Baseball Stats (What do they mean?)

Okay, it’s coming back to me. Someone who bats .500 hits the ball and gets on base half the time. Babe Ruth has a lifetime batting average of .355 (I know this, because I saw City Slickers). So he got on base 35.5% of the time. Why don’t they just say he has a batting average of 35.5%? Anyway, when a team finishes below .500, does that mean they lost more than half their games?

And can someone explain how they came up with a pitcher’s ERA? How does that make any sense? And what does ERA mean?

(These thoughts are brought to you via J-Walk’s Blog.)

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at

6 Replies to “Baseball Stats (What do they mean?)”

  1. On the percentages, you got their meanings right. I think it’s just easier to say “His batting average was three fifty five,” instead of “His batting average was thirty five point five percent.”

    As far as ERA, I have no idea what it means. I thought it was “Earned Runs Against,” but apparently it means “Earned Runs Average.”

    I prefer soccer.

  2. Ever watch a soccer game on an American Channel? Jesus, I didn’t know there were so many stats in the friggin game.

    I like listening to the English guys do the games except when Greece plays. The guys that did Euro 2004 almost cried when Greece beat the Czech Republic in the sudden death semi-finals.


  3. ERA = Earned Run Average

    (Earned Runs Allowed / Innings Pitched) x 9 (the number of innings in a game)

    The average earned runs the pitcher allows every game (if he were to throw a complete game)

  4. “earned run” means a run that was the pitcher’s fault. any player that got on base OR scored because of an error by one of the other players on his team don’t count against the pitcher’s earned run numbers.

  5. So if a batter gets on base by walking or hitting a single, a double, a triple, or a home run, it’s the pitcher’s fault, and the pitcher gets one “earned run allowed”?

    If a batter gets on base (or scores) because the catcher fumbled the ball (for example), then it’s not the pitcher’s fault, and nothing happens to his stats.

    And there’s no difference between a run and a non-scoring run?

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