In Search of Nine Innings of Pi

As we’ve already mentioned today, its “Pi Day” and we want to track down anything in baseball that you could tie to pi.

So, how about games in which the score by inning for either team matched the digits of pi, namely 3-1-4-1-5-9-2-6-5.  Now of course, that would mean a team scored 36 runs, and that hasn’t happened in the modern era.  But how far into a game can we find a matching cumulative score?

It turns out there that with 200,000 games in the books, the best “pi game” only goes four innings deep, and its happened only twice.

On July 4, 1872, the Middletown Mansfields, in their only year of existence, jumped on the Boston Red Stockings for three runs in the first and one in the second.  Boston tallied a run in the top of the third, and Middletown responded with four in the bottom of the frame.  Trailing 8-1 in the top of the fourth, Boston put up an 11-spot to take a 12-8 lead, and the Mansfields continued the “pi-ness” with a single run in their half-inning.  Unfortunately, they broke the chain by only tallying a single run in the fifth (rather than the five they needed).  Here’s the final ledger:

BOS n    0  0  1   11  2  6    1  4  -  25 25  0
MAN n    3  1  4    1  1  2    0  0  -  12 15  0

117 years later, on September 14, 1989, the visiting Texas Rangers pounced on the Kansas City Royals for three in the first, one in the second, four in the third and one in the fourth.  They apparently got tired, and only tallied one more run, in the sixth.  The linescore:

TEX A    3  1  4    1  0  1    0  0  0  -  10 16  0
KC A    0  0  0    0  0  1    2  0  1  -   4  8  0

Two “pi” games, each only four innings deep, in over 140 years of organized ball.  C’est la vie.

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3 Responses to In Search of Nine Innings of Pi

  1. Iain Fyffe says:

    That should be 3-1-4-1-5-9-2-6-5, not -3.

  2. Chad says:

    What makes this even more unfortunate is that because the next digit is a 5, technically speaking when rounded off to only four digits, pi is 3.142.

    But either way, very interesting. Did you try looking for games where the “pi-ness” didn’t start in the first inning? Technically you can put as many leading zeroes in front of a number that’s to the left of a decimal point and it doesn’t change the value of the number one bit, so a line of, for example, 0-0-0-3-1-4-1-5-9 would also be pi, albeit in far less impressive fashion. I wouldn’t doubt that somewhere along the line, some team must have put up the line 0-0-0-0-0-0-3-1-4, at the very least.

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