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Encyclopedia > Batting average

Batting average is a statistic in both cricket and baseball measuring the performance of cricket batsmen and baseball hitters, respectively. The two statistics are related, in that baseball averages are directly descended from the concept of cricket averages. The term batting average is used as a figure of speech in non-sporting contexts to represent various statistical measures of performance. A statistic (singular) is the result of applying a statistical algorithm to a set of data. ... Bowler Shaun Pollock bowls to batsman Michael Hussey. ... A view of the playing field at Busch Memorial Stadium, St. ... Warwickshire batsman Mike Powell A batsman in the sport of cricket is, depending on context: Any player in the act of batting. ... Barry Bonds batting Photo:Agência Brasil In baseball, batting is the act of facing the opposing pitcher and trying to produce offense for ones team. ...

International cricket career batting averages (Jan 2004). Note Bradman's Test average of 99.94.

In cricket, a player's batting average is the total number of runs he has scored divided by the number of times he has been out. Since the number of runs a player scores and how often he gets out are primarily measures of his own playing ability, and largely independent of his team mates, batting average is a good statistic for describing an individual player's skill as a batsman. The number is also simple to interpret intuitively, being approximately the average number of runs the batsman scores per innings. Batting average has been used to gauge cricket players' relative skills since the 18th century. Cricket is a sport that generates a large number of statistics. ... Image File history File links CricketBattingAverageHistogram. ... Sir Donald George Bradman AC (27 August 1908â€”25 February 2001), often called The Don, was an Australian cricketer, administrator and writer on the game universally acknowledged to be the greatest batsman of all time. ... In the sport of cricket, a run is the basic unit of scoring. ... In the sport of cricket, a dismissal occurs when the batsman is out (also known as taking a wicket). ...

Most players have career batting averages in the range 5 to 50:

• Between 30 and 50 is typical for specialist batsmen and genuine all-rounders. This is also the desirable range for wicket-keepers, though some fall short and make up for it with keeping skill. Players who can sustain an average above 50 through a career are considered exceptional.
• All-rounders who are in practice more prominent bowlers than batsmen typically average something between 20 and 30.
• 15 and under is typical for specialist bowlers.

Career records for batting average are usually subject to a minimum qualification of 20 innings played, in order to exclude batsmen who have not played enough games for their skill to be reliably assessed. Under this qualification, the highest Test batting average belongs to Australia's Sir Donald Bradman, with 99.94. Given that a career batting average over 50 is exceptional, and that only four other players have averages over 60, this is an outstanding statistic. The fact that Bradman's average is so far above that of any other cricketer has led several statisticians to argue that, statistically at least, he was the greatest sportsman in any sport. Warwickshire batsman Mike Powell A batsman in the sport of cricket is, depending on context: Any player in the act of batting. ... An all-rounder is a cricket player who excels at both batting and bowling. ... A wicket keeper in characteristic position, ready to face a delivery. ... Muttiah Muralitharan bowling A bowler in the sport of cricket is usually a player whose speciality is bowling, analogous to a pitcher in baseball. ... An innings, or inning, is a fixed-length segment of a game in any of a variety of sports â€“ most notably baseball and cricket â€“ during which one team attempts to score while the other team attempts to prevent the first from scoring. ... A Test match between South Africa and England in January 2005. ... Sir Donald George Bradman AC (27 August 1908â€”25 February 2001), often called The Don, was an Australian cricketer, administrator and writer on the game universally acknowledged to be the greatest batsman of all time. ... This is a list of Test cricket records; that is, record team and individual performances in Test cricket. ...

Batting averages in One-Day International (ODI) cricket tend to be lower than in Test cricket, because of the need to score runs more quickly and take riskier strokes and the lesser emphasis on building a large innings. One-day International (ODI) is a form of cricket, which is played over 50 overs per side between two national cricket teams. ...

Some cricket followers have noted that the batting average is inflated by the number of not-outs (innings in which the batsman/men has not been dismissed). For example, Phil Tufnell, who was noted for his poor batting, has an apparently respectable ODI average of 15 (20 games), but a highest score of only 5*, and an overall run total of 15. It is thus argued that a better measure of a batsman's quality is the number of runs scored divided by the number of innings played. This proposed statistic, sometimes called the "innings average", is not commonly used by cricket fans or commentators. Its essential drawback is that it would deflate the apparent quality of players who are often not out, especially good lower-order batsmen who do not get the chance to bat for as long as those higher up the order. Philip (Phil) Clive Roderick Tuffers Tufnell (born April 29, 1966 in Barnet) is a television personality and former English cricketer. ... One-day International (ODI) is a form of cricket, which is played over 50 overs per side between two national cricket teams. ...

A different, and more recently developed, statistic which is also used to gauge the effectiveness of batsmen is the strike rate. It measures a different concept however - how quickly the batsman scores - so does not supplant the role of batting average. It is used particularly in limited overs matches, where the speed at which a batsman scores is relatively more important. Strike rate refers to two different statistics in the sport of cricket. ... A night match at Old Trafford. ...

### Leading Test batting averages (retired batsmen)

Rank Batsman Tests Innings N.O. Runs Highest Ave[1] Career dates
1 D. G. Bradman 52 80 10 6996 334 99.94 1928–1948
2 R. G. Pollock 23 41 4 2256 274 60.97 1963–1970
3 G. A. Headley 22 40 4 2190 270* 60.83 1930–1954
4 H. Sutcliffe 54 84 9 4555 194 60.73 1924–1935
5 E. Paynter 20 31 5 1540 243 59.23 1931–1939
6 K. F. Barrington 82 131 15 6806 256 58.67 1955–1968
7 E. D. Weekes 48 81 5 4455 207 58.61 1948–1958
8 W. R. Hammond 85 140 16 7249 336* 58.45 1927–1947
9 G. S. Sobers 93 160 21 8032 365* 57.78 1954–1974
10 J. B. Hobbs 61 102 7 5410 211 56.94 1908–1930

For more comprehensive statistics, see List of cricket batting averages. This is a list of Test and one-day international cricket batting averages. ...

## Baseball

See also: List of Major League Baseball batting champions and Baseball statistics

$AVG=frac{H}{AB}$ The batting championship is awarded to the Major League Baseball player in each the American League and National League who has the highest batting average in a particular season. ... Statistics are very important to baseball, perhaps as much as they are for cricket, and more than almost any other sport. ...

In baseball, the batting average (BA) is defined as the ratio of hits to at bats. In baseball statistics, a hit (denoted by H), sometimes called a base hit, is credited to a batter when he safely reaches first base after batting the ball into fair territory, without the benefit of an error or a fielders choice. ... In baseball statistics, an at bat (AB) is used to calculate other data such as batting average. ...

Henry Chadwick, an English statistician raised on cricket, was an influential figure in the early history of baseball. In the late 19th century he adapted the concept behind the cricket batting average to devise a similar statistic for baseball. Rather than simply copy cricket's formulation of runs scored divided by outs, he realised that hits divided by at bats would provide a better measure of individual batting ability. This is because of an intrinsic difference between the two sports; scoring runs in cricket is dependent almost only on one's own batting skill, whereas in baseball it is largely dependent on having other good hitters in your team. Chadwick noted that hits are independent of teammates' skills, so used this as the basis for the baseball batting average. His reason for using at bats rather than outs is less obvious, but it leads to the intuitive idea of the batting average being a percentage reflecting how often a batter gets on base, whereas hits divided by outs is not as simple to interpret in real terms. Henry Chadwick (October 5, 1824 â€“ April 20, 1908), often called the father of baseball, was a sportswriter, baseball statistician and historian. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() â€“ on the European continent() â€“ in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto)1 Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total... Bengie Molina of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (in gray and red) scores a run by touching home plate after rounding all the bases. ... In baseball, an out occurs when the defensive team effects any of a number of different events, and the umpire rules a batter or baserunner out. ...

In modern times, a season batting average higher than .300 is considered to be excellent, and an average higher than .400 a nearly unachievable goal. The last player to do so, with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting championship, was Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox, who hit .406 in 1941, though the best modern players either threaten to or actually do achieve it occasionally, if only for brief periods of time. In an organised sport league, a season is the portion of one year in which regulated games of the sport are in session. ... Theodore Samuel Williams (August 30, 1918 â€“ July 5, 2002), best known as Ted Williams, nicknamed The Kid, the Splendid Splinter, Teddy Ballgame and The Thumper, was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball. ... Major league affiliations American League (1901â€“present) East Division (1969â€“present) Current uniform Retired Numbers 1, 4, 8, 9, 27, 42 Name Boston Red Sox (1908â€“present) Boston Americans (1901-1907) Other nicknames The BoSox, The Olde Towne Team, The Sox Ballpark Fenway Park (1912â€“present) Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds...

Ty Cobb holds the record for highest career batting average with .366, 8 points higher than Rogers Hornsby who has the second highest average in history at .358. Cobb's career batting average record will probably never be broken, since even the best of modern hitters find it difficult to hit higher than .360 in more than one or two seasons, let alone consistently throughout their entire careers. The record for lowest career batting average for a player with more than 2500 at-bats belongs to Bill Bergen, a catcher who played from 1901 to 1911 and recorded a .170 average in 3,028 career at-bats. The modern-era record for highest batting average for a season is held by Napoleon Lajoie, who hit .426 in 1901, the first year of play for the American League. The modern-era record for lowest batting average for a player that qualified for the batting title is held by Rob Deer, who hit .179 in 1991. The highest batting average for a rookie was .373, set in 1930 by George Watkins. Tyrus Raymond Ty Cobb (December 18, 1886 â€“ July 17, 1961), nicknamed The Georgia Peach, was a Hall of Fame baseball player. ... Rogers Hornsby (April 27, 1896 in Winters, Texas - January 5, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois), nicknamed The Rajah, was a Major League Baseball second baseman and manager. ... William Aloysius Bill Bergen (1878-1943) was a Major League Baseball catcher in the early days of the 20th century. ... Nap Lajoie on a 1911 American Tobacco Company baseball card. ... American League The American League (or formally the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs) is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States of America and Canada. ... Robert George Deer (born September 29, 1960 in Orange, California) is a former U.S. baseball player. ... The Rookie: Norman Rockwells cover for The Saturday Evening Post Rookie is a term for a person who is in their first year of play of their sport and has little or no professional experience. ... The following are the baseball events of the year 1930 throughout the world. ... George Watkins (June 4, 1900 - June 1, 1970) was a Major League Baseball player who owns the record for the highest batting average in their rookie season, batting . ...

For non-pitchers, a batting average below .250 is poor, and one below .200 is completely unacceptable. This latter level is known as "The Mendoza Line", named either for Mario Mendoza, a stellar defensive shortstop who hit .215 during his Major League career, or for Minnie Mendoza, also a shortstop, who was a long-time minor-league player who finally reached the majors briefly in 1970 at the age of 36 and hit .188 in 16 games. The league batting average in Major League Baseball for 2004 was just higher than .266, and the all-time league average is between .260 and .275. The Mendoza Line is an informal term used in baseball for when a players batting average falls below . ... Mario Mendoza (born December 26, 1950 in Chihuahua, Mexico) is a former Major League Baseball infielder who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1974-78), Seattle Mariners (1979-80) and Texas Rangers (1981-82). ... Minnie Mendoza (born November 16, 1933 in Ceiba del Agua, Cuba)[1] is a former Major League Baseball infielder who played 16 games for the Minnesota Twins during the 1970 MLB season as a 36-year-old rookie. ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... The following are the baseball events of the year 2004 throughout the world. ...

Sabermetrics, the study of baseball statistics, considers batting average a weak measure of performance because it does not correlate as well as other measures to runs scored, and because it has little predictive value. Batting average does not take into account walks or power, whereas other statistics such as on-base percentage and slugging percentage have been specifically designed to measure such concepts. This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... In baseball statistics, on base percentage (OBP) (sometimes referred to as on base average (OBA)) is a measure of how often a batter gets to first base for any reason other than a fielding error or a fielders choice. ... In baseball statistics, slugging average (SLG) is a measure of the power of a hitter. ...

In 1887, Major League Baseball counted bases on balls as hits. The result of this was skyrocketed batting averages, including some near .500, and the experiment was abandoned the following season. The following are the baseball events of the year 1887 throughout the world. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... In baseball statistics, a base on balls (BB), also called a walk, is credited to a batter and against a pitcher when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls. ... In Major League Baseball history, Ty Cobb had a record 4,191 hits by 1928; Pete Rose would surpass it 57 years later, and finish with 4,256 career hits. ...

### Qualifications for the batting title

The Major League Baseball batting average championship (often referred to as "the batting title") is awarded annually to the player in each league who has the highest batting average. Ty Cobb holds the MLB (and American League) record for most batting titles, officially winning 11 in his pro career.[2] The National League record of 8 batting titles is shared by Honus Wagner and Tony Gwynn. This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Tyrus Raymond Ty Cobb (December 18, 1886 â€“ July 17, 1961), nicknamed The Georgia Peach, was a Hall of Fame baseball player. ... Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest level of play in professional baseball in North America. ... American League The American League (or formally the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs) is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball in the United States of America and Canada. ... The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the National League, is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball in the United States and Canada and the worlds oldest extant professional team sports league. ... Johannes Peter Honus Wagner (February 24, 1874 - December 6, 1955), nicknamed The Flying Dutchman, was an American baseball player who played during the 1890s until the 1910s. ... Anthony Keith Gwynn (born May 9, 1960 in Los Angeles, California) is a former right fielder in Major League Baseball, statistically one of the best and most consistent hitters in baseball history. ...

To determine which players are eligible to win the batting title, the following conditions have been used over the sport’s history:

• Pre-1920 – A player had to appear in 60% of his team's games to qualify for the league title.
• 1920-1944 – A player had to appear in 100 games to qualify. The lone exception was 1938: By order of the AL president, Jimmie Foxx (.349, in 149 games and 565 at-bats) was awarded the batting title over rookie Taffy Wright (.350, in 100 games and only 263 at-bats).
• 1945-1956 – A player needed 2.6 at bats per team game. (With the 154-game schedule of the time, that meant a rounded-off 400 at-bats.) Note that from 1951–1954, if the player with the highest average in a league failed to meet the minimum at-bat requirement, the remaining at-bats until qualification (for example, 5, if the player finished the season with 395 ABs) were hypothetically considered hitless at-bats; if his recalculated batting average still topped the league, he was awarded the title.
• 1957 to the present – A player has needed 3.1 plate appearances per team game; thus, players were no longer penalized for walking so frequently or benefited for walking so rarely. (In 1954, for example, Ted Williams batted .345 but had only 386 ABs, while topping the AL with 136 walks. Williams thus lost the batting title to Cleveland’s Bobby Avila, who hit .341 in 555 ABs.) In the 154-game schedule, the required number of plate appearances was 477, and since the era of the 162-game schedule, the requisite number of PAs has been 502. (Adjustments to this 502 PA figure have been made during strike-shortened seasons, such as 1981 and 1994.)

Also note that from 1967 to the present, if the player with the highest average in a league fails to meet the minimum plate-appearance requirement, the remaining at-bats until qualification (for example, 5 ABs, if the player finished the season with 497 plate appearances) are hypothetically considered hitless at-bats; if his recalculated batting average still tops the league, he is awarded the title. (This policy was invoked in 1981, securing Bill Madlock his third NL batting crown, and in 1996, when NL titlist Tony Gwynn finished the year with only 498 PAs.) Jimmie Foxx on the cover of Time in 1929 James Emory Foxx (October 22, 1907 â€“ July 21, 1967) was an American first baseman in Major League Baseball who was, up until Mark McGwires glory days in the late 1990s, the most prolific right-handed power hitter to ever play... Taft Shedron Taffy Wright (August 10, 1911 - October 22, 1981) was an outfielder in professional baseball from 1928 to 1949. ... Theodore Samuel Williams (August 30, 1918 â€“ July 5, 2002), best known as Ted Williams, nicknamed The Kid, the Splendid Splinter, Teddy Ballgame and The Thumper, was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball. ... Roberto Francisco Avila González (April 2, 1924 _ October 26, 2004) was a Major League Baseball second baseman and right-handed batter who played for the Cleveland Indians (1949_58), Baltimore Orioles (1959), Boston Red Sox (1959) and Milwaukee Braves (1959). ... Bill Madlock (born Bill Madlock Jr. ... Anthony Keith Gwynn (born May 9, 1960 in Los Angeles, California) is a former right fielder in Major League Baseball, statistically one of the best and most consistent hitters in baseball history. ...

### The decline of the .400 hitter

 This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. Please help Wikipedia by adding references. See the talk page for details.

A point of interest to baseball followers is that hitting .400 was a special and rare feat in the early 20th century. It was accomplished only 13 times between 1900–1941 by 8 players, but has not occurred at all since 1941. Many people have expounded theories on why this is the case. Image File history File links Circle-question. ...

One theory of particular interest was proposed by biologist and baseball fan Stephen Jay Gould, in his book Full House: The Spread of Excellence From Plato to Darwin (published as Life's Grandeur: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin in the UK). According to Gould, the disappearance of the .400 batting average does not indicate a decline of baseball skill, but, quite the contrary – an improvement in skill. He suggests that instead of looking at the extreme values (the best and worst hitters), we should be looking at the statistical distribution of the batting average of all hitters. If we do this, Gould notes that the league average of batting averages has stayed constant over the last century (mostly due to rules being changed whenever this average started to change), but the variance has been on a continuous decrease, as all major league baseball players have become better and better. As a result of this decreasing variance, the best and worst batting averages came closer to the league average, and the best batting average dropped below .400. Natural History magazine Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 â€“ May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. ... In mathematics, a probability distribution assigns to every interval of the real numbers a probability, so that the probability axioms are satisfied. ... In probability theory and statistics, the variance of a random variable (or somewhat more precisely, of a probability distribution) is a measure of its statistical dispersion, indicating how its possible values are spread around the expected value. ...

Since a batter's batting average isn't determined just by the batter's individual skill (as is the case in, say, track and field records), but rather the batter's success against opposing players, the gap in skills of an at-bat narrowed. In the early 20th century, the variance of baseball player skills was still high, so when the top batters played, they had the opportunity to be opposed by both very good and by mediocre players, and as a result had an opportunity to achieve very high batting averages. As baseball became a more professional "industry", variance in player skill came down, and the best batter found himself opposed by consistently very good players, and as a result was not able to achieve as high a batting average as was possible a century earlier. Athletics, also known as track and field or track and field athletics, is a collection of sport events. ...

Although Gould makes a persuasive argument, his theory does not account for the fact that the highest Test cricket batting averages have remained around 60 since the 19th century (with the single notable exception of Donald Bradman), and the lowest around 10. One may conclude that the evolution of sports statistics over time relies on more factors than simple population statistics. Sir Donald George Bradman AC (27 August 1908â€”25 February 2001), often called The Don, was an Australian cricketer, administrator and writer on the game universally acknowledged to be the greatest batsman of all time. ...

It is also important to note that pitching strategies have changed dramatically since the era of the .400 hitter. Since the 1950s, pitchers have increasingly tried to strike out hitters, rather than get the hitter to put the ball in play. Hitters also more frequently try to hit home runs, which leads to more strikeouts, but in many cases greater offensive production. Also, it is more acceptable to pitch around strong hitters, and to stop throwing strikes after the first two are thrown in a plate appearance, to try to get the hitter to swing at a ball. Lastly, managers now use many more relievers in an average game. This means that hitters see the same pitcher fewer times in a game (losing the advantage of familiarity), and are more likely to face a fresh pitcher, and even a specialist pitcher brought into a game just to get that specific hitter out.

In general, all of these factors either increase strikeout or walk totals, both of which make it much more difficult to achieve a high ratio of hits to at bats, relative to earlier eras of baseball.

Other possible factors are the increase of the number of games played at night (batting average for day games are higher) and the replacement of a number of older "hitter's paradise" ballparks by stadiums of more uniform dimensions.

 # Player Avg[3] Team(s) Year(s) 1 Ty Cobb .3664 Detroit, Philadelphia (AL) 1905–28 2 Rogers Hornsby .3585 St. Louis (NL), New York (NL), Boston (NL), Chicago (NL), St. Louis (NL), St. Louis (AL) 1915–37 3 Shoeless Joe Jackson .3558 Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox 1908–1920 4 Lefty O'Doul .3493 New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Brooklyn Dodgers 1919–23 and 1928–34 5 Ed Delahanty .3459 Philadelphia (NL), Cleveland (PL), Philadelphia (NL), Washington 1888–1903 6 Tris Speaker .3447 Boston (AL), Cleveland, Washington, Philadelphia (AL) 1907–28 7 Ted Williams .3444 Boston (AL) 1939–41, 1946–60 8 Billy Hamilton .3443 Kansas City (AA), Philadelphia (NL), Boston (NL) 1888–1901 9 Dan Brouthers .3421 Troy, Buffalo, Detroit (NL), Boston (NL), Boston (PL), Brooklyn (NL), Baltimore (NL), Louisville, Philadelphia (NL), New York (NL) 1879–96, 1904 10 Babe Ruth .3421 Boston (AL), New York (AL), Boston (NL) 1914–35

## Other contexts

Following from usage in cricket and baseball, batting average has come to be used for other statistical measures of performance.

## References

1. ^ Test Career Highest Batting Averages. Cricinfo. Retrieved on 2007-02-15.
2. ^ Year-by-Year League Leaders for Batting Average. Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved on 2007-01-30.
3. ^ Career Leaders for Batting Average. Sports Reference, Inc. Retrieved on 2007-01-30.

Results from FactBites:

 Batting average - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1748 words) Batting average is a statistic in both baseball and cricket measuring the performance of baseball hitters and cricket batsmen, respectively. Batting averages in One-day International (ODI) cricket tend to be lower than in Test cricket, because of the need to score runs more quickly and the lesser emphasis on building a large innings. Some cricket followers have noted that the batting average is inflated by the number of not-outs (innings in which the batsman has not been dismissed), and argue that a better measure of a batsman's quality is the number of runs scored divided by the number of innings played.
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