#Hot Corner

eBay Item of the Day: 1-2-3 in Batting Average

How rare is the achievement of the 1993 Blue Jays?

Olerud_medium Molitor_mediumRoberto_alomar_medium

In 1993, these three men finished 1-2-3 in the American League batting average race. John Olerud (.363), Paul Molitor (.332) and Roberto Alomar (.326) helped the Jays to the pennant and their second consecutive World Championship. (Notice how I don't call it the "batting title" but rather the "batting average race?" Isn't that just the sort of obnoxious thing a pro-sabermetric bastard like me would do?)

While I haven't paid much attention to batting averages since a young go-getter named Ronald Reagan was in the White House, the rarity of this achievement is pretty interesting. It's only happened once before, actually. Exactly 100 years prior to the Blue Jays feat, the Philadelphia Phillies trio of Billy Hamilton, Sam Thompson and Ed Delahanty pulled it off as well. (Then, in the next two seasons, they had players finish 2-3-4. In all, they landed nine players in the top four over the course of three seasons.)

What follows below is a list of all the incidences wherein:

*Teams had the 1-2 finishers. I included teams that also had another player in the top 10 as well as those that didn't. Thirteen times in baseball history have teams placed in the top two spots without having a third player in the top 10.

*Teams that had the batting average leader along with two other high-placing players.

*Teams that had the runner-up along with two other very high-placing players. For instance, 2-3-4 or 2-3-5.

*For expediency, I didn't take the time to type all the players involved.

Some close calls:

1876 Chicago White Stockings: They had six of the top 10 batting average leaders including the top man, Ross Barnes and 3rd (Cap Anson), 4th (John Peters), 5th (Cal McVey), 6th (Deacon White) and 8th (Paul Hines). What they didn't have was second place, which belonged to George Hall of the Philadelphia Athletics.

1880 Chicago White Stockings: Third place was missing this time as Roger Connor of the Troy Haymakers snuck in ahead of Abner Dalyrmple .332 to .330 for the show position. George Gore and Cap Anson were 1-2.

1884 St. Louis Maroons (Union Association): Putting aside arguments about the UA's claim to major league status for a moment, Fred Dunlap destroyed its pitching with a Barry Bondsian OPS+ of 256 which included the batting average title. Runner-up was teammate Orator Shafer. Finishing fourth was Jack (The Great One) Gleason. Spoiling the party was Henry Moore of the Washington Nationals who hit .324. Now, he never spent a minute in the National League or American Association and it is because of such things that many dismiss the UA out of hand.

1891 Boston Reds (American Association): Hall of Famer Dan Brouthers won the final AA batting average title, besting teammate Hugh Duffy .350 to .336. Behind them was Tip O'Neill of the St. Louis Browns, who claimed third place from another Red, Tom Brown, .323 to .321.

1893 to 1895 Philadelphia Phillies: If batting averages are your thing, then this is the team for you. After winning, placing and showing in 1893, they had no less than four .400 hitters in the hyper-offensive atmosphere of 1894. Hugh Duffy of the Boston Beaneaters bested them all (Tuck Turner, Thompson, Delhanty and Thompson) with his .440 average, however, the highest single-season figure of all-time. The next year only Delahanty hit .400, but lost the batting average title to Jesse Burkett of the Spiders, .405 to .404. Jack Clements of the Phils finished third at .394, Thompson was fourth at .392 and Hamilton was sixth by a slim margin at .389.

1907 to 1926 Detroit Tigers: They appear on the list below seven times. With Ty Cobb providing the base support and all sorts of talented outfielders coming and going over two decades, they often had multiple representatives in the top five. Their closest call came in 1926 when Cobb did not qualify for the batting title (his .339 average would have been good for ninth). The top spot went instead to Heinie Manush, who hit .378. Fats Fothergill was third at .3669 and Harry Heilmann fourth at .3665. Spoiling the Tiger fun at .372? Fella name of Babe Ruth.

1933 Philadelphia Phillies: The decaying Baker Bowl produced lots of fun, extreme numbers. In 1933, it helped Chuck Klein to one-third of his Triple Crown. (He hit .467 at home and just .280 on the road!!!) His teammate Spud Davis was his runner-up and third place went t Tony Piet of the Pirates. In fifth place was a player named Wes Schulmerich who the Phillies acquired from the Braves on June 17 when he was hitting .247. He then hit .334 for Philadelphia the rest of the way (including .361 at the Baker Bowl), which would have been good for third place. It's probably not too much of a leap to suggest the Phils would have repeated their 1893 trifecta had Schulmerich been there the whole season.

1964 Milwaukee Braves: Rico Carty hit .330, Hank Aaron .328 and Joe Torre .321. That would have been good enough except for Roberto Clemente's .339.

And that's really about it for close calls. As you would suspect, having more teams puts more players into the mix and makes it less likely that the leaders would all come from the same place. That makes the Blue Jays' accomplishment that much more interesting since it came in a 14-team environment. As you can see from the chart below, only three teams since are even worth mentioning. And one of them, the 2001 Rockies, were the product of an extreme hitting environment.

Year

Team

Best

2nd

3rd

4th

1876

CHC

1

3

4

5

1879

PRO

1

2

7

10

1880

CHC

1

2

4

5

1884

SLM UA

1

2

4

8

1886

CHC

1

2

10

1886

LOU AA

1

2

1887

DTN

1

3

6

1888

CHC

1

2

1890

PHI N

2

3

5

1891

BOS AA

1

2

4

1893

PHI N

1

2

3

1894

PHI N

2

3

4

5

1895

PHI N

2

3

4

6

1897

BKN

1

6

1903

PIT

1

2

6

1907

DET

1

2

1908

DET

1

2

5

6

1911

DET

1

3

6

1914

BKN

1

3

4

5

1919

DET

1

2

5

10

1921

STL N

1

3

5

1921

DET

1

2

9

1923

STL N

1

2

1925

STL N

1

2

8

1925

DET

1

4

5

1926

CIN

1

2

10

1926

DET

1

3

4

1927

PIT

1

3

5

1933

PHI N

1

2

5*

1937

STL N

1

2

1939

NYY

1

5

6

1941

BKN

1

3

8

1942

BOS A

1

2

1943

CWS

1

3

6

1944

BOS A

2

3

6

1945

CWS

2

3

6

8

1946

BOS A

2

3

5

1950

BOS A

1

3

5

8

1954

NYG

1

2

1958

BOS A

1

2

1959

DET

1

2

1960

CWS

2

3

6

9

1961

DET

1

2

1964

MIL

2

3

4

1966

PIT

1

5

6

1971

MN

1

4

5

1976

CIN

2

4

5

1976

KCR

1

2

1977

PIT

1

2

10

1977

MIN

1

2

1984

NYY

1

2

1988

CHC

2

3

6

1993

TOR

1

2

3

2001

COL

1

2

9

2003

BOS A

1

2

2011

BOS A

2

5

6

7

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.