Baseball Positions by Number

Baseball position chart.  Did you ever wonder “What is a 6-4-3 double play”? Or the what the “3-4 hole” refers to? This article clarifies that sometimes mysterious baseball lingo with a diagram and descriptions of the baseball positions by number.

Which positions are represented by which numbers? Did you ever wonder “What do the numbers before a double or triple play mean?” or “What is a 6-4-3 double play”? Or the what the “3-4 hole” refers to?

There are nine numbered positions on a baseball field. The numbers are most typically used, rather than writing the player’s name or the name of the position, when keeping a scorecard.  Here is the list of baseball positions by number:

Baseball Positions by Number

baseball positions by number; what are the numbered baseball positions

1. Pitcher (P)
2. Catcher (C)
3. 1st Base (1B)
4. 2nd Base (2B)
5. 3rd Base (3B)
6. Shortstop (SS)
7. Left Field (LF)
8. Center Field (CF)
9. Right Field (RF)

So, as an example, a 6 4 3 double play means the shortstop fielded the ball and threw it to the second baseman, who turned the double play by throwing it to first base.

I have been shocked to find how many charts in so-called baseball reference works get this wrong.

Just the other day, I was reading a baseball book in Barnes N Noble, and was surprised that the numbers for 2nd base and shortstop were mixed up. “This must be a typo,” I thought at first, but the mistake was repeated throughout the entire book.

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About Author

Avatar für Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies


  1. Avatar für Scott

    Baseball reference has Cap Anson listed as playing position “0” What could that be? Something they did in 1800’s?

  2. Avatar für Jack Ducan
    Jack Ducan on

    Shortstops stand between the second-base bag and the third baseman, you have to look for it in case you need the captain of the infield.

  3. Avatar für Tom Brian

    Shortstops make up to 25% of all errors in baseball games, according to experts, making them the position that makes the most mistakes. The second and third basemen are, respectively, second and third in terms of error probability.

  4. Avatar für Toby

    When the shift is on, say the third baseman is covering second base….ground ball hit to the second baseman who throws the ball to the third baseman who is covering second base…is it still 4-5 on second … how is it written in the book?

  5. Avatar für Markos

    Scorecards, sure. But since when do announcers use these numbers?? I’ve played, ump’d, watched… baseball for years… but years ago. I’ve been away for a while, but when I started watching again, EVERYBODY is saying “And there you have a 6-4-3 double play!” It’s completely new to me (to call it out like that). When did this start?

    • Avatar für Jake Rumboldt

      Don’t get me wrong, I am obsessed with baseball and had to look this up because I never knew what those numbers meant! Tbh I have heard them call the positions by number for SO long

    • Avatar für Keith Jenkins
      Keith Jenkins on

      Been watching and listening to baseball for 58 of my 68 years, and I’ve always heard the announcers (at least the knowledgeable ones) use these number to score plays. Probably more common on radio than TV, for obvious reasons.

  6. Avatar für Chad

    Solid info, but I can’t help but notice that in the same paragraph where you mention the mistake in the book, you also mistakenly refer to Barnes & Noble as ‘Barnes N Noble.’
    Otherwise keep up the good work!

      • Avatar für Aaron Dilks

        Was really never into baseball so I could be completely wrong motorcycles and hockey had me I wound up reading this post because I did not know that the 5 hole was also associated with baseball but I again could be completely wrong but looking at the field chart I don’t see why a 985 would not be possible pop fly to right field and the center fielder drops in to try and thrown out at third in my head is absolutely reasonable

    • Avatar für Annetta

      On a corner catch, it is called hitti g the cut-off man. Not usually used in upper levels of baseball, mostly in little League for kids who don’t have a strong throwing arm yet.

  7. Avatar für Jack Valencia
    Jack Valencia on

    How do you score a put on out when the third baseman makes the play in an infield shift situation, where he is actually playing second base position and then there is a ground out, is it scored 4 to 3 or scored 5 to 3 for the put out?

    • Avatar für Frederick DeHaan
      Frederick DeHaan on

      As a former bookkeeper my opinion is that is scored as 4-3. Whether the 3rd baseman or shortstop makes the throw his “shift position” placement at second base makes it a 4-3 put out.

      • Avatar für Doug Bernier

        The official score is by position not by “shift position”. So even if the 3rd baseman is standing in the outfield between the 1st and 2nd baseman and he fields the ground ball and throws out the runner at first base, the play is scored 5-3.

        • Avatar für Andrew Miller

          So does this mean that if the manger, Lou Costello, designates in his lineup that Who is the first baseman, What is his 2nd baseman, and that I dont’ know is his 3rd baseman that he can start them ANYWHERE ON THE FIELD that he wants to and still call them as positions 3, 4, and 5?

  8. Avatar für Ángel Geldhof

    We are a small baseball and softball association in southern Spain, in Europe. Although we’re playing baseball for 75 years this year, we need as much knowledge basics we can find to improve our level in playing and watching baseball. As we find very interesting your articles and we think they may be useful to us, do you mind if we translate some of them into Spanish and use them on our website? Of course, all rights of the translations would be yours.

  9. Avatar für Koratta Campese
    Koratta Campese on

    Is it appropriate to use baseball positions by number when practicing or in game play as apposed to saying watch the runner on first, or “throw to second then go for the out at first”

    Would it be more appropriate to say to the team ” try and go for the 4 -3 double”

    One coach said you never use the 1 -9 numbering designations when coaching, or practicing with the team. It’s only for sports casters and never used in MLB play among the players.

    Is this true?


    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for the question. Usually the numbers are used for keeping score and you will see them on lineup cards that are placed in the dugouts, in each managers possession, and the home plate umpire. Other than that the numbers aren’t used much. We just call the positions by their name (shortstop, centerfield, etc) and the bases by first, second, third, and home. Hope that helps and thanks for your question.


    • Avatar für Doug Bernier

      Thanks for your question. The number represents the defensive position on the baseball diamond.
      Pitcher 1
      Catcher 2
      1st baseman 3
      2nd baseman 4
      shortstop 6
      3rd base 5
      left field 7
      center field 8
      right field 9
      For example the 5 hole (sometimes referred to as the 5-6 hole) is the area between the shortstop and the third baseman. The 4 hole (or sometimes referred to as the 3-4 hole) is the area between the second baseman and the first baseman. Those are the only two holes that are described this way. Hope this helps, thanks again for your question.

      Doug Bernier

      • Avatar für Loren

        I realize this is an old post, but I just ran across it and found it interesting. So if there are only the 5 and 4 holes, then how do they refer to a hit between second base and shortstop? I’m guessing here, but is it not considered a hole because the pitcher is inline with the gap?

    • Avatar für Sarah Bernier

      Hi, Teri. It looks like you have a nice facility. I don’t have a problem with using our articles in your newsletter. It goes out through email, correct? I would only ask that you leave in a link and credit to our website.

      It’s a little different if you were to put them on your website. I wouldn’t want it to be an exact copy of our articles, since duplicate content on the web can be a problem. If you wanted something for the website, we could provide you with a unique article or two, in exchange for credit and a link back to our site. For the newsletter though, it shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for asking, and best wishes to the Strike Zone facility!

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