Baseball Scoreboard Abbreviations
In baseball, strategies change depending on the score, the inning, the number of outs within the inning and the ball-strike count on the hitter. Baseball scoreboards provide this basic information -- and sometimes much more at higher levels of play -- primarily so fans can remain up to date on the game situation. Scoreboards can also assist players who momentarily lose track of the situation, avoiding the necessity of asking someone for the information. Abbreviations allow scoreboards to include more information within a limited space.
Youth and recreational baseball fields typically include a small scoreboard that delivers the game’s basic information. The inning generally appears as “INN.” Team totals for runs, hits and errors are abbreviated as “R,” “H” and “E,” respectively. The number of outs in an inning appears as “O.” “B” stands for balls and “S” for strikes. The batter’s uniform number may appear under the letters “AB,” which stands for “at bat.” The pitcher may be similarly identified with a “P.”
Larger scoreboards may display each team’s lineup, including the position of each player. The positions will typically be abbreviated in one of two ways: First base (either 1B or 3), second base (2B or 4), third base (3B or 5), shortstop (SS or 6), left field (LF or 7), center field (CF or 8), right field (RF or 9), catcher (C or 2), pitcher (P or 1) and designated hitter (DH or 10). A pinch hitter may be abbreviated as “PH.” Pitchers may also be identified as either a starting pitcher (SP) or a relief pitcher (RP).
Baseball is a treasure trove of statistics, many of which may be flashed on the scoreboard during a game, particularly at professional ballparks. For example, when a player is at bat the scoreboard may display his batting average, abbreviated as “AVG.” Other typical hitting stats and abbreviations include home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI), runs scored (R) and stolen bases (SB). Pitching stats often seen on scoreboards include wins (W), losses (L), earned run average (ERA), strikeouts (S) and saves (SV). Additionally, when a home team’s pitcher strikes a hitter out, the letter “K” may be displayed. If there’s a close call between a hit or an error on a play, the scoreboard typically flashes an “H” for a hit or an “E” for an error, after the official scorer makes the ruling.
Some scoreboards, particularly at the major league level, display scores of other games being played that day. The team names will usually be abbreviated according to the city or state. The Detroit Tigers, for example, become “DET” while the Texas Rangers are “TEX.” Cities that include more than one team will include one or more letters of the team nickname in the abbreviation. The New York Yankees are typically abbreviated as “NYY” while the Mets become “NYM.” The Chicago White Sox are represented by “CWS” or “CHW” and the Cubs by “CHC.”
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.