In baseball, batting average (BA) is determined by dividing a player's hits by their total at-bats. It is usually rounded to three decimal places and read without the decimal: A player with a batting average of .300 is "batting three-hundred". If necessary to break ties, batting averages could be taken beyond the .001 measurement. In this context, .001 is considered a "point", such that a .235 batter is 5 points higher than a .230 batter.
Henry Chadwick, an English statistician raised on cricket, was an influential figure in the early history of baseball.In the late 19th century he adapted the concept behind the cricket batting average to devise a similar statistic for baseball. Rather than simply copy cricket's formulation of runs scored divided by outs, he realized that hits divided by at bats would provide a better measure of individual batting ability. This is because while in cricket, scoring runs is almost entirely dependent on one's batting skill, in baseball it is largely dependent on having other good hitters on one's team. Chadwick noted that hits are independent of teammates' skills, so he used this as the basis for the baseball batting average. His reason for using at bats rather than outs is less obvious, but it leads to the intuitive idea of the batting average being a percentage reflecting how often a batter gets on base, whereas hits divided by outs are not as simple to interpret in real terms.
In modern times, a season batting average of .300 or higher is considered to be excellent, and an average higher than .400 a nearly unachievable goal. The last Major League Baseball (MLB) player to do so, with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting championship, was Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox, who hit .406 in 1941.Note that batting averages are rounded; entering the final day of the 1941 season, Williams was at 179-for-448, which is .39955 and would have been recorded as .400 via rounding. However, Williams played in both games of a doubleheader, went 6-for-8, and ended the season 185-for-456, which is .40570 and becomes .406 when rounded.
Since 1941, the highest single-season average has been .394 by Tony Gwynn of the San Diego Padres in 1994.Wade Boggs hit .401 over a 162-game span with Boston from June 9, 1985, to June 6, 1986, but never hit above .368 for an MLB season. There have been numerous attempts to explain the disappearance of the .400 hitter, with one of the more rigorous discussions of this question appearing in Stephen Jay Gould's 1996 book Full House .
Ty Cobb holds the record for highest career batting average with .366, eight points higher than Rogers Hornsby who has the second-highest career average at .358.The record for lowest career batting average for a player with more than 2,500 at-bats belongs to Bill Bergen, a catcher who played from 1901 to 1911 and recorded a .170 average in 3,028 career at-bats. Hugh Duffy, who played from 1888 to 1906, is credited with the highest single-season batting average, having hit .440 in 1894. The modern-era (post-1900) record for highest batting average for a season is held by Nap Lajoie, who hit .426 in 1901, the first year of play for the American League. The modern-era record for lowest batting average for a player that qualified for the batting title is held by Chris Davis, who hit .168 in 2018. While finishing six plate appearances short of qualifying for the batting title, Adam Dunn of the Chicago White Sox hit .159 for the 2011 season, nine points lower than the record. The highest batting average for a rookie was .408 in 1911 by Shoeless Joe Jackson.
The league batting average in MLB for the 2018 season was .248, with the highest modern-era MLB average being .296 in 1930, and the lowest being .237 in 1968.For non-pitchers, a batting average below .230 is often considered poor, and one below .200 is usually unacceptable. This latter level is sometimes referred to as "The Mendoza Line", named for Mario Mendoza — a lifetime .215 hitter but a good defensive shortstop.
Sabermetrics, the study of baseball statistics, considers batting average a weak measure of performance because it does not correlate as well as other measures to runs scored, thereby causing it to have little predictive value. Batting average does not take into account bases on balls (walks) or power, whereas other statistics such as on-base percentage and slugging percentage have been specifically designed to measure such concepts. Adding these statistics together form a player's on-base plus slugging or "OPS". This is commonly seen as a much better, though not perfect, indicator of a player's overall batting ability as it is a measure of hitting for average, hitting for power, and drawing walks.
In 1887, bases on balls were counted as hits by the major leagues in existence at the time. This inflated batting averages, with 11 players batting .400 or better, and the experiment was abandoned the following season. Historical statistics for the season were later revised, such that "Bases on balls shall always be treated as neither a time at bat nor a hit for the batter."
In rare instances, MLB players have concluded their careers with a perfect batting average of 1.000. John Paciorek had three hits in all three of his turns at bat.Esteban Yan went two-for-two, including a home run. Hal Deviney's two hits in his only plate appearances included a triple, while Steve Biras, Mike Hopkins, Chet Kehn, Jason Roach and Fred Schemanske also went two-for-two. A few dozen others have hit safely in their only career at-bat.
The MLB batting averages championships (often referred to as "the batting title") are awarded annually to the player in each league who has the highest batting average. Ty Cobb holds the MLB and American League (AL) record for most batting titles, officially winning 11 in his career.The National League (NL) record of eight batting titles is shared by Honus Wagner and Tony Gwynn. Most of Cobb's career and all of Wagner's career took place in what is known as the Dead-Ball Era, which was characterized by higher batting averages by star players (although the overall league batting average was historically at its lowest during that era) and much less power, whereas Gwynn's career took place in the Live-Ball Era.
To determine which players are eligible to win the batting title, the following conditions have been used over the sport's history:
From 1967 to the present, if the player with the highest average in a league fails to meet the minimum plate-appearance requirement, the remaining at-bats until qualification (e.g., five at-bats, if the player finished the season with 497 plate appearances) are hypothetically considered hitless at-bats; if his recalculated batting average still tops the league, he is awarded the title. This is officially Rule 10.22(a), but it is also known as the Tony Gwynn rule because the Padres' player won the batting crown in 1996 with a .353 average on just 498 plate appearances (i.e., he was four short). Gwynn was awarded the title since he would have led the league even if he'd gone 0-for-4 in those missing plate appearances. His average would have dropped to .349, five points better than second-place Ellis Burks' .344.In 2012, a one-time amendment to the rule was made to disqualify Melky Cabrera from the title. Cabrera requested that he be disqualified after serving a suspension that season for a positive testosterone test. He had batted .346 with 501 plate appearances, and the original rule would have awarded him the title over San Francisco Giants teammate Buster Posey, who won batting .336.
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.The below table presents the top ten lists as they appear in four well-known sources, with the rankings and degree of precision (decimal places) as provided in the source. The main article linked above is sourced from Baseball-Reference.com, which is also presented here. None of the players listed below are still living; each is an inductee of the Baseball Hall of Fame, except for Lefty O'Doul, Pete Browning, and Shoeless Joe Jackson (who is ineligible due to his alleged role in the Black Sox Scandal of 1919).
|1||Ty Cobb||.3662||1||Ty Cobb||.36636||1||Ty Cobb||.366||1||Ty Cobb||.367|
|2||Oscar Charleston||.3643||2||Rogers Hornsby||.35850||2||Rogers Hornsby||.358||2||Rogers Hornsby||.358|
|3||Rogers Hornsby||.3585||3||Shoeless Joe Jackson||.35575||3||Shoeless Joe Jackson||.356||3||Ed Delahanty||.346|
|4||Shoeless Joe Jackson||.3558||4||Ed Delahanty||.34590||4||Ed Delahanty||.346||4||Tris Speaker||.345|
|5||Jud Wilson||.3519||5||Tris Speaker||.34468||5||Tris Speaker||.345||5||Ted Williams||.344|
|6||Lefty O'Doul||.3493||6||Ted Williams||.34441||6||Billy Hamilton||.344||6||Billy Hamilton||.344|
|7||Turkey Stearnes||.3490||7||Billy Hamilton||.34429||Ted Williams||.344||7||Dan Brouthers||.342|
|8||Ed Delahanty||.3458||8||Babe Ruth||.34206||8||Dan Brouthers||.342||8||Babe Ruth||.342|
|9||Tris Speaker||.3447||9||Harry Heilmann||.34159||Harry Heilmann||.342||9||Harry Heilmann||.342|
|10||Billy Hamilton||.3444||10||Pete Browning||.34149||Babe Ruth||.342||10||Willie Keeler||.341|
The highest recorded single-season batting average in Minor League Baseball is .462, accomplished by Gary Redus in 1978, when he played for the Billings Mustangs,an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds in the Rookie Advanced-level Pioneer League. Redus was 117-for-253 in 68 games, as the Pioneer League only plays from June to early September. Redus went on to play in MLB from 1982 through 1994, batting .252 during his MLB career.
This section needs to be updated. The reason given is: Aoki's average has dropped and it is unclear if he is still the career leader.(August 2022)
In Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), the leader in career batting average is Nori Aoki, an active player who has hit .317 in his NPB career, as of August 2022 [update] . [ better source needed ] Aoki played in MLB from 2012 to 2017, where he compiled a .285 batting average. Ichiro Suzuki batted .353 in NPB, but does not have enough NPB career at-bats to qualify for that league's title.
George Howard Brett is an American former professional baseball player who played all of his 21 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a third baseman for the Kansas City Royals.
Anthony Keith Gwynn Sr., nicknamed "Mr. Padre", was an American professional baseball right fielder, who played 20 seasons (1982–2001) in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the San Diego Padres. The left-handed hitting Gwynn won eight batting titles in his career, tied for the most in National League (NL) history. He is considered one of the best and most consistent hitters in baseball history. Gwynn had a .338 career batting average, never hitting below .309 in any full season. He was a 15-time All-Star, recognized for his skills both on offense and defense with seven Silver Slugger Awards and five Gold Glove Awards. Gwynn was the rare player in his era that stayed with a single team his entire career, and he played in the only two World Series appearances in San Diego's franchise history. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility.
Larry Kenneth Robert Walker is a Canadian former professional baseball right fielder. During his 17-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career, he played with the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies, and St. Louis Cardinals. In 1997, he became the only player in major league history to register both a .700 slugging percentage (SLG) and 30 stolen bases in the same season, on his way to winning the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player Award (MVP). The first player in more than 60 years to record a batting average of .360 in three consecutive seasons from 1997 to 1999, Walker also won three NL batting championships. He was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in the Class of 2009, and was named the 13th-greatest sporting figure from Canada by Sports Illustrated in 1999. In 2020, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
José Miguel Cabrera Torres, nicknamed "Miggy", is a Venezuelan professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball (MLB). Since his debut in 2003 he has been a two-time American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) award winner, a four-time AL batting champion, and a 12-time MLB All-Star. He has played at first and third base for most of his major league career, but primarily played left and right field before 2006. He claimed the 17th MLB Triple Crown in 2012, the first to do so in 45 seasons. In 2022, Cabrera became the third player in history with a career batting average above .300, 500 home runs, and 3,000 hits, joining Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.
James Calvin Rollins, nicknamed "J-Roll", is an American former professional baseball shortstop, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Philadelphia Phillies (2000–2014), Los Angeles Dodgers (2015), and Chicago White Sox (2016).
Matthew Henry Murton is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, and Colorado Rockies. Murton also played in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Hanshin Tigers.
Calvin Wayne Emery, was a professional baseball first baseman and batting coach, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Philadelphia Phillies. He also spent the 1970 season with Hankyu Braves of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). During his playing days, Emery stood 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall, weighing 205 pounds (93 kg); he threw and batted left-handed. Emery attended Penn State University.
Gregory Mark LaRocca is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) second baseman who played for the San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians between 2000 and 2003. He also played in the Nippon Professional Baseball league from 2004 to 2010.
Richard Ryan Short is an American former professional baseball second baseman who was the co-Hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Washington Nationals and in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Chiba Lotte Marines and the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He bats and throws right-handed. He is an alumnus of Western Illinois University and Larkin High School in Elgin, IL.
Wladimir Ramon Balentien, nicknamed "Coco", is a Curaçaoan-Dutch professional baseball outfielder who is currently a free agent. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds, and in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
Asdrúbal José Cabrera is a Venezuelan-American professional baseball infielder who is currently a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds. Cabrera, a switch hitter, is a two-time All-Star. He was primarily a middle infielder for most of his career, but transitioned to playing more third base during the 2017 season and began playing first base late in the 2019 season.
The Houston Astros' 1994 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the inaugural season of the National League Central division; they finished in second place. First baseman Jeff Bagwell was a unanimous selection for the National League Most Valuable Player Award. Despite nearly the last two months of the being cancelled due to the 1994–95 strike, Bagwell set a then-club record for home runs with 39 and a club record for batting average (.368) and slugging percentage (.750).
Dae-ho Lee is a former South Korean professional baseball player who played as a first baseman for the Lotte Giants of the KBO League. Lee had previously played for the Orix Buffaloes and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), and the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball (MLB).
Justin Kyle Smoak is an American professional baseball first baseman who is currently a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers, and San Francisco Giants and in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Yomiuri Giants.
Jeff McNeil, nicknamed "Squirrel" or "Flying Squirrel", is an American professional baseball utility player for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). In 2022, he won the MLB Batting Title and the Silver Slugger Award.
recorded batting averages are rounded to three decimal places
All-Time Totals, sorted by AVG