Baseball Basics 101

Baseball Basics 101: Abbreviations

SP - Starting Pitcher                          LF - Left Fielder         

RP -Relief Pitcher                             CF - Center Fielder

CP - Closer (Pitcher)                         RF - Right Fielder

C - Catcher                                       DH - Designated Hitter

1B - First Baseman                           EH - Extra Hitter

2B - Second Baseman                       RHP - Right Handed Pitcher

3B - Third Baseman                         LHP - Left Handed Pitcher

SS - Shortstop


  • 2B - Doubles
  • 3B - Triples
  • AB - At Bats
  • 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
  • BB - Bases on Balls (Walks)
  • CS - Caught Stealing
  • 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 - 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


  • 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


  • 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 Save
  • CG - Complete Games
  • CGL - Complete Game Losses
  • CS - Caught Stealing
  • ER - Earned Runs
  • 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
  • H/9 - Hits per Nine Innings
  • HB - Hit Batsmen
  • HLD - Hold
  • HR - Home Runs
  • I/GS - Innings Per Games Started
  • IBB - Intentional Walks
  • IP - Innings Pitched
  • IRA - Inherited Runs Allowed
  • K/9 - Strikeouts per Nine Innings
  • K/BB - Strikeout/Walk Ratio
  • L - Losses
  • LIPS - Late Inning Pressure Situations
  • LOB - Left on Base
  • MB/9 - Baserunners per 9 Innings
  • NP - Number of Pitches Thrown
  • OBA - On-base Against
  • PA - Plate Appearances
  • P/GS - Pitches per 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
  • 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
Baseball Basics: Lingo


Ace -- A team's best starting pitcher.
Alley-- The section of the outfield between the outfielders. Also "gap."
around the horn-- A double play going from third base to second to first.
Backdoor slider -- A pitch that appears to be out of the strike zone, but then breaks back over the plate.
Bag -- A base.
Baltimore chop -- A ground ball that hits in front of home plate (or off of it) and takes a large hop over the infielder's head.
Bandbox-- A small ballpark that favors hitters.
Bang-bang play -- A play in which the baserunner hits the bag a split-second before the ball arrives or vice versa.
Basket catch -- When a fielder catches a ball with his glove near belt level.
Bronx cheer -- When the crowd boos.
Brushback -- A pitch that nearly hits a batter.
Bush -- Also "bush league." An amateur play or behavior.
Can of corn -- An easy catch by a fielder.
Caught looking -- When a batter is called out on strikes.
Cellar -- Last place. Also "basement."
Cheese -- Also "good cheese." Refers to a good fastball.
Chin music -- A pitch that is high and inside.
Circus catch -- An outstanding catch by a fielder.
Closer -- A team's relief pitcher who finishes the game.
Cutter -- A cut fastball (one with a late break to it).
Cycle -- When a batter hits a single, double, triple and home run in the same game.
Dinger -- A home run.
Dish -- Home plate.
Fireman -- A team's closer or late-inning relief pitcher.
Fungo -- A ball hit to a fielder during practice. It's usually hit by a coach using a "fungo bat," which is longer and thinner than a normal bat.
Gap -- See "alley." A ball hit here is a "gapper."
Gopher ball -- A pitch hit for a home run, as in "go for."
Heat -- A good fastball. Also "heater."
High and tight -- Referring to a pitch that's up in the strike zone and inside on a hitter. Also known as "up and in."
Hill -- Pitcher's mound.
Homer -- A home run. Other terms include: blast, dinger, dong, four-bagger, four-base knock, moon shot, tape-measure blast and tater.
Hot corner -- Third base.
in the hole -- The batter after the on-deck hitter.
Jam -- When a hitter gets a pitch near his hands, he is "jammed." Also when a pitcher gets himself in trouble, he is in a "jam."
Leather -- Refers to how good a player plays defensively or handles the glove. Ex: "He flashed some leather on that play."
Meatball -- An easy pitch to hit, usually right down the middle of the plate.
Mendoza line -- A batting average of around .200.
Moon shot -- A very long, high home run.
Nail down -- As in "nail down a victory." Refers to a relief pitcher finishing off the game.
On the screws -- When a batter hits the ball hard. Also "on the button."
Painting the black -- When a pitcher throws the ball over the edge of the plate.
Pea -- A ball traveling at high speed, either batted or thrown.
Pepper -- Pepper is a common pre-game exercise where one player bunts brisk grounders and line drives to a group of fielders who are standing about 20 feet away. The fielders try to throw it back as quickly as possible. The batter hits the return throw. (Some ballparks ban pepper games because wild pitches could land in the stands and injure spectators).
Pick -- A good defensive play by an infielder on a ground ball. Also a shortened version of "pick-off."
Pickle -- A rundown.
Punchout -- A strikeout.
Rhubarb -- A fight or scuffle.
Ribbie -- Another way of saying RBI. Also "ribeye."
Rope -- A hard line drive hit by a batter. Also "frozen rope."
Rubber game -- The deciding game of a series.
Run-down -- When a baserunner gets caught between bases by the fielders.
Ruthian -- With great power.
Seeing-eye single -- A soft ground ball that finds its way between infielders for a base hit.
Set-up man -- A relief pitcher who usually enters the game in the 7th or 8th inning.
Shoestring catch -- A running catch made just above the fielder's shoetops.
Southpaw -- A left-handed pitcher.
Sweet spot -- The part of the bat just a few inches from the barrel.
Table setter -- Batter whose job is to get on base for other hitters to drive him in. Usually a leadoff or No. 2 hitter.
Tape-measure blast -- An extremely long home run.
Tater -- A home run.
Texas Leaguer -- A bloop hit that drops between an infielder and outfielder.
Tools of ignorance -- Catcher's equipment.
Touch 'em all -- Hitting a home run (touching all the bases).
Twin killing -- A double play.
Uncle Charlie -- Curve ball.
Utility player -- A player who fills in at many positions.
Wheelhouse -- A hitter's power zone. Usually a pitch waist-high and over the heart of the plate.
Wheels -- A ballplayer's legs.
Whiff -- Strikeout.
Yakker -- Curve ball.

Baseball Basics: How to Keep Score


Symbols for Play

Different fans have different methods of keeping a scorecard, and many use their own notations.
But here's a simple method:

If the hitter grounds out to shortstop, for example, write in "6-3," which shows the shortstop threw him out at first base. If the hitter flies out to left field, write a "7."

If the batter gets a hit, write in the hit according to which base he reached. Each corner of the box represents a base, with the lower-right corner being first.


 Defensive Players by the Numbers

If he singles, put a "-" in the lower right. If he doubles, write a "=" in the upper right, and so on. For a walk, use "BB" in the lower right. As the runner advances, mark the appropriate symbol in the appropriate corner.

If a runner scores, put a circle at the bottom of the box, and inside the circle put the symbol of the play and/or the player that drove him in. For example, if the No. 5 hitter drives in two runs with a single, mark his single in the bottom right of his box and mark a circle with the number "5" in it in the boxes of the runners who score (Some people like to use uniform numbers here, so you can tell who did what, even after lineup changes).

At the end of each inning, total the hits and runs for that inning only. At the end of the game you'll be able to add the innings total to get the game score.


 Example Scorecard


Baseball Basics: Stats 101


Batting Average (AVG): Divide the number of base hits by the total number of at bats. If Tony Gwynn has 600 at bats and has 206 hits.
His batting average would be .343 (206/600)
Earned Run Average (ERA): Multiply the total number of earned runs by nine, and divide the results by the total innings pitched. Randy Johnson has allowed 67 runs in 220 innings.
Multiply 67 by 9: 67x9=603.  Divide 603 by 220 (his innings pitched):  603/220=2.74 -- which is his ERA
W-L percentage: Divide the number of games won by the total number of decisions. Pedro Martinez has a 16-3 record,
Divide his win total(16) by his total number of decisions: (19):16/19=0.842
Slugging Percentage (SLG): Divide the total number of bases of all base hits by the total number of times at bat Sammy Sosa has 282 total bases and 440 at-bats.
Divide 282 by 440 to get his slugging percentage: 282/440=.641
On-Base Percentage (OBP): Divide the total number of hits plus Bases on Balls plus hits by Pitch BY at Bats plus Bases on Balls plus hit by Pitch plus Sacrifice Flies In Derek Jeter's 434 at-bats, he has 152 hits, 59 walks, has been hit by 9 pitches, and he's hit 6 sacrifice flies.
So here's the formula to determine his OBP:
Fielding Average: Divide the total number of putouts and assists by the total number of putouts, assists and errors. Edgardo Alfonzo has 218 putouts and 290 assists, while committing only 2 errors.
So his fielding percentage is:
Magic Numbers: Determine the number of games yet to be played, add one, then subtract the number of games ahead in the loss column of the standings from the closest opponent.

Texas is 7 games ahead, with 50 games remaining. So here's Texas' magic number:
Games remaining (50)+1=51. 51-7=44.
The Rangers' magic number to clinch is 44.


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