[Play Ball]

Dan's Guide to Baseball Scorekeeping



I don't even remember when I first learned to keep score. It was long ago in a far away place!
I've actually never kept score much at major league games. I frequently start to, but eventually give up because I like to wear my glove and be ready to catch home runs or foul balls. I also never solved the problem of going to the restroom or concession stands and missing plays.
I did play a fair amount of table top baseball games when I was younger and made good use of my scoring knowledge to keep score there.

I really got interested in it when my son started playing ball. I love having a record of his games and I also enjoy compiling stats for the team. I have always been the head coach, though, so I had to teach his mom to keep score so we could have our own "book".

She does a pretty good job, but I was always getting frustrated at her scorekeeping. She's (understandably) not as nit-picky as I am and there were always little things that I couldn't understand or figure out when trying to recreate the game. She is pretty good at basic scorekeeping, but not quite as good with rbi's, errors, etc.

I eventually wanted to have better records to track errors, rbi's, avg with runners in scoring position, etc.
I first started keeping extra notes during his games but was never satisfied with it.

I was always looking for new notations, styles, to improve my/our scorekeeping and eventually stumbled upon the Project Scoresheet method of scorekeeping. For anyone who hasn't seen it, it's quite different and solves a number of problems with traditional scorekeeping.
It's much easier to recreate the game afterwards and to know exactly when runner movement happened, etc. It's very difficult to glance at the scoresheet and tell how many runs have scored or who scored them.

I would love to be able to use scorekeeping software, but so far don't find it practical. I've tried using a couple of the programs for the PDA and really think they are cool, but with youth games it's hard to keep up with everything that happens on some plays and I never mastered using the PDA programs. I love Baseball Scorebook for the PC, but first you have to have a laptop, then you have to becomfortable holding it at the game, etc. For someone sitting in a press box it would obviously be great, but for parents and coaches at youth games it just doesn't work for me, yet.

I eventually have settled a rather complicated system, although I've got it down pretty smooth. My boy's mom keeps the regular scorebook and I use a Project Scoresheet-style scorecard. After the game I use Baseball Scorebook for the PC and reenter the game, using both scoresheets to get things right. Then I generate stats and stuff and print a nice traditional style scoresheet for keeping.

I've been toying with the idea of creating my own custom scoresheet, somehow combining the tradition "box" style with the "chronological" style of Project Scoresheet. I recently discovered someone has done very much what I was wanting to achive. If you have any interest in different scoring systems, you really should take a look at Alex Reisner's Situational Scoring System. I will be using it this fall and am really excited about it. I highly recommend it.


The Joy of Keeping Score: How Scoring the Game Has Influenced and Enhanced the History of Baseball - Paul Dickson (1997) Buy this book
There are two reasons to head out to the ballpark. One is to passively watch the game, the other is to actively see it, and you can't do the latter without a scorecard. In this slim gem of a volume, Paul Dickson clearly explains and translates the quirky documentation system, which looks like cuneiform to the uninitiated, for recording what happens on the ball field, and why true fans are so adamant about doing it. Filled with history, anecdotes, and rules, it also reproduces--to the joy of scorers everywhere--the official scorer's records for some of baseball's most significant moments, including Don Larson's perfecto and Babe Ruth's called shot.
Keeping Score: A Baseball Handbook - Carter Ramzel & Lee Tunnell (1994) Buy this book
Batter Up! The Ultimate Baseball Scorebook - Benjamin Eli Smith (2000) Buy this book
The crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd-these are the sounds of summer across the USA. With this record keeper you can capture every exciting moment. Batter Up! includes a season's worth of score sheets for you to follow your favorite team, along with instructions on how to score an official game, room for writing down your baseball memories, and fun facts about baseball's history and lore-plus a plastic pocket to hold souvenirs. It's the perfect companion for fans of America's favorite pastime.
The Scorekeeper's Friend - Bill Glasco (1994) Buy this book
An excellent and very thorough book on scorekeeping. By far the most complete guide/tutorial I have found.
Scorekeeping Basics - Bill Glasco (1994) Buy this book
A nice workbook to go with The Scorekeeper's Friend


Andrew Wirkmaa's Page
Alex Reisner's Baseball Data Graphics
Retrosheet.org (Project Scoresheet)
A Modified Baseball Scoring System
Ted Turocy's Baseball Research
The CPM Baseball Information System
Chris Martinez improved on the Project Scoresheet scorecard and did a nice job although he gives no credit to having taken anything from Project Scoresheet. I liked his design much better, but he has since abandonded it and gone back to the traditional style. He does sell his scorebook and the scorecards are BIG and contain a lot of information. I'm very disappointed that he abandonded the Project Scoresheet style, though.
The Dugout Bible by Rob Shoemaker has an interesting scoresheet in the back, which also has some Project Scoresheet style touches to it. It's also one of the best books on coaching youth baseball I've found. Highly Recommended!


Baseball Almanac Scoring
Right Down the Middle for a Ball: A Baseball Scoring Project
Chris Swingle's Baseball Scoring
YSN - Baseball Scorekeeping
Baseball Scoring
eHow's How To Keep Score in Baseball
How to Read a Baseball Scorecard
Keeping Score - MLB.com
Scorekeepers Handbook from Redmond N LL


You can find a variety of scoresheets by searching the web.
BaseballScorecard.com has a lot of different scoresheets you can download.


Ballcharts.com has customized scorebooks, lineup cards and other forms
Gene Elston Stati-Score Scorebook
Tom Glover's Baseball Scorebook System
Bob Carpenter's Baseball Scorebook
Play Ball Scorebooks
All Sports Publishing
GameTime Scorebooks
What's The Score Scorebooks
I Love To Score scorebooks
Postscript Baseball Scorecards
Ruf's Carbonized Baseball Score Sheets
Sean Cartell Scorebook Website


PC Software

Official Scorer
Baseball ScoreBook by Fixed It!
Score-It Software
Score It
Asobou's Top Page
SoreCard PC
Baseball Compuscore
TAS For Baseball/Softball
Statscreen Scorecard!!!
Computerized Baseball Scorer (Java)
Youth Sports Talk

PDA Software

Baseball ScoreBook Palm Companion
Scorekeeper for Palm Pilot
ScorePAD for Palm Pilot
SportsPilot System
It's A Hit
Digital Scout


Great Britain Baseball Scorers Association
Easily the best resource on the web for information on baseball scoring. Forums, downloadable scoresheets, tutorials, scorecards from real games, etc.
BaseballScorecard Clubhouse (forum)
Rules of Baseball - 10.00 The Official Scorer