Batting average

From BR Bullpen

Batting average, abbreviated BA, is the number of hits gotten by a player divided by his number of at bats. Batting average has long been viewed as the primary measure of a batter's skill, so that the batting title is awarded to the batter with the highest average, rather than to one who scores or drives in the most runs. Advocates of sabermetrics have challenged the primacy of batting average, but it remains the key batting statistic in the eyes of most fans and players.

When the concept of the batting average was invented, in the middle of the 19th century, pitchers threw slowly enough that there were few walks given (3.5% in 1871 as opposed to 8.6% in 2023), and so batting average was closer to on-base percentage. In addition, there were fewer extra-base hits(26.4% in 1871 as opposed to 36.2% in 2023), so batting average and slugging percentage were much closer than today. As a result, batting average was a much more meaningful statistic in the days of Henry Chadwick than it is today.

At bats are the total of hits and outs. The total does not include walks, times hit by pitch, sacrifice hits, nor sacrifice flies.

All Time Leaders
Span Player Total Notes
MLB Career Ty Cobb .367  
Season Hugh Duffy .438 1894
Season (since 1901) Nap Lajoie .426 1901
Pro Career Ox Eckhardt .366  
Minor League Career Ike Boone .370  
Minor League Season Willie Aikens .454 1986; full-season record
Minor League Season Gary Redus .462 1978; short-season record
NPB Career Leron Lee .320 4,000 AB min.
NPB Career Ichiro Suzuki .353 2,000 AB min.
NPB Season Randy Bass .389 1986
Cuban National League Career Osmani Urrutia .370 through 2006-2007
Cuban National League Season Osmani Urrutia .469 2003-2004
KBO Season Jinten Haku .412 1982
Italian Career Giorgio Castelli .421  
Italian Season Giorgio Castelli .510 1978
AAGPBL Career Joanne Weaver .359 1,000 AB min.
AAGPBL Season Joanne Weaver .429 1954

Further Reading[edit]

  • Douglas Jordan and David Macias: "Team batting Average: A Comprehensive Analysis", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 48, Number 1 (Spring 2019), pp. 64-69.
  • Herm Krabbenhoft: "Emeritus Members of the Career .300 Hitters Club (1920-2022)", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 51, Number 2 (Fall 2022), pp. 19-25.

See Also[edit]