The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

"K" is for Ks in Baseball (#AtoZChallenge)

Today's Letter of the Day for the Bloggers A to Z Challenge is the letter "K" and, as a baseball fan, that means a STRIKE OUT.

I have always been curious about why baseball score keepers use the letter K to designate a batter striking out.  With a little research, here is the history of "K" and how Major League Baseball defines a "K":

"A "K" is a strikeout.  Origin:  Referring to a strikeout as a K goes all the way back to the mid-19th century -- when journalist Henry Chadwick began developing baseball's first scorecard. His original system used only single letters, and Chadwick couldn't use "S" for "struck" (the preferred term of the time period) because it had already been taken by "sacrifice." So instead, he decided to go with what he thought was the word's most memorable sound: the letter K". 


True baseball fans appreciate all the details kept on the "official scorecard". Baseball is a game where knowing statistical data enhances the baseball game experience. As for keeping track of strike outs there is actually a lot to learn. 

When it comes to keeping up with the in-game strike outs, the stadiums are doing their part.  I am a Giants "Gamer Babe", a devoted Facebook fan of the San Francisco Giants, and if I am at AT&T Park I can not only see the electronic scoreboards with game stats, pitch counts, and pitch speeds, I can also look at the wall in right field to see how many strikeouts the Giant's pitcher has thrown.  

This is a photo of what I call the "K Wall".  The fans that sit above each letter sign takes responsibility for keeping the strikeout count up-to-date.  They flip over pre-hung blank signs to show whether the strikeout was a "swinging strike" represented by a FORWARD K or a "called strike" displayed as a BACKWARD K. Thanks to a fellow "Gamer Babe" for sharing this photo from last season when Madison Bumgarner threw an outstanding 10-strikeout game.  [*corrected from original posting]

Madison Bumgarner threw 10 strike outs in one game last season

Sample blank baseball score card


Baseball fans know that there is a whole world of statistics and jargon that goes with the game. The source of this data comes from each official game score card and the formal Rules of Baseball define the process of keeping score. Here is a link to the "Offical Rules of Scoring".  

Scorecards can come in different shapes and sizes but they use a universal language of symbols to represent every action of a game.  

Scorekeeper's code used to assign what happens on the field

This is a sample scorecard from a MLB game between the Cleveland Indians and the Seattle Mariners. Notice the use of the letter K.  Did you catch the BACKWARD K?  

The "normal" forward facing K represents a "swinging strike out" while the "backward K" (hard to type that on a computer) indicates that the batter was called out on strikes by the umpire.  A positive statistic for the pitcher!

During a game the broadcast announcers keep us up-to-date on a myriad of statistics from individual batting percentages, batter to pitcher histories, scouting reports, home run to fly ball ratios (HR/FB) and much more. All of this comes from the entries on the official scorecard.   The MLB glossary website can help you learn the vocabulary.


There are lots of resources in print and online to learn how to keep an official baseball game score. Click here to see links for paper and electronic resources.  You can even find a YouTube series of videos to help you learn.  From Little League to Major League Baseball, keeping score will keep you involved in the game.  

Hope you learned something about the shorthand symbols used on baseball score cards and how the letter "K" means something different in how it is posted.




Emily Bloomquist said...

Great explanations, Judy. I am also a SF Giants fan. We listen to Jon and Dave every game from Ecuador. The Giants are the reason I joined Twitter way back when - so I could follow the beat writers.

Emily | My Life In Ecuador

Judy Rinehimer said...

Go to the SF GAMER BABES page on Facebook. Only positive postings are allowed. They just added their 7,000 member.

Jan Mains said...

Thanks for the explanation. Needless to say, I'm a Diamondback fan.

Judy Rinehimer said...

Go to the SF GAMER BABES page on Facebook. Only positive postings are allowed. They just added their 7,000 member.

Donna B. McNicol said...

More than I ever wanted to know about baseball...LOL! Not a sports fan, but great post!

L: Las Vegas & Leesburg
DB McNicol, author & traveler
Theme: Oh, the places we will go!

Marna said...

Good work,Judy! I didn't know the signifigance of the backward K until now. Thanks for the education.
What fun to participate in a blog like this.