Why Are There 9 Innings in Baseball? – Here’s Reason

A. Coatess

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A. Coatess



Sean Hunter

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why are there 9 innings in baseball

Unlike basketball which is played in quarters, baseball is a different sport as it is played in innings. There are generally nine innings in baseball, where each inning is played for 20 minutes.

The question is, why are there 9 innings in baseball?

The nine innings in this sport were born out of great storylines and one of which stemmed from the desire to birth more competitive games. Since then, baseball has been played through 9 innings and by 9 players.

Why Are There 9 Innings in Baseball?


Baseball isn’t always played the way it is today. The mechanism we’ve seen over the years of competitive baseball games has been a product of constant debates in the past, an urge for innovation, and a vision of development in the sport.

During the infancy years of baseball, opposing teams would play until one team reached a score of 21 runs (or aces). At most, there were only 6 innings in a typical baseball game.

Case in point, baseball games used to have no time limit and no standard number of players on the field. As the events progressed and many teams were formed, there was an urgent need to formulate basic rules and policies as to how the game should be played.

Alas, birthing a total of 9 innings to the sport we all love.

Backstories of This Rule


The 21 scored points that will make a team win was equivalent to a run in the 19th-century version of baseball. There really wasn’t a problem with how things worked back in the day. However, as the level of play and competition between teams has risen, there was a need to revamp and rethink the rules.

But before we dive deeper into the details of how the 9th inning of baseball came to life, let’s first talk about the events that triggered the formation of this vital aspect of the sport.

1. The problem of 6-inning games

In the 1840s, the game was played only through 6 innings, where 60-400 total combined runs are generally tallied. When the level of skills increased, and the target of 21 points and aces became harder to achieve, obvious questions were hanging in the air: “what should be done?” and “how do we match the system to this new level of play?”.

These questions were highlighted when a game in 1856 ended with a tied 12-12 score by both teams.

2. 7 or 9 innings?

Then came Alexander Cartwright, who founded the Knickerbockers Club and initiated the talks of changing the system of innings from 6 to a total of 9.

However, the club was confused about whether to change it to 7 or 9, as the number of innings should correlate with the number of players per team that show up in every game.

There was even a time when two of the Knickerbockers Club members asked permission if they could bring non-members in during their game if only a few players showed up, but Duncan Curry went against the idea.

Instead, he told the members to go with the players that showed up and not let non-members of the club fill in the role.

In this manner, the Knickerbockers Club invited three delegates from each interested club to carefully plan and decide on the new rules that were initially set. This event in baseball has molded the sport into what it is today.

When Did Baseball Change to 9 Innings?


In 1857, the delegation formed by the Knickerbockers Club had finally settled on 9 innings as opposed to their other choice, which was 7 innings.

Louis F. Wadsworth was the one who advocated for it, which can be considered a valuable decision made in the game of baseball.

The years leading up to 1856 have proven to be a struggle for baseball players and their teams when most games would prolong, and they would be forced to suspend the play when it gets dark outside.

In the year 1857, this was not a problem anymore as a new number of innings in a baseball game emerged, which, then again, proved to be a huge leap in the sport.

How Do 9 Innings Work in Baseball?


  1. The 9 innings in baseball are divided into two halves.
  2. In the first half, a team is tasked to play on the offense, while the other team shall play on the defense.
  3. During the other half, the role switches as the offense will play defense, and the defense will play offense.

1. Baseball games not reaching 9 innings

Yes, there are instances where a baseball game does not reach 9 innings. For example, when a team leads by a huge gap against the other team during the first half of the total innings, it’s possible that the other half of the innings will not be played anymore, which is in contrast to the regular total of innings played.

This happens because when the leading team goes to the at-bat position, they will still have the lead, and playing until the 9th inning wouldn’t change the trajectory of the scores of both teams.

2. What happens if the game is tied at the end of 9 innings

If in any case, both teams scored the same number at the end of the 9th inning, it’s possible that extra innings will be played until such period where a winner is determined. Additionally, these extra innings are played the same way as how they are normally played.

3. Time to play 9 innings

Generally, each inning takes up to 20 minutes to end, and it takes about 3 hours for a 9-inning game to end. During each inning, the pitcher of the defense team throws pitches to the batter of the offensive team, the batter then tries to run around the bases without violations, and if he gets to the home plate safely, a run is scored.

Every batter shall be careful not to commit violations during their batting time so that more scores will be awarded to their team. At the end of the 9 innings, the team who scored more shall win the game.

Frequently Asked Questions


Are baseball games always 9 innings?

In general, most games in baseball have 9 innings. However, even though this is the simplest mechanism of innings in the sport, this does not always happen.

Nine innings in baseball do not happen in special and rare cases where:

  1. The game is set to be played in fewer innings.
  2. The weather is bad.
  3. The game should stop for a few innings.
  4. Extra winnings are needed to be played to determine who wins the match.

There are many factors by which a baseball game needs to reach its usual 9-inning perimeter.

Can there be 12 innings in baseball?

The addition of extra innings in a baseball game is used to determine who wins the match. Objectively, there is no limit to how many innings can be added to a game, as long as it’s used to break a tie between two teams.

The addition of innings is commonly called the “extra innings”, which occurs commonly, especially if it’s a tight matchup between two strong opposing teams.

What is the “MLB 19 innings 18” game?

MLB 19 innings 18 is an online game of baseball that was published in 2018 by Com2us. In this game, you will have the chance to get real-life teams and players since this is officially released by the MLB. To know more about MLB 19 innings 18 cheats, strategies, and tips, you can install the app on Android and IOS.


The development of baseball is one that was founded on healthy debates, a constant urge for development, and the aim to make the sport the best avenue for players to unleash their skills without compromising their convenience and safety. Simply, the growth of baseball since the 1800s has been truly formidable and promising.

In this guide on “why are there 9 innings in baseball?”, I hope you learned that baseball is not composed of quarters but rather innings, the reasons why there are 9 innings, and the interesting backstories behind it.

It was great being with you in this learning experience!

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