What Does My Baseball Coach Mean by a Crooked Number?

What are Crooked Numbers?

Crooked numbers in baseball refer to innings where a team scores more than one run. The term "crooked" comes from the numerical shape of scores that are not single digits (1, 2, 3, etc.). Crooked numbers are significant because they can dramatically impact the outcome of a game. A team scoring multiple runs in an inning not only increases their overall score but also puts pressure on the opposing team. It can create a shift in momentum and demoralize the pitching side. Understanding crooked numbers is crucial for both fans and players as it provides insight into the dynamics of a game and enables better analysis of a team's offensive capabilities.

Types of Crooked Numbers

There are different types of crooked numbers in baseball. The most basic form is a single-digit crooked number, which represents an inning where a team scores exactly one run. While not as impactful as higher crooked numbers, even a single-run inning can influence the dynamics of a game. On the other hand, double-digit crooked numbers refer to innings where a team scores two or more runs. These multi-run innings often play a significant role in creating momentum shifts and putting pressure on the opposing team's defense and pitching staff. Lastly, grand crooked numbers are particularly exciting and rare, representing explosive innings where a team scores a large number of runs, usually at least five or more. These grand crooked numbers can be game-changers, dictating the overall direction of the match and boosting a team's confidence through an offensive explosion.

Strategies to Achieve Crooked Numbers

There are various offensive strategies that teams employ to achieve crooked numbers in their innings. One effective strategy is aggressive baserunning and stealing. By putting pressure on the opposing team's defense with smart baserunning, such as stealing bases and taking extra bases whenever possible, teams can create scoring opportunities and increase the chances of scoring multiple runs in an inning.

Another key strategy is hitting for power and focusing on extra-base hits. Home runs, triples, and doubles are powerful offensive weapons that can quickly lead to crooked numbers on the scoreboard. Teams with strong power hitters who can drive the ball deep and get extra bases increase their likelihood of scoring multiple runs in an inning.

Capitalizing on opponent's mistakes and errors is another strategy to achieve crooked numbers. Taking advantage of defensive errors, walks, and hit-by-pitches can extend innings and give teams more opportunities to score multiple runs. By being patient and making the most of the opponent's miscues, teams can significantly increase their chances of posting crooked numbers.

In addition, consistent offensive output throughout the game is crucial for achieving crooked numbers. Teams need to maintain a high level of focus and intensity in every inning to maximize their scoring potential. By stringing together quality at-bats and consistently putting runners on base, teams can create sustained offensive threats that often result in crooked numbers.

The Psychological Effects of Crooked Numbers

Crooked numbers not only impact the physical aspects of the game but also have significant psychological effects on players and teams. For pitchers, giving up crooked numbers can be demoralizing. It can lead to self-doubt, loss of confidence, and difficulty regaining momentum. The pressure of preventing further runs can sometimes cause pitchers to make mistakes, resulting in even more significant crooked numbers.

Conversely, for the team scoring crooked numbers, these innings can provide a significant boost in morale and confidence. Posting multiple runs in an inning energizes the entire team, creating a positive atmosphere and a sense of dominance over the opposition. This newfound confidence often translates into improved performance across all aspects of the game, including pitching and defense.

Dealing with crooked numbers requires mental resilience and the ability to bounce back from adversity. Teams that can overcome the psychological impact of giving up crooked numbers and respond with their own offensive outbursts have a better chance of regaining control of the game and securing victory.

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Famous Crooked Number Games and Records

Throughout baseball history, there have been numerous memorable games featuring crooked numbers. One notable example is the famous "Ten Run Inning" game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago Cubs in 1979. The Phillies scored ten runs in the first inning, setting a record for the most runs scored in a single inning in National League history. This game exemplifies the impact and excitement that crooked numbers can bring to a contest.

Additionally, certain records highlight the highest and lowest crooked numbers ever recorded in baseball. The highest crooked number in a single inning belongs to the Texas Rangers, who scored 30 runs in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles in 2007. Conversely, the lowest crooked number occurred during a game between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Browns in 1906, where the Red Sox scored -4 runs in the first inning due to an obscure scoring rule. These records further illustrate the extremes that crooked numbers can reach, showcasing the potential for both historic offensive explosions and peculiar outcomes.


Crooked numbers play a significant role in baseball, influencing games' outcomes through the scoring of multiple runs in an inning. Understanding crooked numbers and their impact is essential for fans and players alike. By recognizing the different types of crooked numbers and the strategies to achieve them, teams can enhance their offensive capabilities and create game-defining moments.

The psychological effects of crooked numbers cannot be overlooked, as they can greatly impact a game's dynamics. For pitchers, preventing crooked numbers requires mental toughness and composure, while for the team scoring crooked numbers, it boosts morale and confidence. Overcoming adversity and responding to crooked numbers in a resilient manner are key to success in the game of baseball.

Crooked numbers have been etched into baseball's history through famous games and records. From exhilarating offensive explosions to peculiar scoring circumstances, these moments showcase the excitement and unpredictability that crooked numbers bring to the sport.

So, the next time you hear about a crooked number, remember its significance—both as a scoring phenomenon and a psychological catalyst—and appreciate the game's complexity and excitement that it brings.