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Latest-in-season .400 bids since Ted Williams

@SlangsOnSports
June 13, 2019

Hitting .400 for a season is quite the feat. In fact, no qualified hitter has done it since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. Many have tried in that span, but none has succeeded. This year, we saw Cody Bellinger hit .404 through the Dodgers’ 49th game of the season,

Hitting .400 for a season is quite the feat. In fact, no qualified hitter has done it since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. Many have tried in that span, but none has succeeded. This year, we saw Cody Bellinger hit .404 through the Dodgers’ 49th game of the season, but be unable to extend that to the Dodgers’ 50th game or beyond.

Here are the most games into a season that a qualified player has hit at least .400 in each campaign since Williams’ 1941 mark, with help from the Elias Sports Bureau. The player's final batting average for that year is in parentheses:

2018: April 14 (12 games) -- Robinson Cano, SEA (.303). He didn’t qualify for the batting title, but Cano’s average was his best since 2014.

2017: May 9 (33 games) -- Ryan Zimmerman, WSH (.303). Zimmerman’s average was the second-highest in any full season of his career (he hit .307 in 2010).

2016: May 15 (38 games) -- Daniel Murphy, WSH (.347). Murphy’s average was the best of his career, but he didn’t even win a batting title, finishing second in the NL, and overall, to DJ LeMahieu -- who hit .348.

2015: May 19 (40 games) -- Dee Gordon, MIA (.333). Gordon won the NL batting title, the second by a Marlins player, joining Hanley Ramirez (2009).

2014: May 17 (44 games) -- Troy Tulowitzki, COL (.340). Tulowitzki's final batting average was his highest in any season of his career.

2013: April 26 (22 games) -- Chris Johnson, ATL (.321). Johnson's final batting average was the highest of his career.

2012: May 24 (45 games) -- David Wright, NYM (.306). This was one of Wright’s six career qualified seasons with a .300 or better batting average, two more than anyone else in Mets history.

2011: May 6 (33 games) -- Matt Holliday, STL (.296). Holliday had a .312 batting average the year before in 2010, and he wouldn’t post an average higher than .300 in any of the remaining seasons of his career.

2010: April 30 (22 games) -- Robinson Cano, NYY (.319). Cano had hit .320 a year before. This was his second in a stretch of six straight seasons that he compiled at least a .300 average.

2009: May 21 (42 games) -- Victor Martinez, CLE/BOS (.303). This was one of eight seasons in Martinez’s career that he finished with a .300 or better batting average.

2008: June 18 (73 games) -- Chipper Jones, ATL (.364). Jones led the Majors with his average this year, winning the only batting title of his career and first by a Braves player since Terry Pendleton in 1991.

2007: May 6 (29 games) -- Derrek Lee, CHC (.317). Two years removed from his 2005 batting title, Lee posted the second-best average of his career.

2006: May 3 (29 games) -- Miguel Tejada, BAL (.330). Tejada’s average was the highest of his career, and he finished fourth for the AL batting title (Joe Mauer won it with a .347 average).

2005: May 13 (33 games) -- Clint Barmes, COL (.289). Barmes' highest batting average in a season when he played at least 15 games was .290 in 2008. This '05 average fell just shy.

2004: May 8 (31 games) -- Barry Bonds, SF (.362). This was Bonds' second-best average of his career, and he won his second batting title along the way.

2003: May 4 (29 games) -- Jim Edmonds, STL (.275). Edmonds had hit at least .300 in each of the two previous seasons and in four seasons of his career to that point, but 2003 did not end up being another of those years.

2002: April 23 (20 games) -- Barry Bonds, SF (.370). Both times Bonds won the batting title -- in 2002 and '04 -- he was the last man standing hitting .400 for that season. In '02, he led the Majors in batting average.

2001: May 26 (47 games) -- Manny Ramirez, BOS (.306). This was the third of six straight seasons in which Ramirez hit at least .300. He would go on to win the 2002 AL batting title with a .349 average.

2000: July 20 (91 games) -- Nomar Garciaparra, BOS (.372). Garciaparra won his second straight batting title in 2000, becoming the first Red Sox player to win consecutively since Wade Boggs won four straight from 1985-88.

1999: June 28 (78 games) -- Tony Fernandez, TOR (.328). Fernandez’s average was the highest of his career, and it came in his age-37 season.

1998: May 14 (39 games) -- Ivan Rodriguez, TEX (.321). Including injury-shortened seasons, the Hall of Famer hit .300 or better in eight straight years, with this being the fourth in that streak. He finished eighth for the AL batting title (Bernie Williams won it with a .339 average).

1997: July 17 (96 games) -- Larry Walker, COL (.366). Walker led the Majors in OPS and slugging percentage in his MVP season, but he didn’t win the NL batting title, thanks to Tony Gwynn’s .372. Walker would win the batting title the following year.

1996: June 10 (59 games) -- Roberto Alomar, BAL (.328). Alomar hit .300 or better in seven qualified seasons of his career, but never won a batting title, topping out at .336 in 2001, when Ichiro Suzuki won in the AL at .350.

1995: May 28 (31 games) -- Matt Williams, SF (.336). Williams ended up playing in just 76 games in 1995, missing time with a fractured right foot. He hit .303 in '99, the only qualified season of his career with a .300 or better average.

1994: June 16 (63 games) -- Paul O’Neill, NYY (.359). O’Neill went on to win the only batting title of his career, finishing his season with a 1.064 OPS, too. Gwynn hit .394 in 1994, but it was O'Neill who was hitting .400 later into the season that year -- Gwynn just maintained a higher average after dropping below .400.

1993: Aug. 2 (107 games) -- John Olerud, TOR (.363). Olerud’s 1993 batting title is the only one in Blue Jays history. He hit 54 doubles that year, nine more than anyone else in the Majors and 12 more than any other AL player. His own teammate Devon White was second with 42.

1992: May 2 (23 games) -- John Kruk, PHI (.323). Kruk's average was a career high. He hit .300 on the dot for his career, famously getting a hit in his first at-bat on July 30, 1995, in what would be his final game, then leaving the game, making him 1-for-1 that day.

1991: May 12 (29 games) -- Hal Morris, CIN (.318). Fresh off a 1990 World Series victory with the Reds, Morris got off to a hot start in 1991. He finished his career with a .304 batting average in more than 4,400 plate appearances across 13 years.

1990: June 11, DH Game 1 (55 games) -- Lenny Dykstra, PHI (.325). This was Dykstra’s first full season in Philadelphia, and he posted the highest average of his career. He was also an All-Star for the first time.

1989: April 30 (22 games) -- Pete O’Brien, CLE (.260). O’Brien never hit higher than .290 for a season in his career. He spent the 1989 season with the Indians after being traded from the Rangers in a deal for a 30-year-old Julio Franco entering that year.

1988: June 6 (55 games) -- Carney Lansford, OAK (.279). Lansford had hit .336 in 1981, leading the AL, but he had never been an All-Star until '88, when he hit .331 in the first half.

1987: May 5 (26 games) -- Eric Davis, CIN (.293). Davis' 1987 average stood as his career best from then, his age-25 season, all the way until his age-35 season 10 years later, when he hit .304 in 42 games. He managed two other .300 seasons in his career, in 1998 and 2000, though '98 was the only one where he qualified for the batting title, which he did not win.

1986: June 7 (54 games) -- Wade Boggs, BOS (.357). Boggs hit .300 in every season he played except for three, and 1986 was not one of the three. He won his second straight batting title in a streak that would reach four. Overall, he totaled five in his career, also winning in '83 before the streak began in '85.

1985: April 30 (20 games) -- Julio Franco, CLE (.288). Franco played 23 big league seasons and won one batting title: in 1991 with the Rangers, when he hit .341 to lead not only the AL, but all of baseball, in batting average.

1984: May 18 (38 games) -- Terry Francona, MON (.346). Francona never qualified for the batting title in any season of his career, but he did hit .346 in 223 plate appearances in 1984.

1983: July 13 (85 games) -- Rod Carew, CAL (.339). From 1969, Carew’s third season in the Majors, through '83, Carew’s third-to-last season in the Majors, he hit at least .300 each year. His .339 average in '83 was the last time he’d do that, hitting .295 and then .280 in his final two seasons.

1982: May 2 (20 games) -- Eddie Murray, BAL (.316). This was one of seven seasons in which Murray recorded at least a .300 average. He never won a batting title, thanks to an oddity. In 1990 with the Dodgers, Murray led the Majors with a .330 batting average. But Willie McGee, who had been traded from the NL’s Cardinals to the AL’s A’s during the season, had hit .335 as a Cardinal. He won the NL batting title, as he’d been a qualified NL hitter at the time of the trade, meaning his .335 average was set and in the running. Had Murray batted .336, he would’ve won it over McGee’s partial season.

1981: May 9 DH Game 1 & May 2 (22 games) -- Ken Singleton, BAL (.278) & Richie Zisk, SEA (.311). Their teams played their 22nd games of the season on different dates, but in 1981, both Singleton and Zisk were hitting .400 through that many games, before dipping below for the rest of the season.

1980: Sept. 4 (134 games) -- George Brett, KC (.390). Brett’s 1980 season represents the latest that a qualified hitter has been at .400 since Williams’ 1941 season. It’s one of just two 100-plus-game bids, along with Olerud’s 1993 season.

1979: May 27 (39 games) -- Steve Kemp, DET (.318). This was the best season of Kemp’s career. He hit .318 with 4.2 WAR, according to Baseball Reference. Kemp didn’t post a batting average higher than .293 in any other season of his 11-year career.

1978: May 22 (40 games) -- Rod Carew, MIN (.333). Carew is on this list a lot. Six times, to be exact. He was the last qualified hitter left hitting .400 in six different seasons since 1942, three more than any other hitter.

1977: July 10 (85 games) -- Rod Carew, MIN (.388). Not only did Carew remain the latest .400 batting average standing the most since 1942, his bids were long. He had two of the seven 85-plus-game bids, and no other hitter had multiple such seasons.

1976: May 25 (33 games) -- Ron LeFlore, DET (.316). LeFlore had hit .259 in 195 games in the first two seasons of his career in 1974 and '75, but got off to a strong start in '76 and made his first and only All-Star team as a result. His .316 average would end up being one of three .300 seasons in his career.

1975: June 16 (56 games) -- Rod Carew, MIN (.359). Carew won his fifth of seven total batting titles in 1975, leading the Majors, too. He hit 14 home runs that year, which was a career-high mark he’d tie two years later.

1974: June 27 (71 games) -- Rod Carew, MIN (.364). Carew’s .364 average stands as the fifth-highest by a qualified hitter in franchise history. He also holds the top spot, with his .388 average in 1977. Carew had four qualified seasons for the Twins with a .350 or better batting average. The only other player to have even two with them was Goose Goslin, in 1926 and '28 when the team was the Senators.

1973: May 1 (19 games) -- Ron Fairly, MON (.298). Fairly played 21 seasons at the Major League level, appearing in 2,442 games and amassing a .266 batting average. His .298 average in 1973 was the third-highest in a season of his career.

1972: May 13 (23 games) -- Bobby Tolan, CIN (.283). Tolan had hit .305 in 1969 and .316 in '70 before missing the entire '71 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, which happened while playing basketball on a charity team with other Reds players in the offseason. Tolan won Comeback Player of the Year honors in '72 as well as the Hutch Award.

1971: May 20 (39 games) -- Ralph Garr, ATL (.343). Garr finished second to Joe Torre (.363) for the batting title. Garr's mark was the second-highest of his career, as he’d go on to hit .353 in 1974 and lead the NL that time around.

1970: June 17 (59 games) -- Rico Carty, ATL (.366). Carty was a .299 hitter for his career, and he put up his best season in 1970 for the Braves. He led the Majors with his .366 average and was an All-Star for the first and only time in his career.

1969: May 31 (44 games) -- Rod Carew, MIN (.332). Carew hit .283 over the first two seasons of his career, but that all changed in 1969. He went on to hit .338 in 1,985 games from 1969-83, including the aforementioned six times he was the last .400 batter standing.

1968: May 6 (23 games) -- Pete Rose, CIN (.335). Considering Rose finished his career with a record 4,256 hits, it should be no surprise that he’s on this list. This season was the only time he was the final remaining .400 hitter, though.

1967: May 20 (31 games) -- Roberto Clemente, PIT (.357). Clemente won one of four batting titles in 1967, finishing with a career-best average.

1966: May 17 (25 games) -- Tony Oliva, MIN (.307). Oliva had won the AL batting title in each of the previous two seasons, but did not win in 1966 -- that honor belonged to Frank Robinson (.316).

1965: May 19 (33 games) -- Willie Mays, SF (.317). Mays was the last remaining .400 hitter three times, tied with Stan Musial for second-most behind Carew’s six.

1964: June 7 (47 games) -- Billy Williams, CHC (.312). The 1964 season was one of three times in Williams’ career that he reached 200 hits, along with '65 and '70.

1963: April 28 (19 games) -- Felipe Alou, SF (.281). Alou had hit .316 and been an All-Star for the first time in his career in 1962, and he got off to a hot start in '63, managing his second straight 20-homer season.

1962: May 3 (21 games) -- Floyd Robinson, CWS (.312). Robinson’s .312 average in 1962 was the highest of his career. He led the AL with 45 doubles that year, but he didn’t hit more than 21 doubles in any other season of his career.

1961: May 9 (22 games) -- Johnny Temple, CLE (.276). Temple’s .276 average was fourth among qualified hitters on the 1961 Indians. Jim Piersall led the team at .322, in a year that the Tigers’ Norm Cash (.361) won the batting title in the AL.

1960: May 11 (23 games) -- Willie Mays, SF (.319). This was Mays’ fourth straight season batting at least .300, in a streak that would reach seven straight. He hit .300 in 10 seasons for the Giants overall, tied with Mel Ott and Bill Terry for the most such qualified seasons in franchise history.

1959: June 15 (60 games) -- Hank Aaron, MLN (.355). Aaron won the second of his two career batting titles in 1959, with a career-best average. He led the Majors in both batting average and hits, with 223.

1958: June 11 (54 games) -- Willie Mays, SF (.347). Mays’ .347 batting average in 1958 was the highest of his career. Though he didn’t win the batting title, he did lead the Majors with 31 stolen bases. He finished second to Ernie Banks in NL MVP voting, but WAR now shows us that he had 1.0 more WAR than Banks that year.

1957: June 5 (46 games) -- Ted Williams, BOS (.388). Though his bid at .400 didn’t even make it 50 games, WIlliams did finish with his second-highest average in any qualified season of his career. If he’d been able to hit .400 again, he would’ve joined Rogers Hornsby (3), Ty Cobb (3) and George Sisler (2) as players with multiple qualified .400 seasons in the modern era (since 1900).

1956: June 8 (49 games) -- Mickey Mantle, NYY (.353). Mantle won the Triple Crown in 1956, hitting .353 with 52 home runs and 130 RBIs. He actually had a higher average in '57, hitting .365, but he was bested by Williams’ .388.

1955: May 29 DH Game 1 (41 games) -- Richie Ashburn, PHI (.338). Ashburn won the batting title, one of two he’d win in his career, and led the Majors in on-base percentage, too.

1954: May 2 (16 games) -- Stan Musial, STL (.330). Musial, like Mays, is on this list three times, but the 1954 season was his shortest bid of those three. He led the Majors with 41 doubles and led the NL with 120 runs scored that year.

1953: May 26 (25 games) -- George Kell, BOS (.307). Kell won a batting title in his career, but it wasn’t in 1953, it was in '49, when he hit .343 to lead the Majors. His average never reached .400 in that 1949 season.

1952: May 10 DH Game 1 (18 games) -- Jackie Robinson, BRO (.308). Robinson won just one batting title in his career, in 1949 when he hit .342 and won MVP, but he was the last player with a .400 average in a season in two straight seasons in '51 and '52.

1951: June 3 (44 games) -- Jackie Robinson, BRO (.338). Robinson’s .338 average in 1951 was no match for Musial’s .355 output. Robinson finished third, behind Musial and Ashburn, who hit .344.

1950: June 1 (37 games) -- Stan Musial, STL (.346). Musial won his first of three straight batting titles in 1950. Overall, Musial won seven batting titles in his career.

1949: May 15 DH Game 1 (19 games) -- Dale Mitchell, CLE (.317). Mitchell had hit .336 in 1948. In this subsequent season, he ended up with an MLB-leading 23 triples and AL-leading 203 hits overall.

1948: July 11 (76 games) -- Stan Musial, STL (.376). Musial’s .376 average in 1948 was the highest in any qualified season of his career. He hit .300 or better in 17 qualified seasons in his career, third-most in the modern era (since 1900), behind Ty Cobb (21) and Tris Speaker (18).

1947: May 23 (32 games) -- Harry Walker, STL/PHI (.363). Walker, who was traded from the Cardinals to the Phillies on May 3, in the midst of this bid, finished the season with the only batting title of his career. It was the only qualified season of his career with a batting average above .300.

1946: May 26 (34 games) -- Mickey Vernon, WSH (.353). Vernon won the 1946 batting title in the AL. Seven years later, he’d win it again, hitting .337 for the Senators.

1945: July 8 (74 games) -- Tommy Holmes, BSN (.352). Over a five-season span from 1944-48, Holmes hit .321 in 747 games. This was his best season, by far.

1944: June 16 (53 games) -- Dixie Walker, BRO (.357). Walker, who had debuted at 20 years old in 1931, won the first and only batting title of his career in his age-33 season in '44.

1943: June 5 (34 games) -- Vern Stephens, SLB (.289). Stephens was at .400 through the Browns’ first 34 games in 1943, but finished the year at .289, after hitting .294 in '42.

1942: May 24 (34 games) -- Bobby Doerr, BOS (.290). The first year after Williams’ .406 didn’t yield nearly as long of a run at .400. Doerr was the last qualified batter at the mark, but he fell off after the Red Sox 34th game.

Sarah Langs is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.