What is a Crooked Number in Baseball

What is a Crooked Number in Baseball?

Baseball isn’t just a game; it’s a language of its own. For the casual fan or the newcomer, the terms tossed around the diamond might sound like a foreign tongue. Yet, it’s this rich jargon that captures the tradition and the intricate beauty of America’s pastime.

From “no-hitters” to “grand slams,” the baseball lexicon is as colorful as the teams that grace the field.

Among these many terms is the “crooked number,” a phrase that’s as quirky as it sounds. It’s not just a term; it’s a tale of strategy, competition, and the relentless pursuit of victory that defines the spirit of baseball.

In this article, we’ll explain what a crooked number is, how it’s woven into the fabric of the game, and why it holds a special place in the hearts of baseball enthusiasts.

What Exactly is a Crooked Number?

In baseball vernacular, a crooked number refers to any number other than zero or one that appears on the scoreboard in an inning. In simpler terms, it’s when a team scores two or more runs in an inning.

While a “1” is considered a “straight number” due to its upright appearance, any other number is “crooked” given its irregular shape. So, whenever you hear someone mentioning a crooked number, they are talking about an inning where a team scored multiple runs.

Tracing the Origins

The term “crooked number” has a humble yet unclear origin. It’s believed to have been coined by players or commentators who noticed the visual difference between the straight “1” and the other, more irregular numbers on the old manual scoreboards.

Over time, it has seeped into baseball lingo, symbolizing more than just a number, but a turning point in the game where a team can shift the momentum in their favor. Although its exact origin might be as elusive as a perfect game, the term has found its home in the language of baseball, adding a layer of charm to the narrative of the game.

Significance of Crooked Numbers in a Game

Strategic Importance

Scoring in baseball is like a chess match, where every move can significantly impact the game’s outcome. When a team puts up a crooked number, it’s making a bold statement. It means they’ve found a way to crack the opponent’s defense and are capitalizing on it.

Crooked numbers can change the course of the game, giving a substantial lead or helping a team catch up from behind. They often come from a series of well-executed plays, showcasing a team’s offensive prowess.

Psychological Impact

Baseball is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. When a crooked number appears on the board, it can boost the morale of the scoring team while deflating the spirits of the opposition.

This shift in momentum can be palpable, affecting the performance and strategies of both teams. The hope of adding more crooked numbers or the fear of seeing them against can linger, making every pitch, hit, and catch all the more crucial.

Common Strategies to Achieve Crooked Numbers

Offensive Strategies

Putting up crooked numbers requires a blend of skill, strategy, and sometimes a dash of luck. Teams often employ aggressive offensive strategies to achieve this.

This might include stacking the lineup with power hitters, aggressive base running, or exploiting weaknesses in the opponent’s defense. The aim is to create scoring opportunities and capitalize on them, causing a ripple of runs that culminate in a crooked number on the scoreboard.

Key Players

In the quest for crooked numbers, certain players often step into the spotlight. Whether it’s the slugger whose home run clears the bases or the savvy base runner who creates scoring opportunities, these key players are instrumental in achieving those desired crooked numbers.

Their ability to perform under pressure, to seize the moment and to ignite the crowd, reflects the essence of what makes baseball a thrilling spectacle. Through their contributions, the dream of posting crooked numbers, and inching closer to victory, becomes a reality on the baseball diamond.


The concept of crooked numbers embodies the fusion of strategy, skill, and the unpredictable nature of baseball. Through every inning, the anticipation of seeing a crooked number on the scoreboard adds a layer of excitement to the already enthralling game.

As we delve into the peculiar lingo of baseball, we discover more than just terms; we uncover stories, strategies, and the enduring allure of a game loved by many. The term “crooked number” is a testament to baseball’s rich narrative, a quirky yet profound aspect of America’s pastime that continues to captivate the hearts of players and fans alike.

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