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Why is a 'K' used for a strikeout in baseball?


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Answered 2012-10-23 15:38:04

The use of the last letter of Struck instead of the first to denote a strikeout dates back to when Henry Chadwick developed the box score in the late 1850's. Chadwick often used the last letter instead of the first, especially if he considered that letter to be the more prominent one in the word. Chadwick said "the letter K in struck is easier to remember in connection with the word, than S." He also used L for Foul and D for Catch on Bound. Only the K survived into the 20th Century. Source: Paul Dickson's The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary and Alan Schwarz's The Numbers Game. The common view that the K was used because the S was taken (by Sacrifice, Stolen Base, or Single) appears to be erroneous.

Other answers from the community:

  • 'K' was chosen to represent Struck, because S was already taken to mean Stolen base. The K and S are both still used today.
  • 'K' is a Strike
  • The symbol "K" is used because it is made with 3 strokes of the pencil, symbolizing the 3 strikes for the strikeout. Scorekeepers use a backward K (or a KL, or Kc) when a batter strikes out looking/called 3rd strike.
  • K stands for 'struck'. Back in the old days, scorekeepers used letters for symbols, K is the only one that we still use today.
  • Fyi, to help keep things clear in record keeping, a backwards k is used if the player struck out looking.
  • I always thought that K was short for K.O. like knock out.
  • Back in the day, score keeping was done entirely with letters, no numbers (Double was D, not 2B). When "strikeout" became an official statistic, "K" was the first letter not already being used (S- Single, T- Triple, R-Run, I-Inning, then K) So K became strikeout, and it was one of the few from that era that actually stuck.
  • We owe the "K" to an early sportswriter named Henry Chadwick. In fact, Chadwick and another writer named M.J. Kelly are largely responsible for the scoring system baseball uses today. Chadwick already had "S" slated for "sacrifice." So a strikeout became a "K", after the last letter of the word "struck." The reason a strikeout isn't a "T" is because "struck" was the preferred term of the day.
  • The symbol "K" in baseball scorecards represents "Strikeout." Why? Well, baseball pioneer Henry Chadwick, the NY Herald's first baseball editor, first used the symbol in 1868. As far as he was concerned, the letter "K" was the "prominent letter of the word strike," adding that "the letter K in struck is easier to remember, than S."
  • While the above answer may have some basis in fact, there is another explanation. There are two ways to strike out. (In fact, there are two ways in which a player can strike out, and reach first base safely, if the third strike is not caught in the air by the catcher. How do you score that? I'm not telling. ;-)) A player can strike out swinging, or be called out on strikes. To make the distinction, the letters SOS and KOS are used. Try to shorten it. KS? COS? CS? It is an important statistic to the manager, that wants to know who will let the third strike go by, and who will swing. A "K" merely denotes a generic strikeout.
  • This might be a myth but I was taught it was a simple way of counting strikes. First strike, line one "|" second strike line two "/", third strike line three "". That makes your K. The reverse or "backwards" K indicates the third strike was a called strike.
  • I think it might be short for K.O. or knock/strike out. sort of a link to boxing.
  • A "k" means a strike out but you can be more specific than that. if it is forwards than that means that they struck out swinging if it is backwards it means that they didn't swing at the third strike
See Related LinksSee the Related Link to the left for "The Dugout Review of The Joy of Keeping Score."
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Related Questions

Why is the K reversed in baseball?

A K in baseball is shorthand for a strikeout.


Why is a strike called a K in baseball?

It is a reference to how it is kept in the scorebook. A K is a strikeout. A backwards K is a strikeout looking.


What does k stand for in a baseball box score?

k stands for strikeout looking K stands for strikeout swinging


What is a ''K'' in baseball history?

A Strikeout


What does k stand for in baseball?

strikeout


Why is the k used on the score card instead of a x?

If you mean in baseball, K is for strikeout, from the letter in the word.


In baseball what does SO stand for?

shut out Its a Strikeout SO - Strikeout, SHO - Shutout K - Strikeout, SO - Shut out


In baseball what does a backward k stand for?

It means strikeout looking as opposed to strikeout swinging.


What is a K in baseball?

A 'K' is a strikeout where the batter swung and missed at the third strike. A 'k' is a strikeout where the batter took a called third strike.


Letter K in baseball?

K represents a strikeout for a pitcher, or by the hitter.


In baseball stats what is a backword k stand for?

strikeout


What does K(I) stand for in baseball statistics?

Strikeout


Why does a 'K' stand for strike in baseball?

because the word ''strikeout"does not fit on a scorecard.symbols are used for all baseball notation when scoring a game.


What is the reason in baseball to hang the letter K after a player does what?

Generally Speaking, baseball fans display a small sign at a ball park when the pitcher they are routing for makes a strikeout. The K stands for strikeout.


I know that the forward K when scoring baseball means strikeout swinging and backward K means strikeout looking but what does the hollow outlined K mean?

It signifies a new pitcher's strike out.


What do the different colors of k mean in baseball?

No balls called in that strikeout


What does the K stand for in softball?

A 'K' is a strikeout where the batter swung at strike three. A 'k' is a strikeout where the batter did not swing at strike three.


Why is a 'Kc' used for a strikeout in baseball when looking ...why is looking a c?

Because all strike outs are prefixed with a "K"


What is the difference between a k and a backwards k in baseball?

a K is a strikeout where the batter swings at the third strike. a backwards K strike is where the batter is called out without swinging at the third strike


What does K mean for pitchers in baseball?

K = strikeout. You might hear an announcer say that a pitcher that struckout 8 batters in a game had 8 Ks.


Is a strikeout looking k bacwards or forwards?

Looking is backwards. A looking strikeout is subjective to the home plate umpire that night. A swinging strikeout is objective. No doubt that he missed on that third strike; that's a K. K=swinging forward. Backwards K=looking backwards at the umpire and being K'ed


What does pit ko mean in baseball stats?

relief (Pit)cher strike outs I have never seen KO used in baseball. K is typically used for pitching stats meaning Strikeout. KO is an abbreviation used in boxing meaning Knock out


What is KC in softball?

KC stands for Called Strikeout in softball and baseball. It can also be marked as a backwards K on the score sheet.


What is a strikeout in Baseball?

A strikeout is when you either miss the ball or if you swing during a ball.


What means strikeout on a pitchers card?

its usually k