From Recorder to Judge: The Evolution of the Scorer in the Nineteenth Century

By Stew Thornley and Bob Tholkes

This article was published in the Fall 2017 Baseball Research Journal.

The role of official scorers has evolved in many forms over the last century-and-a-half. Today’s official scorers sit in the hot seat, but until the 1870s, hits and errors were not routinely distinguished in game summaries. Official scorers in baseball make judgments about the game — whether a play is a hit or an error — that influence individual statistics. This gives the official scorer more prominence in baseball than in other sports. The pay is greater, the attention more penetrating, the controversy often intense. Today’s official scorers sit . . .

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