Baseball fans love wearing shirts with the equation 6+4+3=2 printed on them. At first glance, it doesn’t make sense since the numbers don’t add up. Shouldn’t the answer be 13?
In a mathematical sense, it should. But we’re not talking math here. We’re talking baseball.
What does 6+4+3=2 mean in baseball? 6+4+3=2 is simply baseball slang that stands for a double play. There are different double play baseball scenarios, but the most common is a 6 4 3 double play.
What is a Double Play in Baseball?
Now that you know what the 6432 baseball shirt meaning is, let’s look at what makes up a double play and what these numbers mean.
A double play in baseball occurs when two offensive players are put out in a single batted ball. For a double play to take place, there has to be a runner on one of the bases.
In most cases, a double play happens when the batter hits a ground ball with a runner on 1st base. The shortstop usually fields the ball and throws it to 2nd base for the first out. Then, the 2nd baseman throws the ball to 1st base for the second out.
In this particular 6-4-3 double play, two players are put out in a single hit—the base runner first and the batter second.
The numbers don’t actually refer to the players who were put out. Rather, they tell the story of how the double play was achieved.
What Does the Number 643 Mean in Baseball Double Plays?
Now that you know what the numbers stand for, you probably have an idea of what happens in a 6 4 3 double play already.
A 6 4 3 double play happens in this succession:
- The batter hits the ball to the infield, and the shortstop (6) fields the ball.
- Shortstop throws the ball to the 2nd baseman (4) to put out the runner.
- Second baseman throws the ball to the 1st baseman (3) to put out the batter.
As you can see, the numbers in a double play correspond to the players who participated in the effort to achieve two outs in a single play. The order in which the numbers appear also tells you how the two outs were attained.
Numbers are particularly helpful in providing a visual picture of the game when you’re listening to the radio while driving or whenever you’re too busy to focus on the TV screen.
Going back to that 6+4+3=2 baseball t-shirt, it’s simply telling you that the shortstop (6), 2nd baseman (4), and 1st baseman (3) contributed (2) outs, resulting in a double play.
What Are Other Common Double Plays in Baseball?
A 4-6-3 and a 5-4-3 are two other common baseball double play scenarios. Others like the 3-6-1, the 3-6-4, and the 3-2-8 occur rarely.
A 4-6-3 double play takes place in this succession:
- Batter hits the ball to the infield, and the 2nd baseman (4) fields the ball.
- Second baseman throws the ball to the shortstop (6), who is covering 2nd base. This puts out the runner from 1st base.
- The shortstop throws the ball to the 1st baseman (3) to put out the batter.
A 5-4-3 double play occurs in this succession:
- Batter hits the ball to the left infield and the 3rd baseman (5) fields the ball.
- Third baseman throws the ball to the 2nd baseman (4) to put out the runner.
Second baseman throws the ball to the 1st baseman (3) to put out the batter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What do the numbers stand for in double plays?
To understand the 643 baseball meaning, let us first discuss what these numbers signify.
While there may be up to 40 players in a single baseball team, only nine defensive players occupy the field at any given time. Each of these players is assigned a number from 1 to 9, starting from the pitcher down to the right outfielder.
For those who are not yet familiar with how the player numbering system for baseball is done, the numbers assigned to each playing position can be found in the image below.
Assigning numbers to each playing position helps scorers keep track of how plays are carried out in a particular inning. Instead of writing down each player’s name, jotting down their position number helps keep baseball score sheets clean and uncluttered.
2. Are there always three numbers in a double play?
No. Although they are rare, double plays can occur with just two players.
In even rarer instances, an unassisted double play can happen involving just one player.
Picture this. With a runner on 1st base, a batter hits a line drive towards the right side of the infield.
The runner immediately takes off for 2nd base, but the 1st baseman (3) catches the line drive to put out the batter. He then steps on 1st base to put out the runner before the latter can return to the base.
This is an example of a double play involving just one player, which, in this case, is the 1st baseman. The play results in two outs, and it is usually marked on score sheets as a 3U or 3UNA double play to indicate that it was player #3 responsible for the unassisted double play.
Now let’s look at a scenario where only two players partake in a double play.
With a runner on 1st base, the batter hits a ground ball to the right side of the infield. The ball is fielded by the 1st baseman (3) who steps on the 1st base plate for the first out. He then throws it to either the shortstop (6) or the 2nd baseman (4) who tags the runner for the second out.
Double plays involving only two defensive players are indicated with just two numbers. In this case, the double play will be recorded as a 3-6 or a 3-4, depending on who tagged the runner out.
Double plays can either make or break a game, depending on which side you’re on. Besides home runs, double plays are among the most exciting game scenarios in baseball. So it’s no wonder 6+4+3=2 shirts sell like hotcakes come baseball season.
Baseball games are more fun and interesting to watch when you understand each team’s tactics and strategies to gain an advantage over the other. So the next time someone comes up to you and asks, “What does 6+4+3=2 mean in baseball”, they’d better be ready for some baseball math!
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.