crooked number in baseball

What Is a Crooked Number in Baseball?


Baseball often hailed as America’s favorite pastime, is a game rich in tradition, statistics, and quirky terminology. As fans and players alike immerse themselves in the intricacies of the sport, they may come across a phrase that piques their curiosity: “What is a crooked number in baseball?”

This enigmatic expression has sparked numerous discussions and debates among enthusiasts. In this comprehensive guide, we will unravel the mystery behind the term and explore its significance within the realm of America’s beloved game.

What Is a Crooked Number in Baseball?

A crooked number in baseball refers to any digit other than zero (0) appearing in the score column. When a team scores a run in an inning, it adds a number to its scoreline, be it one, two, three, or more. These non-zero digits are considered “crooked” because they deviate from the perfectly straight and symmetrical appearance of the number zero. Crooked numbers are a pivotal element in assessing a team’s performance and tracking the ebb and flow of a game.

Why Are They Called “Crooked Numbers”?

The term “crooked numbers” is an idiomatic expression derived from the irregular shape of non-zero digits compared to the straight, vertical lines of the number zero. This colloquialism adds color and character to the baseball lexicon, capturing the imagination of fans and players alike. Just as the twists and turns of a baseball game can be unpredictable, so too are the crooked numbers that adorn the scoreboard.

The Importance of Crooked Numbers

Crooked numbers hold immense significance within the context of a baseball game. They represent pivotal moments when a team breaks through the opposition’s defense, seizes the momentum, and alters the dynamics of the contest. These runs can demoralize the opposing team, energize the scoring team, and excite the fans, making crooked numbers a catalyst for excitement and game-changing turnarounds.

How Are Crooked Numbers Displayed?

In baseball stadiums across the globe, the scoreboard serves as a visual representation of the game’s progress. When a team score runs in an inning, these crooked numbers are proudly displayed for all to see. Typically, each team’s score is shown vertically, with each inning arranged horizontally. The scorekeeper updates the scoreboard promptly to reflect the latest developments, ensuring fans stay engaged with the game’s evolving narrative.

The structure of a scoreboard displaying crooked numbers may resemble the following:













0 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0



2 0 1 0 1 0 3 0 X


In this hypothetical scenario, Team A has tallied six runs, with crooked numbers displayed in the second (3) and third (2) innings. Team B, on the other hand, boasts a total of seven runs, with crooked numbers appearing in the first (2), third (1), fifth (1), and seventh (3) innings.

The Strategy Behind Crooked Numbers

While scoring runs in baseball is always desirable, teams and coaches often strategize to achieve crooked numbers specifically. The ability to string together hits, capitalize on opposing teams’ mistakes, and execute timely plays can result in multiple runs being scored in a single inning. Generating crooked numbers requires a combination of offensive prowess, situational awareness, and astute base running.

One common strategy to produce crooked numbers is called “small ball”, This approach involves utilizing bunts, sacrifice flies, stolen bases, and hit-and-runs to manufacture runs without relying solely on power hitting. By moving baserunners strategically and creating pressure on the defense, teams can increase their chances of scoring multiple runs in an inning.

Another factor that contributes to crooked numbers is the concept of “clutch hitting.” Certain players possess the ability to perform exceptionally well under pressure, delivering key hits when the team needs them the most. These timely hits often drive in multiple runs, leading to the coveted crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

crooked number in baseball

Examples of Crooked Numbers

Let’s explore a few hypothetical scenarios to illustrate the concept of crooked numbers:

Example 1: A Team’s Explosive Inning

In the first inning, Team C starts the game strong by scoring three runs. In the fourth inning, they strike again, this time with five runs. With crooked numbers appearing in both the first and fourth innings, Team C has demonstrated its offensive prowess and taken a commanding lead.

Example 2: A Comeback Victory

Team D finds themselves trailing by two runs entering the ninth inning. With their backs against the wall, they rally and manage to score three runs, clinching a dramatic comeback victory. The crooked number in the ninth inning proves to be the turning point that propels Team D to triumph.

These examples showcase the impact and significance of crooked numbers in determining the outcome of a game. They can signify dominance, resilience, momentum swings, and memorable comebacks.

Common FAQs About Crooked Numbers

What is the significance of crooked numbers in baseball?

Crooked numbers signify moments of offensive success and momentum shifts within a baseball game. They represent runs scored by a team in an inning, deviating from the straight zero that dominates the score column.

Are crooked numbers exclusive to baseball?

The term “crooked numbers” is primarily used in the context of baseball. However, variations of the term may exist in other sports to describe similar scoring patterns.

Can a team have negative crooked numbers?

No, crooked numbers are always positive. They denote the runs scored by a team in an inning and are never expressed as negative values.

Do crooked numbers affect a team’s winning percentage?

Crooked numbers themselves do not directly impact a team’s winning percentage. However, the ability to consistently score multiple runs in an inning often correlates with a team’s offensive prowess and can contribute to overall success.

Are crooked numbers more common in certain innings?

Crooked numbers can occur in any inning of a baseball game. However, teams often aim to generate them in the early innings to establish an advantage or during crucial moments to mount comebacks.

Has the concept of crooked numbers changed over time?

The concept of crooked numbers has remained consistent throughout baseball’s history. However, the strategies employed to achieve them may have evolved as the game itself has evolved.


In the world of baseball, a crooked number represents far more than a mere digit on a scoreboard. It symbolizes a team’s offensive prowess, the excitement of a game-changing moment, and the ebb and flow of competition. From explosive innings to unforgettable comebacks, crooked numbers are etched into the fabric of America’s beloved pastime.

So, the next time you catch a glimpse of those irregular digits, remember the significance they hold and appreciate the artistry of a game that thrives on the unpredictability of crooked numbers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *