August 17, 2010

Box Scores

The baseball box score is the pithiest form of written communication in America today. It is abbreviated history. It is two or three hours (the box score even gives that item to the minute) of complex activity, virtually inscribed on the head of a pin, yet no knowing reader suffers from eyestrain.
Fred Schwed, Jr., How to Watch a Baseball Game (1957)
For 20 years, Tim Kurkjian clipped every box score of every baseball game and taped it into a spiral notebook.

He recalls one night back in 2002:
I went to bed at 11 o'clock, realized in horror I had forgotten to do my box score book, got dressed, clipped and taped my box scores, then lay down for a restful six hours of sleep as my wife looked at me and wondered how she could have married such an unfathomable geek.
Kurkjian mentions a few neat batting lines -- Ben Petrick's 3-0-0-4, for example -- and points out that on July 28 of this year, the Red Sox, for the first time in team history, had home runs hit by their first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, and third baseman in the same game.

I have had a few similar projects (naturally!). After keeping Red Sox box scores in a small blank book in 2003, I expanded the idea for 2004, adding hand-written comments every day and news from other teams, SoSH posts, jpgs of Boston and New York tabloid pages, etc.


laura k said...

I always like Tim Kurkjian. Now I see why - he reminds me of you!

tim said...

But the box score doesn't tell me about how much grit and the overall scrappiness of players like David Eckstein, so therefore, its useless to me.

As long as I see which pitcher got the W, that's all that matters to me.

OT: HAHAHAHA - suck it, scalpers.

Gareth said...

Nice piece - from you and from Kurkjian! His Abbott-Castillo comparison reminded me of this box from 2005, with a nice succession of Blue Jays pitchers.

allan said...

I *knew* the first two pitchers would be those guys!

Gareth said...

Hehe, I remember laughing at the radio broadcast and imagining the box score!

Michael Holloway said...

Ha ha.

I'm going to scour the box score for something similar some day.

Very good! Made me laugh.