This seemingly incorrect equation is a baseball play on words (and numbers!) that refers to a classic double play that involves the shortstop, second baseman, and first baseman. Here’s how it all fits together to turn this “math problem” into a popular meme among baseball insiders.

Just a Number

In baseball, the official scorer keeps track of every player who participates in each play. But it would be pretty cumbersome to write down each player’s name every time he handles the ball. So instead, scorekeepers use a shorthand notation that represents each position on the diamond as a number:

1 – pitcher

2- catcher

3 – first base

4 – second base

5 – third base

6 – shortstop

7 – left field

8 – center field

9 – right field

6-4-3 Double Play

Using this numbering scheme, a 6-4-3 double play usually begins when a batter hits a ground ball toward the hole between second and third base with a runner on first. The shortstop (6) fields the ball and throws to second to force out the runner coming from first.

The second baseman (4) then throws the ball to the first baseman (3) to force the batter and complete the double play.

So the shorstop (6), second baseman (4), and first baseman (3) work together to complete the DP. That leads directly to the “equation” from the meme:

6 + 4 + 3 = 2

Here, the three-part sum shows the position numbers of shortstop (6), second (4), and first(3), while the right-hand side indicates the double play — two (2) outs in one play.