In baseball, a number higher than one that has been added to the line score as a result of a point made during a half inning is referred to as “crooked numbers.” The runs, hits, and mistakes committed by each team throughout a game are shown on the line score.
Line scores are broken down into two rows, one for each participating team, and nine columns, one for each inning. Either the visiting club or the home team gets to bat and has the opportunity to score during a half inning.
A team is said to have put up a crooked number if they score two or more runs during their at-bats during an inning. Because they are neither spherical like zeros nor straight like ones, crooked numbers are so named.
A picket fence is believed to have been built when a single team scores one point in each of several subsequent half innings because the string of ones resembles the boards of a fence.