Across the infield the position numbers are 3 (1st), 4 (2nd), 6 (SS) and 5 (3rd). Why are the SS and 3rd numbers out of order? Shouldn’t the SS be #5 and 3rd be #6?
My understanding is the box score numbering goes back to before the current 9 positions were established and the Short stop was a 4th outfielder, often a short outfielder.
Originally there was only 1 defender per base and 3-6 outfielders.
Related but countering what I said:https://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/266/in-baseball-why-is-the-shortstop-called-the-shortstop/
Not to question the “Perfect Master”, but he appears to be wrong. According to Wikipedia: Shortstop - History, the shortstop was invented by the Knickerbockers back in the '50s (that’s the 1850s for you younguns!), when a player was needed to field throws in from the outfield and re-direct them to an appropriate base. This information is backed up by citations to articles which researched the issue, names the people involved, etc., so it seems more likely to be true.
I might point out that, even in the “dead” ball era, a ball coming off the bat would be very difficult for a “short” stop positioned somewhere around the depth of the pitcher to stop without getting smashed in the face. :eek:
So, you have the battery numbered first (pitcher and catcher), then the three bases, then the short outfielder (the short stop), then the outfielders. I suspect that the short stop tended to hang out in left-center field, which is why the outfielders got numbered from left to right, not right to left.