What Does PA Mean in Baseball? – A Detailed Explanation

A. Coatess

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A. Coatess



Sean Hunter

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what does pa mean in baseball

The abbreviation PA surfaces every time batting turns, call the team’s attention to the field. The abbreviation can often be heard during situations related to at-bats.

But what does PA mean in baseball? How does it affect the status and flow of the game?

Meanwhile, baseball remains a game of stats, abbreviations, slang, and other codes. Whether watching or playing the sport, one must first learn the abbreviations.

Today, let us focus on the code “PA.”

PA Meaning in Baseball


A Plate Appearance is what the abbreviation PA stand for in baseball. This stat translates to every time the batter takes the shot to bat.

But a PA in baseball can only officially conclude when the batter completes the turn to bat.

Therefore, a PA meaning covers every single moment a batter appears on a plate to complete his turn to bat.

That includes whether the batter is charged at an official or unofficial at-bat.

And although the PA has similar suggestions to that of the at-bat (AB), it tackles a different set of considerations.

Firstly, AB does not fulfill the PA’s role of legitimizing the batter’s turn to bat. Even if, at times, it is used for analyzing batting averages, it remains distinct from PA.

Secondly, not all plate appearances, especially walks that receive frequent hits, can yield ABs.

Lastly, the plate appearance vs at bat becomes even more believable because the batter loses the chance to gain a PA every time the runner is thrown out while still at-bat for the intention of ending the inning.

How PA Relates to AB

The Official Baseball Rules (specifically under section 9.02(a)1) state that the at-bat (AB) relates to PA (plate appearance) as a consequence of the plate appearance’s completion.

However, not all situations bring in the possibility of an at-bat following an MLB plate appearance.

These cases highlight the PA vs AB distinction:

  • When the batter succumbs to a hit-by-pitch
  • When the batter earns the first base by an obtrusion caused by either the audience or another player
  • When the batter reaches the first base by a BB
  • When the batter gets an RBI credit

Players With High PAs in MLB History


Here are players with high plate appearance in baseball or MLB history (in ranking order):

1. Pete Rose


Starting at age twenty-four (24), Rose wowed the crowd with 15 890 plate appearances across several games.

Rose’s other achievements and awards include the 1969 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, the 1973 National League Most Valuable Player Award, and the 1975 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year, among many others.

2. Carl Yastrzemski


Yastrzemski achieved 13 992 PAs starting at age twenty-three (23).

His other achievements include the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year, the American League Most Valuable Player Award, and the Associated Press Male Athlete.

Such achievements turned even more jaw-dropping for a baseball career because he earned them all in just one year (1967).

3. Henry Aaron


Aaron (nicknamed “Hammer”) received a total of 13 941 plate appearances starting at the tender age of twenty-three (23).

Several baseball stats cement Aaron’s value in the MLB industry.

Apart from his PA, the most remarkable stats include his 755 home runs, six (6)-WAR season achievements at 21, and many others.

4. Rickey Henderson


Henderson earned 13 346 PAs at the age of twenty-five (25).

Henderson remained a formidable opponent during his time with an RBI of 1 115 and a total stolen bases of 1 406.

Consequently, Henderson was named AL’s Most Valuable Player in 1990.

5. Ty Cobb


Cobb was twenty-four (24) when he began to receive high PAs. His momentum went on until he earned 13 103 platform appearances.

Indeed, Cobb received several awards in his career. These awards feature the 1907 Led American League in RBIs and Hits, the 1907-1919 American League Batting title, and many other achievements.

6. Cal Ripken, Jr


A certified all-star and MVP, Ripken, Jr. garnered 12 883 plate appearances starting at the age of twenty-one (21).

For sixteen (16) years (from 1982 to 1998), Ripken maintained playing through a string of games amounting to 2 632.

No other player has attained such a record within sixteen years.

7. Eddie Murray


Murray started gaining 12 817 PAs at twenty-one (21).

He holds two Silver Slugger Awards- one was presented by the National League in 1990, and the other was by the American League in 1984.

8. Stan Musial


Musial was twenty-two when his PAs started ranking towards 12 721.

Musial, famous for his nickname “Stan the Man,” ranks among the most powerful hitters in MLB history.

9. Albert Pujols


Pujols forever carved his space in MLB history with his total PAs of 12 720.

Pujol’s career started gaining traction when he was only twenty-two (22).

His success continued and perhaps even reached a prime at forty-two (42).

10. Barry Bonds


Bonds ranks tenth on the list with 12 606 PAs throughout his career, starting at the age of twenty-two (22).

Bond has had multiple accolades through the years – twelve Silver Sluggers, fourteen All-Stars, seven MPVs, and many more.

Other leading players with the most plate appearances include (still in ranking order):

  • Derek Jeter
  • Willie Mays
  • Craig Biggio
  • Dave Winfield
  • Robin Yount
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • And many more


The answer to “what does PA mean in baseball” is Plate ppearance.

As explained earlier, the abbreviation PA covers everything that signifies a completed turn in batting. In short, a plate appearance is a statistical tool indicating a completed turn to bat by a batter.

As stated in the article, the PA shares similar implications with the AB or at-bat. However, not all at-bats are consequential to plate appearance due to some variables.

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