.360 is the new .400

by

Kenneth Matinale

e-mail: ken@matinale.net

Last updated: October 14, 2011

Click here to view the underling data, which was derived from baseball-reference.com.

Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams is best known as the last .400 hitter.  He probably is both the most recent and also the last.  A .400 batting average (BA) is very unlikely to be achieved again by a MLB batter who qualifies for leadership in a season.

Williams batted .406 in 1941, 70 years ago.  Since then the equivalent is a BA of .360.

In 1903 the American League (AL) joined the National League (NL) and made a foul ball either strike one or strike two.  There were 39 seasons from 1903 through 1941.  In those 39 seasons a BA of .400 or higher was achieved 12 times starting in 1911.

From 1942 through 2011 there have been 70 seasons.  Based on the number of years and the number of teams per year a prorated number comparable with a few extra to extend it through 2018 would be 35 seasons.  In other words, the top 35 BA since 1941 equate to the 12 .400 seasons.

Those top 35 seasons can be represented by a BA of .360 or higher.  Therefore, .360 is the new .400.

Some observations on the two groups of batters:

Among the .400 hitters:

Rogers Hornsby and Ty Cobb hit .400 three times each.  George Sisler did it twice.  That's 8 of the 12.  The other four belong to Shoeless Joe Jackson, Harry Heilmann, Bill Terry and Ted Williams who had the seventh highest BA.  Cobb and Jackson were the first in 1911.

BA League

high: .292 1922 NL

low: .265 1912 AL

BA Difference between player and league:

high: Ty Cobb 1911 .14653157423559

low: Rogers Hornsby 1922 .10908898719806

BA percent difference between player and league:

high: Ty Cobb 1912 54.35%

low: Rogers Hornsby 1922 37.33%

BA:

high: Hornsby 1924 .42350746268657

low: Hornsby 1922 .40114068441065

OBP (on base percentage):

high: Williams .553

low: Sisler 1920 .449

SLG (slugging average):

high: Hornsby 1925 .756

low: Cobb 1922 .565

OPS (OBP+SLG):

high: Williams 1.287

low: Cobb 1922 1.026

HR:

high:  Hornsby 1922 42

low: Cobb 1922 4

Williams had 147 BB followed by Hornsby's 89 in 1924.  Williams had the fewest hits, AB, 3B, SH, SB.  Bill Terry had the most PA and AB.  Cobb scored both the most and the fewest runs.  In 1922 Cobb has the most SH: 27; Williams was the only player with zero SH.

Williams was seventh in BA among the .400 hitters and 4th and 14th among the .360 group of 35, the only player in both groups.  Here are Williams top entries in each group with percent above AL BA:

1941 .40570175438596 52.24% (.52244066810779)

1957 .38809523809524 52.25% (.52246610874568)

Among the .360 hitters from 1942-2011:

BA League

high: .276 2000 AL

low: .252 1971 NL

BA Difference between player and league:

high: Ted Williams 1957 .13318300335592

low: Magglio Ordonez .092493624011024

BA percent difference between player and league:

high: Ted Williams 1957 52.25%

low: Magglio Ordonez 34.19%

BA:

high: Tony Gwynn 1994 .39379474940334 (only 475 PA in strike shortened season)

low: Norm Cash .3607476635514

OBP (on base percentage):

high: Bonds .609

low: Andres Galarraga .403

SLG (slugging average):

high: Bonds .812

low: Carew 1974 .446

OPS (OBP+SLG):

high: Bonds 1.422

low: Ichiro Suzuki .869

HR:

high: Larry Walker 1997 49

low: Harry Walker 1 (also fewest RBI (41) and most SH (18))

Multiple BA >= .360 1942-2011:

Tony Gwynn 4

Wade Boggs 4

Ted Williams 2

Stan Musial 2

Rod Carew 2

Larry Walker 2

Ten of the 35 .360 BA had OPS less than 1.000.

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