How Many Innings Does Baseball Have?

Want to know how many innings baseball has? Check out this blog post to find out how many innings are in a regulation baseball game.


In baseball, an inning is a unit of play that consists of both an offensive and defensive half. In general, each team has a turn (or innings) batting and fielding. There are typically nine innings in a regulation Major League Baseball game, although some leagues (such as high school or minor league baseball) may have fewer innings.

The History of Baseball

Baseball has been a part of American culture for centuries. The game has evolved over time, but the number of innings has remained the same. So, how did baseball come to have nine innings?

Early baseball games

The first recorded mention of baseball in the United States was in a 1792 Pittsfield, Massachusetts, town by-law prohibiting the playing of the game within 80 yards of the town meeting house. Pittsfield is also home to the first known formal rules of the game which were drawn up in 1838. Modern baseball has its roots in England; rounders, a game similar to baseball, was popular in Great Britain and Ireland since the 17th century. By the early 19th century, British soldiers had introduced it to various colonies, including Australia, India, Canada and Japan. One theory claims that baseball was derived from la soule, or choule, a French game that was brought to North America by settlers in the 17th century. Another theory suggests that it is a spin-off from cricket.

Whatever its origins, baseball began to take hold in the United States during the early 19th century. The first reference to baseball in America appeared in print in 1791, when it was mentioned as an adult playground game in a Virginia newspaper. By 1845, rules for playing had been published and membership in formal clubs had begun to grow. In 1846, Alexander Cartwright and his Knickerbocker Base Ball Club codified the modern rules of baseball on paper for the first time; these rules included 90-foot bases and nine innings per game.

The popularity of baseball increased rapidly during the second half of the 19th century as both amateurs and professional teams found their way into communities across America. In 1860, sixteen professional teams played their first organized season; by 1900 there were more than 400 professional clubs. In 1912 Boston Red Sox owner John I Taylor changed how professional games were played by introducing numbered player uniforms; this practice spread rapidly and soon became standard for all teams at every level of competition

The rise of professional baseball

The early history of baseball is rife with controversy. One of the most widely accepted stories credits Abner Doubleday, a young officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War, with inventing the game in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. According to this account, Doubleday devised the game—then called “town ball”—as an indoor pastime that could be played during cold winters.

The first professional baseball team was formed in Cincinnati in 1869, and soon other professional teams began sprouting up around the country. In 1871, the first professional baseball league was founded: the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players. This league only lasted five years because of widespread cheating and financial problems.

The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs was formed in 1876 and has remained intact since then (with a few name changes and short-lived competitor leagues along the way). In 1903, another major league was formed: the American League. The two leagues would eventually merge into one Major League Baseball (MLB) organization in 2000.

From its humble beginnings as a game played by amateurs on rural sandlots, baseball has grown into “America’s pastime”—a multi-billion dollar industry with fans all over the world.

The Rules of Baseball

Baseball is a game played between two teams of nine players each, who take turns batting and fielding. The fielding team tries to stop the batting team from scoring runs, while the batting team tries to score runs by hitting the ball and running around the bases. A run is scored when a player hits the ball and safely reaches home plate. The game is played in nine innings, and the team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

The innings

In baseball, both teams take turns batting and fielding until each team has completed three outs in one inning. A regulation game consists of nine innings, unless the home team is ahead after eight and a half innings, in which case the game ends (a mercy rule). If a game goes into extra innings, each team bats in turn until there is a winner.

Innings are broken up into halves. In the top half of an inning, the away team bats; in the bottom half, the home team bats. The first half of an inning is over when the away team has batted; the second half is over when the home team has batted.

The order of batters (the lineup) for each team remains fixed throughout the game, unless substitutions are made. substitutions can be made between innings, but not during an inning. A player who is replaced by a substitute cannot return to play in that game.

The players

Nine players take the field for each team—three outfielders, three infielders, and a pitcher. The catcher also squats behind home plate. The remaining nine players take their places in the dugout, waiting for their turn to bat.

The equipment

Each baseball team has nine innings in which they attempt to score runs. In each inning, one team bats while the other team fielding. The batting team tries to score runs by hitting the ball and running around four bases. The fielding team tries to stop the batting team from scoring by catching the hit balls and throwing them to teammates who then tag the runners or force them out at bases.

The game is played on a diamond-shaped field with a catcher for the fielding team behind home plate, four infielders positioned around the bases, and three outfielders positioned in left field, center field, and right field.


Seven innings is the minimum, nine innings the maximum. If a game is tied after nine innings, it goes into extra innings, until one team finally scores more runs than the other.

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