Game Data
Once you've familiarized yourself with the scorecard layout (a link to one is located at the bottom of this page), it is time to start filling it in. Normally at the top you'll find places to log information such as team names, date, and time. Some scorecards also contain spaces for location, temperature, weather, team win-loss records, and several other statistics. Some cards will even provide space for umpire and coach names. Fill in as much as you want, but be sure to fill in the team names, date, and time. 

Player Data
Next, find where you'll be entering player data. This will be a grid with inning numbers and other designations running across the top and spaces for the players' names, numbers and positions down the side. Fill these in when the batting order is received. Before entering the player positions, you should be aware of one standard way of recording them. Instead of alphabetic abbreviations, most people assign numbers to the positions. The standard position numbers are shown below.


1 - Pitcher; 2 - Catcher; 3 - 1st Base; 4 - 2nd Base; 5 - 3rd Base; 6 - Shortstop; 7 - Left Field;

8 - Center Field; 9 - Right Field

A designated-hitter is represented by "DH".  A designated-player is represented by “DP”.  The “FLEX” is represented by the position they’re playing, with “FLEX” written beneath.

These numbers are easy to remember if you start with the pitcher and then work your way around the bases. The only hitch is the shortstop. You would think that the numbers for shortstop and third base should be reversed. One explanation that I've read was that the shortstop was not originally considered part of the infield. It was originally part of the outfield as a "short fielder."

Finally, you'll notice an area where you can register the statistical totals. Some of these, such as runs and hits, are totaled after each half-inning. Others, such as player and team totals, are tallied after the game has been played.

Scorekeeper Shorthand
Scorekeeping is accomplished by a sort of "shorthand," which is basically a combination of position numbers and abbreviations for action which has occurred on the field.

Batter Up!
Let's see what we need to do as each player has his turn at bat. We'll confine ourselves to the top of the lineup.


If you've familiarized yourself with the position numbers, you'll see that the center fielder, second baseman, catcher, and right fielder are the first batters up.

Smith singles to center field. A lot of pre-printed scorecards will have a diamond representing the field in the middle of each box. To mark Smith's single, we'll darken the line from home to first and place a 1B next to it. Many people also like to draw a line to show where the batter hit the ball.


Lawson's up next and he strikes out swinging. A "K" is placed in his box to indicate that he struck out. If it was a called strike three, a backwards "K" would be placed in the box. A circled "1" is also placed in the box to indicate that it is the first out.


Henry is batting next, but while he is batting Smith manages to steal second. The line from first to second should be darkened and an "SB" along with a number to indicate who was at bat is written to indicate that Smith stole second during Henry's plate appearance. Use the player's jersey number for this. Although it is not necessary to record the batter’s number, it makes it easier to keep track of things. So, it could have just as easily written "SB" instead of "SB17". If Henry hit or sacrificed the batter over to second, you would place just the uniform or player number next to the path from first to second to show how Smith got there.


Henry manages to draw a walk. The line from home to first is darkened and either a "BB" (base-on-balls) or "W" is written to indicate the walk. “BB” is the most recognizable and should be used.


Jones is now at bat and hits it to the short stop who tosses it to the second baseman who tags the bag to get Henry out. The second baseman then throws to first to get Jones out. A classic 6-4-3 double play, which is what is written in Jones' box. Of course, both outs must be recorded. So a line is drawn halfway between first and second in Henry's box and is marked with a '33' to indicate that Jones was the batter. A circled '2' is also entered to indicate that Henry was the second out.


In Jones' box a 6-4-3 is written along with a 'DP' for the double play and a circled '3' to indicate the third out. A 'DP' could also have been entered in Henry's box to indicate that he was caught up in the double play as well.


The '6-4-3' above is an example of how all players who were involved in putting the runner out are given credit.

Since this is the third out, a slash is drawn across the lower right-hand corner of Jones' box to indicate the end of the inning. This is what the scorecard should look like after the first half-inning (next page).


Obviously, the above was just a small example.


There are many reasons to replace a starter: pitchers get tired, batters aren't hitting, players get injured, someone's ejected, or the manager makes a strategic move.   Whatever the reason, sooner or later you're going to have to mark a substitution on your scorecard.

So, how do you do this?  It depends on the substitution.

For batter substitutions, draw a line between the last score-box of the previous batter and the first score-box of the new batter.


Kitt pinch hits for Lawson

If the new batter is a pinch hitter, place "PH" in the position box.  If he is taking a position in the field, use the normal position numbers.  If players are moved around in the field, you'll want to show that on your scorecard.  Make a note by the player's name indicating the move.   

When a substitution is made for the pitcher, place a line under the score box of the last batter the previous pitcher faced.

Take a Swing
Hopefully, the above examples will give you an idea about how scorekeeping is done. You never know when the coach may need assistance keeping score.  Give it a try next time you go to out to the ballgame or are at home watching one.  Don't be afraid to experiment. What works best for others may not be best for you. A sample scorecard may be obtained by clicking the link below.  You don’t have to get too detailed, but the more information you put down, the better the game can be analyzed by coaches, either during the game or after.