Baseball Position Numbers: Explaining Baseball Numbers On Field

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(AP Photo/Philip G. Pavely)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy May 14, 2024, 5:35 PM

Lots of people know the rules of baseball. But unless you’re a statistician, junkie, or old-school baseball guru, you may not know the baseball position numbers.

For stat-keeping purposes, every baseball position on the field has a corresponding number. 

Those numbers form a shorthand for scorekeepers, who can easily record something like a groundout to third base or a flyout to right field with just two numbers. 

The baseball position numbers are only important when scoring the defensive side of the ball. They do not come into play when a team is at bat. 

As an example: When a player grounds out to shortstop with no runners on, that play is recorded as 6-3. It doesn’t matter if the batter is an infielder, outfielder, DH, or pinch-hitter – the out is recorded in the stat sheet according to the defensive fielding assignments.

Baseball Position Numbers

Position NumberFielding Position
1Pitcher
2Catcher
3First Base
4Second Base
5Third Base
6Shortstop
7Left Field
8Center Field
9Right Field

Baseball Scorekeeping

Here are a few more common examples of how baseball position numbers might be used by scorekeepers, for added clarity:

  • A routine infield popout to the first baseman would be recorded as P3.
  • A great catch that the center field makes at the wall would be recorded as F8.
  • An infield double-play, where the third baseman throws to the second baseman, who then throws to the first baseman, would be recorded as GDP 5-4-3.
  • A failed attempt at a double-play, where the third baseman throws to second, but the throw to first is not in time, would be recorded as FC (fielder’s choice) 5-4.
  • If a runner were to be thrown out while trying to extend a base hit to right field into a double, that play might be recorded as 1B, 9-6. That’s assuming the shortstop was covering the base, while the second baseman acted as a cutoff man that never actually touched the ball.
  • If the first baseman fielded a ball far from the base, then threw it to the pitcher who ran to cover, the out would be recorded as 3-1. 
  • If the pitcher overthrew first base while trying to field a chopper up the middle, that would be recorded as an error, E1-T. (The T stands for a throwing error, as opposed to a fielding error.)

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.