Official scorer

From BR Bullpen

The official scorer is the official arbiter of scoring decisions. The official scorer sits in the press box, views the action, communicates decisions, and keeps the official scorebook (see scoring a game). The scorer is appointed by the league office.

Official scorers were often sportswriters moonlighting in the job, although this is rare today. Their primary responsibility is deciding whether a player reached base as a result of a fielding error or if the batter would have made it to first base regardless of the fielder's actions. The decision whether a pitch is a wild pitch or a passed ball also lies with the official scorer.

The official scorer is also responsible for awarding a win to specific pitcher when the rules dictate that a win needs to be awarded. The scorer also keeps track of games played under protest or games that are suspended. He or she should make a note of the time and situation of the protest or suspension.

At the conclusion of the game, the official scorer is responsible for reporting to the league office the official score report and proving the box score. It is then transmitted to the league office to keep official statistics.

On occasion, an official scorer will ignite controversy during a no-hitter as the decision whether a batted ball is a hit or an error lies with the scorer. One well-known incident occurred in 1968 when Roberto Pena bobbled an easy grounder hit by Jeff Torborg. Scorer Phil Collier scored the ball a hit. The pitcher for the Phillies, Rick Wise, did not give up another hit and lost a no-hitter due to Collier's ruling. In less dramatic circumstances, players will sometimes complain about not being granted a hit; they used to lobby the scorer directly to change the decision, which could lead to tense situations, but there is now a formal appeals process for players unsatisfied by a decision who want to request an objective review.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Paul Casella: "'Beyond my wildest dreams': Women Official Scorers break another barrier: Products of MLB's Official Scorers University become first women to score Opening Day games",, April 21, 2022. [1]
  • Stew Thornley and Bob Tholkes: "From Recorder to Judge: The Evolution of the Scorer in the Nineteenth Century", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 46, Number 2 (Fall 2017), pp. 5-9.
  • Andres Wirkmaa: Baseball Scorekeeping; A Practical Guide to the Rules, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7864-1448-2
  • Andres Wirkmaa: The Complete Baseball Scorekeeping Handbook, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2015. ISBN 978-0-7864-7994-8

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