Being a scorer for theÂ Croydon Pirates -Â a team that sometimes struggles to get nine players to the ground in time for first pitch after a heavy session the night before -Â I have developed the specialist, and possibly unique, role of “pinch-filler”. In this role my job is to keep a spot in the line-upÂ open for theÂ ninthÂ Pirate to show up. Since I typically end up in right field and bat ninth, it’s fitting that my roster number is 99.
I have no problem with this, though, as I amÂ happierÂ holdingÂ pencil and paperÂ than a bat.Â My high point as a player was my 1.000 batting average in 2008 (fromÂ one at-bat on a hit aided by a beautifulÂ infield bobble). My low point was the seven-man infield that I faced in a tournament in The Netherlands, once theÂ oppositionÂ realized that I would not get the ball out of the infield in a month of Sundays (I use this expression because the week’s right bookend is the British day of baseball).
It is against this background that I was able to sympathize with a Mr Houghton, whose story I was relayed by John Thomas, a good friend of mine who played for the Liverpool Tigers in the 1960s. The story’s subject turned up to watch a Tigers game and asked John if he could play a bit of catch as he had never held a baseball before. John pressed the ball into his hand and they moved a few steps apart. The unfortunate MrÂ Houghton wound up to throw the ball but did not release it when his arm was perpendicular to the ground, or even when it was parallel. Instead he managed to throw it straight at his foot, breaking a toe in the process.
It was not long after that MrÂ HoughtonÂ learned about the slightlyÂ less hazardous position of the scorer. The silver lining to his purple and blue toe was the beauty of the scoresheets that he constructed. I am very happy to say that JohnÂ kept a scoresheet he was given by MrÂ Houghton from the 1962 national final, a game in which the Tigers beat the East Hull Aces 8-3.
The scoresheet can beÂ downloaded as aÂ JPEG image file through the link below. Note that the route round the bases isÂ rotatedÂ 90 degrees anti-clockwise compared with the standard configuration (the batter’s advancement to first, for example, is recorded in the bottom left rather than the bottom right).
Download scoresheet from 1962 national final
(Downloading it to your computer – by right-clicking and choosing save – and then opening it up in image software should allow for better zoom functionality than simply opening it in your Internet browser)
If you have any old scoresheets from baseball in Britain, BaseballGB would be very interested in seeing them. You can leave details below.