Magic Number Calculator

Created by AbdulRafay Moeen
Reviewed by Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate and Jack Bowater
Last updated: Apr 26, 2022

Using our magic number calculator, you can determine how many games your team needs to win or the current opponent team needs to lose for you to secure the title or the next playoff spot.

This article will teach you how to calculate the magic number in baseball and discuss what this magic number is. You will observe how it resembles and differs from the winning percentage .

What is a magic number in baseball?

A magic number represents the required number of wins a team needs (or the same combination of losses by its present competitor) to achieve the title or the next playoff spot. Every time a team wins, its magic number drops by one, which means it's closer to the final goal.

🙋 Every baseball team starts with 163 as their magic number. There are a total of 162 games played, with one more being played to break a tie.

How to use the magic number calculator?

Our tool helps you calculate the MLB magic number as follows:

  1. Enter the number of games your team has won in the first field, e.g., 72 games.

  2. Enter your current opponent's losses in the second field, e.g., 50 games.

  3. You get your magic number as a result, i.e., 41 games.

That's how you calculate the baseball magic number.

💡 When a team is up against multiple competitors, find the magic number against their closest competitor.

How to calculate the magic number in baseball using formula

Here's the formula that we use to calculate the MLB magic number:

  • MN=TGWTLO+1M_N = T_G - W_T - L_O + 1

where:

MNM_N - The magic number of a baseball team;
TGT_G - The total number of games to be played;
WTW_T - The number of wins by your team; and
LOL_O - The number of losses by your opponent.

Let's take an example and find the magic number of team A, with 61 wins, while team B has 56 losses.

Placing the values in the formula, we get:

MN=1626156+1=46M_N = 162 - 61 - 56 + 1 = 46

Thus, team A's magic number is 46. They need to win 46 more games, unless team B loses 46 games, to proceed to the subsequent playoffs.

What is the tragic number?

Tragic numbers, also called elimination numbers, or E, are the opposite of what magic numbers are. We calculate them by subtracting the losses of our team and winnings of the opponent team from the total number of games to be played, plus one, i.e., 163. This number determines how many losses will eliminate our team.

FAQ

How do I find the magic number in baseball?

To find the magic number in baseball:

  1. Take the total number of games, e.g., 162.
  2. Subtract the total wins of the first team, e.g., 55.
  3. Subtract the losses of the second team, e.g., 57.
  4. Add 1 to the result and you have your first team's magic number, i.e., 51.

What does MLB, NLB, ALDS, ALCS, NLDS, and NLCS stand for?

  • MLB stands for major league baseball;
  • NLB stands for national league baseball;
  • ALDS stands for American league division series;
  • ALCS stands for American league championship series;
  • NLDS stands for national league division series; and
  • NLCS stands for the national league championship series.

What is a wild card team in baseball?

A wild card team is the one that doesn't win their division but has the best record after the winning team and thus gets a chance to participate in the playoffs. There are two wild card teams selected from each league.

AbdulRafay Moeen
Your team's wins
Opponent's losses
Every MLB team starts with a magic number of 163. ⚾
Your magic number
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