For over a hundred years, a .300 batting average marked the pinnacle of success for hitters.
Some of the greatest players in baseball history finished with a .300 batting average. Baseball is one of the few instances where a 30% success rate isn’t only acceptable, but it’s excellent.
How much did a .300 batting average matter to players? Yankees legend Mickey Mantle considered finishing with a .298 average one of his biggest regrets.
The modern era of analytics and strikeouts has taken away the meaning of a .300 average. But there are still plenty of active MLB players who either have an average that high or are extremely close.
Many baseball legends retired with an average over .300
How significant is a .300 batting average? Pick any of the greatest hitters in league history and they probably finished with an average that high.
Babe Ruth hit .342 in 22 seasons and longtime Yankees teammate Lou Gehrig hit .340. Ted Williams and Tony Gwynn, who each made hitting an art, finished with averages of .344 and .338.
Through Aug. 13, 2020, 203 qualified players had batting averages over .300. Another 10 hit .299, but the average rounded up to .300.
The list includes everyone from John Kruk, a 10-year veteran who hit .302, to Tigers legend Ty Cobb, who hit an MLB-record .366.
Miguel Cabrera leads a group comfortably over .300
Through Aug. 13, 2020, eight active players — and one who opted out of the 2020 season but intends to return next year — have at least a .300 batting average. None of the names are too surprising.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera leads the pack with a .314 average. Astros second baseman José Altuve isn’t far behind at .312. Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who hit .472 through his first 18 games, has a .307 average.
Reds first baseman Joey Votto and Angels legend Mike Trout each have .305 career averages. Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu is at .304 and another former Yankees star, Robinson Canó, still sits at .302.
Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts and Giants catcher Buster Posey each have .301 career averages, although Betts has a .3017 to Posey’s .3016 average.
Posey opted out of the 2020 season and, barring a sudden comeback, won’t increase his average until next year.
Which players are close to a .300 average?
In addition to the nine active players with batting averages above .300, there are another 13 players with an average between .290 and .299.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who may never play again because of knee problems, leads the group with a .299 average through 14 seasons.
Of the actual-active players, Brewers star outfielder Christian Yelich also has a .299 average, although he’s at .2991 to Pedroia’s .2993. Angels veteran Albert Pujols is right behind them at .299 and Rockies infielder Daniel Murphy has a .298 average.
Brewers veteran Ryan Braun and Astros outfielder Michael Brantley have .297 averages to their name. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado and Nationals utilityman Howie Kendrick are at .294, while Red Sox outfielder/DH J.D. Martinez is the only player with a .293 average.
Freddie Freeman, Jose Abreu, and Paul Goldschmidt all have .292 averages. Dodgers infielder Justin Turner and his .291 average complete the group.
The home-run and strikeout-era mentality has made a .300 batting average even harder for players to attain. But considering the names who are either above or close to that mark, it’s still a goal players should try reaching.
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.