Ty Cobb, the all-time leader in career batting average.

In baseball, the batting average (BA) is defined by the number of hits divided by at bats. It is usually reported to three decimal places and pronounced as if it were multiplied by 1,000: a player with a batting average of .300 is "batting three-hundred." A point (or percentage point) is understood to be .001. If necessary to break ties, batting averages could be taken to more than three decimal places.

Outfielder Ty Cobb, whose career ended in 1928, has the highest batting average in Major League Baseball (MLB) history.[1][note 1] He batted .366 over 24 seasons, mostly with the Detroit Tigers. In addition, he won a record 11 batting titles for leading the American League in BA over the course of an entire season. He batted over .360 in 11 consecutive seasons from 1909 to 1919.[2] Oscar Charleston is second all-time with a career batting average of .364.[3] He had the highest career batting average in the history of the combined Negro leagues from 1920 to 1948.[4] Rogers Hornsby has the third highest BA of all-time, at .358.[1] He won seven batting titles in the National League (NL) and has the highest NL average in a single season since 1900, when he batted .424 in 1924. He batted over .370 in six consecutive seasons.[5]

Other notable players include: Shoeless Joe Jackson batted .356 over 13 seasons before he was permanently suspended from organized baseball in 1921 for his role in the Black Sox Scandal.[6] Jud Wilson played professionally from 1922 to 1945 and twice played on Negro World Series championship teams. Lefty O'Doul first came to the major leagues as a pitcher, but after developing a sore arm, he converted to an outfielder and won two batting titles.[7] Turkey Stearnes twice led the Negro National League in batting average. Ed Delahanty's career was cut short when he fell into the Niagara Falls and died during the 1903 season.[8] Ted Williams remains the most recent player to bat .400 in a major-league season.[9] Babe Ruth hit for a career .342 average and held the major-league record for career home runs from 1921 until 1974.

A player must have a minimum of 3,000 plate appearances to qualify for the list.[1]

Key

Rank Rank among leaders in career batting average. A blank field indicates a tie.
Player Name of the player.
BA Total career batting average.
* Denotes elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bold Denotes active player.[note 2]

List

Different sources of baseball records present somewhat differing lists of career batting average leaders. There is consensus that Ty Cobb leads this category. Further rankings vary by source, primarily due to differences in minimums needed to qualify (number of games played or plate appearances), or differences in early baseball records. Baseball-Reference.com includes the Negro League teams considered major leagues by Major League Baseball,[10] as reflected in the below listing (top 100). Career batting average leaders (top 10) per some alternate sources can be found at Batting average (baseball)#All-time leaders.

As of October 2023, no active player appears in the below list. The active player ranking highest is José Altuve, at 136th with a .3071 career batting average.[1]

Rank Player BA
1 Ty Cobb * .3662
2 Oscar Charleston * .3643
3 Rogers Hornsby * .3585
4 Shoeless Joe Jackson .3558
5 Jud Wilson * .3519
6 Lefty O'Doul .3493
7 Turkey Stearnes * .3490
8 Ed Delahanty * .3458
9 Tris Speaker * .3447
10 Billy Hamilton * .3444
Ted Williams * .3444
12 Dan Brouthers * .3424
13 Babe Ruth * .3421
14 Dave Orr .3420
15 Harry Heilmann * .3416
16 Pete Browning .3415
17 Willie Keeler * .3413
18 Bill Terry * .3412
19 Lou Gehrig * .3401
George Sisler * .3401
21 Mule Suttles * .3390
22 Jesse Burkett * .3382
Tony Gwynn * .3382
Nap Lajoie * .3382
25 Jake Stenzel .3378
26 Riggs Stephenson .3361
27 Al Simmons * .3342
28 Cap Anson * .3341
29 John McGraw * .3336
30 Eddie Collins * .3332
Paul Waner * .3332
32 Mike Donlin .3326
33 Sam Thompson * .3314
34 Stan Musial * .3308
Willie Wells * .3308
36 Bill Lange .3298
Heinie Manush * .3298
38 Biz Mackey * .3281
39 Wade Boggs * .3279
40 Rod Carew * .3278
41 Honus Wagner * .3276
42 Tip O'Neill .3260
43 Cool Papa Bell * .3255
Hugh Duffy * .3255
Bob Fothergill .3255
46 Jimmie Foxx * .3253
47 Earle Combs * .3247
48 Joe DiMaggio * .3246
49 Babe Herman .3245
50 Joe Medwick * .3236
Rank Player BA
51 Hurley McNair .3232
52 Edd Roush * .3227
53 Sam Rice * .3223
54 Ross Youngs * .3222
55 Kiki Cuyler * .3210
56 Charlie Gehringer * .3204
57 Chuck Klein * .3201
58 Mickey Cochrane * .3196
Pie Traynor * .3196
60 Ken Williams .3192
61 Kirby Puckett * .3181
62 Earl Averill * .3178
63 Vladimir Guerrero* .3176
Arky Vaughan * .3176
65 Bill Everitt .3174
66 Roberto Clemente * .3173
Joe Harris .3173
68 Chick Hafey * .3170
69 Joe Kelley * .3169
70 Zack Wheat * .3167
71 Roger Connor * .3164
Todd Helton * .3164
Lloyd Waner * .3164
74 George Van Haltren .3163
75 Frankie Frisch * .3161
76 Goose Goslin * .3160
77 Lew Fonseca .3158
78 Bibb Falk .3145
79 Cecil Travis .3142
80 Hank Greenberg * .3135
81 Jack Fournier .3132
82 Elmer Flick * .3130
83 Ed Morgan .3128
Jackie Robinson * .3128
85 Nomar Garciaparra .3127
Larry Walker * .3127
87 Bill Dickey * .3125
88 Dale Mitchell .3122
Manny Ramírez .3122
90 Johnny Mize * .3121
Joe Sewell * .3121
92 Fred Clarke * .3120
Deacon White * .3120
94 Bug Holliday .3119
95 Barney McCosky .3118
96 Hughie Jennings * .3117
97 Edgar Martínez * .3115
98 Johnny Hodapp .3114
Freddie Lindstrom * .3114
100 Bing Miller .3113

Source:[1]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The list presented includes players and statistics from defunct leagues considered "major" by Major League Baseball, not only the National League and American League.
  2. ^ A player is considered inactive if he has announced his retirement or not played for a full season.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Career Leaders & Records for Batting Average". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
  2. ^ "Ty Cobb Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  3. ^ "Oscar Charleston Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  4. ^ "The Negro Leagues Are Major Leagues". Baseball Reference. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  5. ^ "Rogers Hornsby Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  6. ^ "SportsCenter Flashback: The Chicago Black Sox banned from baseball". ESPN Classic. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  7. ^ McKenna, Brian. "Lefty O'Doul". SABR.org. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
  8. ^ "Ed Delahanty". baseballbiography.com. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  9. ^ Goldstein, Richard (July 6, 2002). "Ted Williams, Red Sox Slugger And Last to Hit .400, Dies at 83". The New York Times Company. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  10. ^ "The Negro Leagues Are Major Leagues". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2021-06-29.