In baseball, when a forfeit occurs, the score is 9-0. Why 9-0? What does this score mean, and what is the historical reason for this value?

2 Answers 2


Wikipedia says, "In the event of forfeiture, the score is recorded as "9 to 0", as per rule 2.00 of the Major League Baseball Rules Book."

The major league rules (page 16) state, "A FORFEITED GAME is a game declared ended by the umpire-in-chief in favor of the offended team by the score of 9 to 0, for violation of the rules."

As for the number 9 - it seems to relate to the number of scheduled innings played out in a professional standard 9 inning game. For softball and little league, for example, the score would be 7-0 since those games schedule only 7 innings of play. I also found something that said that in the event that the forfeiting team is trailing in the score, the score will remain as-is. So, if the team that had to forfeit was behind, say 5-1 - the final score would be recorded as 5-1. I believe the "9-0" score is the rule for games that are forfeited and never begin playing out or where the score is tied.

  • Can you give more details on this rule, including historical background (if possible)?
    – bwDraco
    Commented Mar 19, 2012 at 0:01
  • 3
    From what I can tell from doing some searches on Google, forfeited games (at least at the professional level) are very rare and have not occurred in over 20 years. They were more common back in the early days of the game (1880's - 1920's) but as far as the "why" behind scoring it 9-0 and not 1-0 or something else, I haven't been able to find anything explaining that. I've also revised my answer above to reflect a little more of what I've read in researching this rule.
    – jamauss
    Commented Mar 19, 2012 at 4:03
  • 2
    I guess it's considered that all 9 innings were forfeited, so they get a run in each inning.
    – JoelFan
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 3:57
  • Could be one run per player in the lineup as well. Nine is just a common number in baseball (another is 9 strikes in a "perfect" inning) ; the occurrences of it don't have to be related.
    – chepner
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 14:48

Yes. The offended team wins each inning of play by the minimum number of runs required to win that inning which is 1 run.

  • 6
    Could you provide a reference for this? "Winning an innings" isn't a relevant concept in baseball.
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 15:54

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