Top 5 – Best Batting Average Seasons
By Nick Browne
It takes a special player to regularly bat for average. There’s a reason that batting .300 is the benchmark for a solid season; it’s really not that easy to do. These five players all hit well above the .400 mark for their entire careers. And yes, they did all play prior to the modern era.
Hugh Duffy – 1894 – .4397 average
The year 1894 was the lone time that Duffy was the NL batting champion. Luckily for him, it was also the greatest batting season of all time. No other player has even come close to topping him in the years since, which is even more impressive.
Tip O’Neill – 1887 – .4352 average
O’Neill led his league in batting average just once in his career, in 1887. He was dubbed the Canadian Babe Ruth, and rewrote the Major League record books, establishing new records in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, most hits, most runs scored, most doubles, most extra base hits, and most total bases in a single season. Talk about impressive!
Ross Barnes – 1876 – .4286 average
Barnes was a hitting machine during his career, with none better than his 1876 season. He was also a three-time batting champion.
Nap Lajoie – 1901 – .4265 average
Nicknamed “The Frenchman”, Lajoie led the American League in batting average five times in his career, with his best season ever in 1901.
Willie Keeler – 1897 – .4238 average
Throughout his entire career, Keeler batted .341, putting his .424 season of 1897 well above his career average. He also led his league in batting average twice.