first_imgWill there be a .400 hitter in 2020? That would certainly prompt a call for an asterisk given that it’s a 60-game season, but the possibility that it could happen should excite baseball fans. It’s one of the chases worth watching in an abbreviated season.  Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. The legendary Red Sox hitter is the last hitter to crack the hallowed mark. It’s been almost 80 years since, but that 60-game window could offer an opportunity when you consider some of the modern contemporaries.   Who can make a .400 push?Chicago’s Tim Anderson led the AL with a .335 average last season, and Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich won his second consecutive NL batting title with a .329 average. Jose Altuve has two AL batting titles in the past four years. Mookie Betts is switching leagues, and Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon and New York’s DJ LeMahieu tested positive for COVID-19, adding additional layers to what will be a complex 60-game season.  Those are the names to watch. If a hitter makes a run at .400, it’ll be lots of fun.  We can worry about whether to place an asterisk next to it later. MORE: 10 single-season MLB feats we’ll never see againSporting News takes a closer look at the chase for .400.  Who’s come closest since?  San Diego’s Tony Gwynn won eight batting titles with the Padres from 1982 to 2001. He’s one of the greatest hitters of all time, and that Hall of Fame career featured two runs at .400. Gwynn hit .400 over 520 plate appearances between 1994 and 1995, via  In 1994 — a strike-shortened season — Gwynn was hitting .388 after 60 games and .394 when play stopped on Aug. 12. Gwynn was even better in 1997 through 60 games. He had a .403 average, but he finished the season with at .372.  Gwynn isn’t the only hitter who had a good run through 60 games.  Best 60-game stretches pointed to some of the best 60-game hitting stretches of all time. Rogers Hornsby is the gold standard with a .466 average from June 21 to Aug. 29 in 1924. Josh Hamilton owned a .427 average from June 4 to Aug. 14 in 2010. Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki hit .458 from July 1 to Sept. 6 in 2004, and he hit .372 that season. No player has hit better than .370 since.  But those stretches didn’t happen to start the season, and some of the players who got closest to .400 in the past 40 years started in various fashions. Here are the three examples.  Flirting with .400  Here are some other players who flirted with a .400 average in the last 40 seasons. Note how those started after 60 games. George Brett (1980)  Brett was hitting .337 through the first 54 games of the season when he suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss a month of the season. He hit on a torrid pace after his return — with a .421 average through 72 games after the All-Star break. Brett was hitting .400 on Sept. 19 before his average dipped. He won the batting crown with a .390 average.  John Olerud (1993)  Olerud was hitting .395 through 60 games in 1993, and he had a .400 average on Aug. 2. Olerud hit .395 in the first half of the season, but that dipped to .324 in the second half. He won the AL batting title with a .363 average.  Larry Walker (1997)  Walker was hitting .417 through the first 60 games in 1997, an incredible clip that he maintained through July 17. Walker hit an amazing .398 through the first half of the season, but that dropped 70 points after the All-Star break. He hit .366 that season. Walker went on to win batting titles in 1998, 1999 and 2001.  last_img

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