Baseball statistics questionJune 16, 2007 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Baseball question: Does anyone know why an out counts as 1/10th of an inning instead of 1/3rd of an inning when it comes to representing total Innings Pitched?

Have I phrased that clearly enough? When a pitcher pitches 7 innings, and gets one out in the eight, it goes down as "7.1" innings pitched. Two-thirds of an inning is *.2 -- but why? Why?

And why do we persist on using that inaccurate number for calculating things like ERA? Is it because, in the long run, the decimal point won't matter much?
posted by .kobayashi. to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)

It's just a typographic convention. I think you're reading too much into it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:00 PM on June 16, 2007

Because it's a space-saving box score abbreviation. 7.1 means 7 1/3; it just saves two characters of space.
posted by dw at 4:02 PM on June 16, 2007

Best answer: And Elias and others in the stat biz don't use 7.1 to calculate ERA; they use 7.333....
posted by dw at 4:03 PM on June 16, 2007

Best answer: What's a tenth of an inning anyway?
posted by jerseygirl at 4:04 PM on June 16, 2007

SCDB is right. 7.1 means "7 and one-third"; you'll never see a pitcher with 7.8 IP or other such nonsense, provided you're using a reputable source. ERA is also calculated using thirds of an inning. I assume the reason for .1 and .2 is that it would have been a pain for newspapers to typeset the 1/3 and 2/3 characters in box scores.
posted by SuperNova at 4:04 PM on June 16, 2007

Sorry, SCDB and everyone else...
posted by SuperNova at 4:05 PM on June 16, 2007

Best answer: Others use .3 and .7, e.g. here's King Felix's baseballreference page. It's still calculated as .333 and .667.
posted by dw at 4:06 PM on June 16, 2007

Best answer: In print, it isn't really space-saving, but more readable. I'm one of the editors of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, and we could certainly fit 1/3 or 2/3 in the space we put .1 or .2, but given that our type is already quite small, the fractions would be virtually unreadable.

The problem with .3 and .7 is that no one could ever agree on whether the latter should be .6 or .7.
posted by spira at 4:23 PM on June 16, 2007

The same convention applies for bowling figures in cricket: .1 for each ball of a six-ball over. It's less fiddly than typesetting fractions and less confusing than trying to resolve decimals.
posted by holgate at 6:54 PM on June 16, 2007

So it's really just a Base 3 notation...
posted by misterbrandt at 10:09 AM on June 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

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