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What Is a Crooked Number In Baseball?

In an ideal world, baseball teams are looking to put up a crooked number every single inning. To an outsider, that phrase might make little to no sense, but baseball players have been using it for years.

What Is a Crooked Number In Baseball? A crooked number in baseball is any number that isn’t zero or one. Ideally, a team on offense is looking to score at least two runs or more to have a big inning. Even though it’s rarely done even three or more times in a game, more crooked numbers generally mean there’s a high percentage chance of winning.

The Origin of Hanging a Crooked Number

Manual scoreboards in baseball have slots to put up how many runs are scored in every single inning. After an inning is complete, the scoreboard operator would hang up the total number. That’s when the saying originated, as they had to “hang up a crooked number.”

These days, manual scoreboards provide nostalgia only at some ballparks. There are also digital options for people to check out that are updated in near real-time. Hanging a crooked number doesn’t make as much sense as putting up a crooked number in an inning.

What is a Picket Fence?

In baseball terms, a picket fence is not as common as the crooked number saying. However, it’s when a team has two or more consecutive innings when they score exactly one run. The 1s start to look a lot like a picket fence when they are listed in a row.

How Often do MLB Teams Put Up at Least One Run in All Nine Innings?

One of the rarest events in all of baseball is finding a team scoring at least one run in every inning. It’s only happened when a team batted in all nine innings twice since 1900. The New York Giants did it in 1923, while the St. Louis Cardinals did it in 1964. They were the visiting team in both cases, which is why they had nine innings to hit.

It’s happened a total of 20 times when counting teams that only had eight innings to hit in. Most recently, the Chicago White Sox did it in 2016. Given the rarity of this even when counting one-run innings, it goes without saying that no baseball team in MLB history has ever put up a crooked number in every inning of a game.

What’s the Average Number of Innings a Baseball Team Scores Runs In?

change lucky to have one inning a game putting up a crooked number. Runs per game are down across baseball, as any team getting five runs or more is considered well above average.

Having two innings or more crooked numbers is a great day at the plate for an MLB team.

Does a Team with the Most Crooked Numbers Win?

Almost always, the team that puts up the more crooked numbers will end up winning. However, if a team has a great inning, they can accumulate a lot of runs without doing much else the rest of the game.

What is the Highest Scoring Inning in a Baseball Game?

The inning with the highest chances of a crooked number throughout history has been the first inning. A lot of factors play into why this happens to be the case.

For starters, it is the one inning with a guarantee that both lineups will have their best hitters come to the plate. Generally speaking, the first, second, and third hitters in a typical lineup are the three best. If any of those people get on, the fourth batter is a power hitter in most cases who will have the chance to drive in runs.

Starting pitchers might be fresh, but some haven’t settled into the game just yet. As they try to find their footing, hitters can pounce on some early action and score some runs.

Finally, if it’s a night game, the ball usually travels a little bit better when the sun is still out and the air is light. Most baseball games start locally at 7 PM if it’s a night game. What ends up being just a fly out late at night is a home run early in the game.

What’s the Largest Crooked Number Put Up in an Inning by an MLB Team?

Way back in 1883, the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs) scored 18 runs in an inning against the Detroit Wolverines. Baseball looked much different in those days, and the Detroit Wolverines are long gone and mostly forgotten about.

Three players finished the inning with three hits. Tom Burns finished with two doubles and a home run himself.

The modern-day record is 17 runs by the Boston Red Sox against the Detroit Tigers in 1953. In the seventh inning of a regular-season game in June, the Red Sox finished the inning with 11 singles, five walks, two doubles, and a home run.

Gene Stephens is the only player in modern MLB history to have three hits in one inning.

Why Offenses Hunt For Crooked Numbers

Crooked numbers are always going to lead to baseball success. Offense is necessary to compete, and getting a big inning can sway a game by itself. The easiest way to put up a crooked number is to hit a home run with people on base, but there are always ways for the entire lineup to contribute.

The official hanging up of a crooked number might not exist much in today’s world, but the concept is the same. Calling a number greater than one a crooked number is just another saying in baseball terminology that has stuck around for quite some time.