A man, wearing a baseball cap and a white baseball uniform with the letter "W" on the left breast, faces forward towards the left.
A man, wearing a baseball cap with the Detroit Tigers
A man in an off-white jersey and pants, a baseball cap with the letter "B" in the center, and dark baseball socks leans forward holding a baseball bat with both hands.
Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston (not pictured), Ed Delahanty, Ty Cobb, and Rogers Hornsby (left to right) are the only players to record a .400 batting average in three different seasons.

In baseball, batting average (AVG) is a measure of a batter's success rate in achieving a hit during an at bat,[1] and is calculated by dividing a player's hits by his at bats.[2] The achievement of a .400 batting average in a season is recognized as "the standard of hitting excellence",[3] in light of how batting .300 in a season is already regarded as solid.[4][5] Forty-two players have recorded a batting average of at least .400 in a single Major League Baseball (MLB) season as of 2021,[A] the last being Willard Brown of the Kansas City Monarchs and Artie Wilson of the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948.[6] Five players – Ed Delahanty, Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Oscar Charleston, and Josh Gibson– have accomplished the feat in three different seasons,[7][8] the highest batting average for a single season was .4711 single-season record established by Tetelo Vargas in 1943.[9] Ross Barnes was the first player to bat .400 in a season, posting a .429 batting average in the National League's inaugural 1876 season.[10][11]

In total, 42 players have reached the .400 mark in MLB history and nine have done so more than once. Of these, twenty one were right-handed batters, nineteen were left-handed, and two were switch hitter, meaning they could bat from either side of the plate. Three of these players (Terry, Leonard and Williams) played for only one major league team. The Philadelphia Phillies are the only franchise to have four players reach the milestone while on their roster: Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson, and Tuck Turner, all of whom attained a batting average over .400 during the 1894 season.[12][13] Three players won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in the same year as their .400 season.[14] Tip O'Neill, Nap Lajoie, Josh Gibson, Willie Wells, Mule Suttles, Oscar Charleston (3 times), Heavy Johnson and Rogers Hornsby (twice) also earned the Triple Crown alongside achieving a .400 batting average, leading their respective leagues in batting average, home runs and runs batted in (RBI).[15] Although Ray Dandridge's .432 batting average in 1934 did not earn him the Negro National League's batting title,[16] it established a major league record for a rookie that stands to this day.[17] Fred Dunlap has the lowest career batting average among players who have batted .400 in a season with .292, while Cobb – with .366 – recorded the highest career average in major league history.[18]

Given the decades that have elapsed since Brown and Wilson became the last players to achieve the feat and the integral changes to the way the game of baseball is played since then – such as the increased utilization of specialized relief pitchers[19][20] – a writer for The Washington Post called the mark "both mystical and unattainable".[21] Consequently, modern day attempts to reach the hallowed mark by Rod Carew (.388 in 1977), George Brett (.390 in 1980) and Tony Gwynn (.394 in the strike-shortened 1994 season) have generated considerable hype among fans and in the media.[22][23][24] Of the thirty-four players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame who have batted .400 in a season, twenty-four have been elected and two were elected on the first ballot.[25] Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played in at least 10 MLB seasons, and have either been retired for five seasons or deceased for at least six months.[26] These requirements leave seven players ineligible who did not play in at least 10 seasons.[27][28] Shoeless Joe Jackson is ineligible for the Hall of Fame because he was permanently banned from baseball in 1921 for his involvement in the Black Sox Scandal.[29][30]

Players

Nap Lajoie is one of several players to earn the Triple Crown in addition to batting .400 in the same season.
Nap Lajoie is one of several players to earn the Triple Crown in addition to batting .400 in the same season.
George Sisler achieved the .400 mark and won the MVP Award in 1922.
George Sisler achieved the .400 mark and won the MVP Award in 1922.
Ted Williams is the last American League player to post a .400 batting average in a season, achieving the feat in 1941.
Ted Williams is the last American League player to post a .400 batting average in a season, achieving the feat in 1941.
Key
Year The year of the player's .400 season
Player (X) Name of the player and number of .400 seasons they had at that point
Team The player's team for his .400 season
NL National League
AL American League
AA American Association
UA Union Association
NN2 Negro National League
ANL American Negro League
NAL Negro American League
ECL Eastern Colored League
AVG The player's batting average in that season[B]
Career AVG The player's batting average in his MLB career[B]
§ Denotes batting average that was part of a Triple Crown season
dagger Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame
MLB players who have batted .400 in a season
Year Player Team League AVG Career AVG Ref
1876 Ross Barnes Chicago White Stockings NL .429 .360 [27]
1884 Fred Dunlap St. Louis Maroons UA .412 .292 [31]
1887 Tip O'Neill St. Louis Browns AA .435§ .326 [32]
1887 Pete Browning Louisville Colonels AA .402 .341 [33]
1894 Hugh Duffydagger Boston Beaneaters NL .440[C] .326 [35]
1894 Tuck Turner Philadelphia Phillies NL .418 .320 [28]
1894 Sam Thompsondagger Philadelphia Phillies NL .415 .331 [34]
1894 Ed Delahantydagger Philadelphia Phillies NL .404 .346 [36]
1894 Billy Hamiltondagger Philadelphia Phillies NL .403 .344 [37]
1895 Jesse Burkettdagger Cleveland Spiders NL .405 .338 [38]
1895 Ed Delahantydagger (2) Philadelphia Phillies NL .404 .346 [36]
1896 Jesse Burkettdagger (2) Cleveland Spiders NL .410 .338 [38]
1896 Hughie Jenningsdagger Baltimore Orioles NL .401 .312 [39]
1897 Willie Keelerdagger Baltimore Orioles NL .424 .341 [40]
1899 Ed Delahantydagger (3) Philadelphia Phillies NL .410 .346 [36]
1901 Nap Lajoiedagger Philadelphia Athletics AL .426§ .338 [41]
1911 Ty Cobbdagger Detroit Tigers AL .420 .366 [42]
1911 Shoeless Joe Jackson Cleveland Naps AL .408 .356 [43]
1912 Ty Cobbdagger (2) Detroit Tigers AL .409 .366 [42]
1920 George Sislerdagger St. Louis Browns AL .407 .340 [44]
1921 Oscar Charlestondagger St. Louis Stars NNL .433§ .364 [45]
1922 George Sislerdagger (2) St. Louis Browns AL .420 .340 [44]
1922 Rogers Hornsbydagger St. Louis Cardinals NL .401§ .358 [46]
1922 Ty Cobbdagger (3) Detroit Tigers AL .401 .366 [42]
1923 Biz Mackeydagger Hilldale Club ECL .423 .328 [47]
1923 Harry Heilmanndagger Detroit Tigers AL .403 .342 [48]
1924 Rogers Hornsbydagger (2) St. Louis Cardinals NL .424 .358 [46]
1924 Oscar Charlestondagger (2) Harrisburg Giants ECL .405§ .364 [49]
1925 Oscar Charlestondagger (3) Harrisburg Giants ECL .427§ .364 [50]
1925 Rogers Hornsbydagger (3) St. Louis Cardinals NL .403§ .358 [46]
1926 Mule Suttlesdagger St. Louis Stars NNL .425§ .340 [51]
1927 Red Parnell Birmingham Black Barons NNL .422 .328 [52]
1927 Jud Wilsondagger Baltimore Black Sox ECL .422 .352 [53]
1929 Chino Smith New York Lincoln Giants ANL .451 .408 [54]
1930 Bill Terrydagger New York Giants NL .401 .341 [55]
1934 Buddy Burbage Newark Dodgers NN2 .438 .300 [56]
1934 Ray Dandridgedagger Newark Dodgers NN2 .432 .319 [57]
1941 Ted Williamsdagger Boston Red Sox AL .406 .344 [58]
1943 Tetelo Vargas New York Cubans NN2 .471 .356 [59]
1943 Josh Gibsondagger

(3)

Homestead Grays NN2 .466 .374 [60]
1948 Artie Wilson Birmingham Black Barons NAL .435 .360 [61]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Although MLB was founded in its current iteration in 1903, statistics from the National League, American League, American Association, Union Association, and Players' League that were recorded before that year have been retroactively recognized as major league.
  2. ^ a b Expressed to three significant figures.
  3. ^ According to the Society for American Baseball Research, Duffy is no longer viewed as having won the Triple Crown in 1894 after "modern baseball record revisionists" credited Sam Thompson with six more runs batted in (RBI) than he was originally thought to have amassed.[9] This raises Thompson's season total to 147 RBIs, one more than Duffy.[34]

References

General

  • "Single-Season Leaders & Records for Batting Average". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 3, 2016.

Specific

  1. ^ "Guide to baseball". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved December 1, 2012.
  2. ^ "Official Rules: 9.21 – Determining Percentage Records" (PDF). MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  3. ^ Marshall, Brian. "The Three, or Was It Two, .400 Hitters of 1922". Baseball Research Journal. Society for American Baseball Research. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  4. ^ McNeal, Stan (August 29, 2014). "For major league hitters, .280 is the new .300". USA Today. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  5. ^ Crouch, Ian (September 24, 2014). "The Death of the .300 Hitter". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  6. ^ Dwyre, Bill (September 29, 2011). "This is the way to go out hitting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  7. ^ Saccoman, John. "Ed Delahanty". The Baseball Biography Project. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  8. ^ "Rogers Hornsby". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Lamb, Bill. "Hugh Duffy". The Baseball Biography Project. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  10. ^ Appel, Marty (March 18, 1999). Slide, Kelly, Slide: The Wild Life and Times of Mike King Kelly. Scarecrow Press. p. 25. ISBN 9781461671206. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  11. ^ Willis, Jasmine (November 11, 2015). "The legend the Baseball Hall of Fame forgot". Genesee Country Express. Archived from the original on November 16, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  12. ^ Mancuso, Peter. "Tuck Turner's Magical 1894 Phillies Season". The National Pastime. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  13. ^ Shenk, Larry (September 19, 2010). "Profile from the past: Ed Delahanty". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved October 17, 2016. The Phillies' outfield in 1894 had four players that hit .400 or better, Delahanty (.404, 116 games), Thompson (.407, 102 games), Hamilton (.404, 132 games) and Tuck Turner (.416, 82 games).
  14. ^ "Most Valuable Player MVP Awards & Cy Young Awards Winners". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Triple Crown Winners". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "1911 AL Batting Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  17. ^ Fleitz, David. "Shoeless Joe Jackson". The Baseball Biography Project. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  18. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Batting Average". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  19. ^ Pennington, Bill (September 17, 2011). "Ted Williams's .406 Is More Than a Number". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  20. ^ Brown, Justin (September 17, 2011). "Why no one bats .400 anymore". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  21. ^ Svrluga, Barry (June 20, 2016). "Why batting .400 has become baseball's unhittable benchmark". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 22, 2016. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  22. ^ Singer, Tom (September 17, 2010). "Summer of .400: Brett looks back 30 years later". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Archived from the original on March 6, 2017. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  23. ^ Sanders, Jeff (August 4, 2014). "Gwynn's chase for .400 still revered". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on March 5, 2017. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  24. ^ Reusse, Patrick (December 24, 2016). "Twins should consider a celebration of Rod Carew's pursuit of .400". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  25. ^ "Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  26. ^ "Rules for Election". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  27. ^ a b "Ross Barnes Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  28. ^ a b "Tuck Turner Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  29. ^ Robinson, Mandrallius (September 1, 2015). "Shoeless Joe remains banned from MLB, Hall of Fame". The Greenville News. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  30. ^ "The Chicago Black Sox banned from baseball". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. November 19, 2003. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  31. ^ "Fred Dunlap Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  32. ^ "Tip O'Neill Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  33. ^ "Pete Browning Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Sam Thompson Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  35. ^ "Hugh Duffy Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  36. ^ a b c "Ed Delahanty Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  37. ^ "Billy Hamilton Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  38. ^ a b "Jesse Burkett Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  39. ^ "Hughie Jennings Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  40. ^ "Willie Keeler Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  41. ^ "Nap Lajoie Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  42. ^ a b c "Ty Cobb Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  43. ^ "Shoeless Joe Jackson Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  44. ^ a b "George Sisler Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  45. ^ "Oscar Charleston Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  46. ^ a b c "Rogers Hornsby Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  47. ^ "Biz Mackey Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  48. ^ "Harry Heilmann Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  49. ^ "Oscar Charleston Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  50. ^ "Oscar Charleston Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  51. ^ "Mule Suttles Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  52. ^ "Red Parnell Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  53. ^ "Jud Wilson Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  54. ^ "Chino Smith Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  55. ^ "Bill Terry Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  56. ^ "Buddy Burbage Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 15, 2022.
  57. ^ "Ray Dandridge Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  58. ^ "Ted Williams Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  59. ^ "Tetelo Vargas Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 14, 2022.
  60. ^ "Josh Gibson Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 15, 2022.
  61. ^ "Artie Wilson Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved July 15, 2022.