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The joys of scorekeeping: A personal testimony

Reader shares his journey to becoming an official scorer
February 21, 2023

This story was excerpted from the Ben's Biz Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

This story was excerpted from the Ben's Biz Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

In a recent newsletter, I asked you (yes, you) to answer the following question: “Do you keep score at Minor League Baseball games?”

No one wrote in to say “No,” which leads me to believe that everyone keeps score at Minor League games. That’s great! For now, however, I’d like to highlight the email I received from a reader by the name of Dick Devans.

This is a testimonial to the joys of scorekeeping, but it’s also so much more:

"As a 9-year old lad, it was my dearly departed grandfather who taught me how to score a baseball game using a plain sheet of yellow tablet paper. We would neatly ‘strike’ vertical lines using a wooden ruler and sharpened pencil to create the individual columns for each inning while skipping horizontal lines to enter the lineups and subsequent changes. This was back in 1959 and the early ‘60s, long before games were televised with the frequency they are today, or slightly before I ever attended a game at any level of professional ball. With regularity, my granddad and I would diligently prepare our scoresheets in advance of another game that we planned listening to on the 'Home of Champions [New York Yankees] radio network.'

"Having been blessed to attend over several hundred MLB games during the course of 60-plus years, rarely, if ever, have I not kept a scorecard of each encounter. After Minor League Baseball departed all of northeastern Pennsylvania in the mid-1950s, the opportunity to view any level of pro ball locally wasn’t an option until 1989 when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre became the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate. Although business and/or travel demands limited my attendance to only a half dozen or so games each season between ‘89 and 2006, I became a season-ticket holder in 2007 when the Yankees transferred their Triple-A affiliation to S/WB. From that time forward I have been at most of the games and have an extensive collection of scorecards as validation.

"From about my time as a teenager, the thought of serving as an 'Official Scorer' always intrigued me. Being a lifelong student of the game and its rules, I designed, developed and now print my own custom scorecards for each game. Unbeknownst to me, my resolute interests were being closely observed by members of S/WB’s gameday managerial staff.

"Upon my 2016 retirement from the corporate world, the club subsequently hired me to score the game via (Dak-Stats) data entry. Serving in various booth capacities over my first two years, I finally achieved my ultimate objective. In 2018, I became an International League 'Official Scorer' and now garner a majority of those assignments.

"I truly consider myself most fortunate to be afforded such opportunity. I have only one regret, my granddad isn’t alive to share with me what he once started! Rest in peace, Pop."

Thanks to Dick for sending in such an emotionally resonant piece of correspondence.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.