The Complete Baseball Scorekeeping Handbook
Revised and Updated Edition
By Andres Wirkmaa
$29.95; 256 pages;
Review by Rodney Johnson
The evolving art of keeping score is as old as baseball itself. It is no surprise that SABR member Andres Wirkmaa’s take on scorekeeping has evolved as well. His first book about scoring, Baseball Scorekeeping: A Practical Guide to the Rules, was published in 2003. Four years later, MLB revised a number of the rules resulting in an updated version by Wirkmaa with a new title; The Complete Baseball Scorekeeping Handbook. In 2015 MLB was at it again with yet another revision. Wirkmaa was up to the task of keeping his book current with this revised and updated edition. Like the rules themselves, Wirkmaa’s approach has evolved to reflect his experience in answering questions about his previous efforts and explaining the art and science of keeping score. Even readers with one of the previous editions will find the update valuable as both a study and a ready reference to scoring a baseball game.
The odds are that if you go to any baseball game at any level, you can look around the stands and see one or more people keeping a scorebook. I dare say this isn’t true with any other sport. The simplicity and ease of keeping score can help put every fan right in the action and help to provide a greater understanding, appreciation and enjoyment for the game. While the basics of keeping a scorebook are relatively simple, the layers of complexity can go quite deep. It is up to the scorer determine how far they want to delve into the world of scoring. It is fair to say that the more you know and the more you understand, the more you will appreciate both the game and the art of keeping score. Wirkmaa does an impressive job of pealing back the layers of scoring, rule by rule.
For the experienced scorer, The Complete Baseball Scorekeeping Handbook offers a handy reference while offering an invaluable tool. For those new to the art, Wirkamma provides a better understanding of the rules and how to apply them, whether it is to learn to score a game or just to add to enjoyment to watching one.
Wirkmaa goes through the rules one by one, offering easy to read interpretations and descriptions of each. While some experienced scorers will find the explanations a bit simplistic, new scorers will appreciate that they are written in an understandable, complete fashion. Whether using the book for review or as a first experience to the rules, three is plenty to be gained for either reader. This is the best “how to” book about scoring that I have seen.
The Complete Baseball Scorekeeping Handbook is available from McFarland Publishers at www.mcfarlandpub.com and by phone at 800-523-2187.
About the reviewer:
Rodney Johnson is the president of the Arizona Flame Delhi Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research and a former board member of the organization. He served on the Sporting News/SABR Research Awards committee for three years. He has been a Major League Official Scorer since 2001 and is the Coordinator of Official Scorers for the Arizona League (rookie classification).