Quick History of Scorekeeper's and Scoreboards
Keeping track of the score is as old as games themselves. When games started getting popular enough that an audience would watch, the act of score keeping got a little more official. Ways had to be devised where anyone watching the game could with once glance view the current score of the game which would tell whose winning and whose losing. So while score keeping has been around for a long time, the modern ability to show the current game tally on a big board has only been around for the last 100 years or so.
When you go to your favorite sports game you will almost always notice the electronic scoreboard. The functionality you see was not always so. Before the 1980's most of the scoreboards you would see were electro-mechanical. Before 1934, scorekeeping required more than one person to manipulate the scoreboard. But as technology grew, so did the functionality, capability and operability of score keeping through our much be-loved scoreboards.
Around 1900 score keeping was almost a full time job. In the beginning operators would have to climb up to the score board and physically change the score through chalk or by hanging a variety of score signs. Then in 1908 someone got the bright idea to turn at electricity to the scoreboard. Baseball (and many other sports) would never be the same. Once scoring went electric, all kinds of new doors and possibilities opened. One was the idea that you didn't have to be at the game at all to see what was going on. Large groups of people would gather at old time movie theaters or other arenas to watch the game on a scoreboard. Telegraph operators would report the current standing in the game being played and on the other side an operator would change the score on the scoreboard for the viewing crowd. An early form of your favorite sports network.
While an electronic scoreboard was indeed very cool, it was tough to catch on. Most scoring systems in the big games remained mechanical. It wasn't until 1950's that the Yankees introduced a full electronic scoreboard system. It wasn't long after that most scoreboards started including additional game statics. Nothing like the jumbo-trons we have now, but enough to add a new game dynamic to help keep people engaged.
During the early 1980's video boards became popular. These in essence replaced the electro mechanical boards of old. Scoring became as dynamic as the games themselves. Video boards not only allowed cool and new ways to show the score of the game, but also instant replays and of course, more intuitive advertising.
Again a new leap is occurring in modern scorekeeping. With the advent of smart phones, score tracking will never be the same again. Now, not only can you watch the big scoreboards for game information, but you can also have the same features within your phone in real time. While the video boards were a great leap forward, there is still room for improvement. Personally I cannot wait for the new holographic scoreboards.