by 524 is .360, thus, Vizquel’s OBP is .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; (FPCT). For example, if Albert Belle has 180 put-outs and 200 assists while committing 8 errors, then his Fielding Percentage is (180+200) divided by 180 + 200+8). 380 divided by 388 equals .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 (wins) into the number of decisions (19). 16 divided by 19 equals .850.


When listening to the game on the radio or watching it on TV, announcers tend to use a variety of phrases describing all the action. Major League Baseball has a list of “favorite phrases” that includes brushback (when a pitch nearly hits a batter), twin-killing (double-play), tape-measure blast (extremely long home run) and Texas Leaguer (a looped base hit that drops between an infielder and outfielder). Check out the all the lingo ...


Ever wonder why the umpire “blew the call?” Maybe he was following the rules of the game. Check out Major League Baseball’s rules.

© Copyright by Teri Silver, 2012. All Rights Reserved


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    • 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

    • 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.

    • TeriSilver profile image

      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?)


    • sandonia profile image

      sandonia 4 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.

    • NickCavender profile image

      NickCavender 4 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

    • TeriSilver profile image

      Teri Silver 4 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).

    • 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.

    • profile image

      Mark 2 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

      terisilver 2 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

      Ryan 2 years ago


      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 profile image

      Teri Silver 2 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.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 2 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.

    • profile image

      Willy 14 months ago

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

      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?


    • TeriSilver profile image

      Teri Silver 14 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.

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