Baseball and the first unique prime number: 3


As the baseball postseason swings ever closer to the World Series (fyi: the Fall Classic begins this coming Saturday), I thought I'd get us all in the mood by looking at some curious connections between the sport and, of all things, the number 3, which, besides being the first unique prime number, turns out really is a magic number, as well. (You should be singing the SchoolHouse Rock song now...)

I haven't read this elsewhere, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noted the following curious correlations between the two (so by all means, if you have more to add, please do so in the comments below):

3 is the number of strikes needed to record an out.

3 is the number of outs to end an inning.

3 x 3 is the number of innings in a game.

3 is the number of bases on the playing field.

3 is the number in the batting order generally occupied by the team's best hitter.

One of, if not the, most useful of all baseball stats is a player's batting average. The benchmark has always been .300. In fact, Mickey Mantle was often quoted as saying one of his greatest regrets was not retiring while he still had a .300 lifetime average. Yes, there's a sizeable difference between .298 and .300.

To win a division series in the postseason, a team must win 3 of 5 games.

A baseball diamond is actually a 3 x 30-foot square.

There are 3 X 30 feet between each of the 3 bases.

Though the distance from home plate to left and right field varies, it is always some variation on 300 feet. (e.g. Fenway is 310 to left and 302 to right, Wrigley is 355 to left and 353 to right).

That's all I've got for now, though I'm sure there are more. Oh, wait, I almost forgot a biggy: Guess what number Babe Ruth, the most famous (and arguably best) player in the game, wore on his uniform?

I'll give ya 3 guesses"¦

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