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A single team plays 162 games in a Major League Baseball season, and that does not count playoffs. Even for die hard fans, it is difficult to tune in to every regular season.
That is why many years ago, baseball created what is called a box score. A box score consists of several numbers that serve as a summary of the game. One of the most important parts of the box score is the R/H/E line.
In baseball, R/H/E stands for Runs/Hits/Errors. It can be found on scoreboards and in box scores and is the standard way to keep track of the total number of runs, hits, and errors each team accumulates in a single game.
Fans who miss their team’s game from the previous day can always check the R/H/E line in the box score to see if their team won or lost and how well they hit and played defense.
How to Read the Box Score
The first nine numbers in a box score are the run totals for each team in each inning played. The visiting team’s totals are listed on top with the home team’s on the bottom. If the game goes into extra innings, then each extra inning played is listed as well.
The R/H/E line is listed after the inning totals. Starting from left to right, each team’s total runs, hits, and errors are listed. Like the innings line, the visiting team is listed on top with the home team on the bottom.
The team with the highest number in the R column is the team that won the game. The H and E columns are there to give fans a snapshot of how each team played on offense and defense.
Of course, a simple box score cannot tell the whole story of a game, but there are a few assumptions that can be made about how each team played when looking at the box score.
If the winning team also has the most hits and fewest errors in the game, it is safe to assume that it dominated all aspects of the game.
If the winning team has fewer hits and more errors than the losing team, one can infer that the losing team’s pitchers walked a fair amount of batters and/or the winning team was simply more efficient in their offensive approach.
If the losing team has a substantially higher hit total than the winning team one must look at the third column. More than likely, the losing team will also have a higher number of errors causing fans to assume that most of the winning team’s runs were unearned.
As mentioned, the R/H/E line cannot tell the whole story, but it can aid fans in deciphering how each team played both offensively and defensively.
Displaying each team’s runs, hits, and error totals dates back to about 1900 when newspapers began printing box scores. Just a few years before that, only the total runs scored was displayed which was followed by adding each team’s error total a few years later.
The goal of a box score is to give fans a general idea of how the game went without actually watching it. This is why each team’s run total for each inning is also recorded in the box score.
Whether or not these stats give fans the full picture is up for debate, but ever since 1900, R/H/E is widely accepted in baseball as the standard for box scores.
Most Runs Ever in a Game
Sometimes you have to look twice at a boxscore to confirm the number that you saw when you first glanced at the score of a game. Fans definitely did a double-take at these scores when reading about them in the paper.
In 2007, the Texas Rangers outscored the Baltimore Orioles 30-3 for the most runs ever scored by one team in a Major League Baseball game. The Rangers were efficient in their offensive outburst tallying 29 hits. The Orioles only committed one error in that game.
The Rangers were actually losing 3-0 after the first three innings before they found their groove in the fourth. It was a tough day to be a pitcher in Baltimore.
The Chicago Colts beat the Louisville Colonels 38-7 in 1887 in a National League game. This happened before the National League and American League merged to create Major League Baseball, so technically, it is not considered an MLB record.
The most total runs by two teams in a single game happened in 1922 when the Chicago Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies 26-23 for an MLB record of 49 total runs. The Phillies actually outhit the Cubs 26-25 that game, and both teams struggled on defense committing four and five errors each.
The Boston Red Sox holds the record for the most runs scored in a single inning when 17 men crossed the plate in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers in 1953.
In the Pre-MLB era, The Chicago White Sox hold the record for most runs in an inning by scoring 18 in the seventh inning against the Detroit Wolverines in 1883.
Most Hits Ever in a Game
The same game between the Phillies and Cubs mentioned earlier as the record for most total runs by two teams in a single game also holds the record for most total hits by two teams in a game. The Phillies, despite losing the game, outhit the Cubs 26-25 for 51 total hits in the game.
The Milwaukee Brewers hold the record for most hits in a modern-day MLB game with 31 in 1992 against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pittsburgh Pirates leadoff hitter and second baseman Rennie Stennett holds the modern-day MLB record in a 9-inning game going 7 for 7 against the Cubs in 1975. Stennett was a home run away from hitting for the cycle that game while also scoring five runs.
Several players are tied for second place with six hits in a single game.
One of the more interesting hits records belongs to both the Cleveland Indians and the New York Mets. Both teams are tied for the Major League record most hits in a game without scoring a run.
In 1913, the Mets recorded 14 hits without one of them crossing the plate. In 1928, the Indians tied that record against the Washington Senators.
Most Errors Ever in a Game
In 1917, the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox combined for nine errors in one game. The White Sox committed six of those errors but still won the game 8-5 after scoring six runs in the seventh and eighth innings thanks to — you guessed it — Giants’ errors.
New York Yankees pitcher Tommy John once committed three errors in one play in 1988 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Major Leaguers are typically so sure-handed that we don’t often see outrageous numbers in the error category on the R/H/E line, but sometimes, even one error can lead to big innings and dramatically change the game.
What are some complaints that fans have about the R/H/E line?
The biggest complaint about the R/H/E line is that it does not tell the whole story of the game. Some fans have argued that the hits category should be replaced by total base runners which would encompass walks and hit-by-pitches into the box score.
Who invented the box score in baseball?
Henry Chadwick is credited with inventing the box score in baseball in 1859. Back then, that was really the only way for fans who could not attend the game to understand the outcome of it. While it is not clear if he invented the R/H/E line or not, he is the man responsible for what we know today as the box score.
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