One of the rarest of hitting accomplishments is batting .400 during the regular season. Not done since 1941, when Hall of Famer Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox hit .406 that season, batting .400 has been done only twenty-eight times since 1876. All but six of the men to reach .400 are now members of the Hall of Fame. The first player to do it would be Ross Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), who would bat .429 in the first National League season of 1876, winning the batting title for that year. Hall of Famer Hugh Duffy of the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) would have the highest .400 average, as he would hit .440 in 1894. Fellow Hall of Famer Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers would have the lowest .400 batting average, hitting .401 in 1922. Cobb is tied with fellow Hall of Famers Ed Delahanty and Rogers Hornsby for the most times a player would have hit over .400 in his career, with all three men doing it three times a piece.
In the history of the Phillies, four Phils have officially hit .400 or better six times, three times by the above mentioned Delahanty, and once each by fellow Hall of Famers Billy Hamilton and Sam Thompson and Tuck Turner. Delahanty would hit .400 for the first time in 1894, as he would hit .407 that season. Hamilton would also reach .400 for the only time in his carrer that same year as he would bat .404, along with fellow outfielders Thompson (.407) and Turner (.416), being the only outfield in baseball history that would bat over .400 during the same season. None of them would win the batting title that year, as they would all be outhit by Duffy’s .440. Delahanty would hit .400 again in 1895, hitting .404 in 1895. Delahanty would become the last Phil batter to hit over .400, as he would hit .410 in 1899, winning his first batting title in the process. Although Delahanty is listed as the Phil with the highest batting average in the team’s history (his .410 in 1895), Turner’s .416 is recognized by major league baseball as a .400 batting average, although he only played part-time in 1894.
Among the 28 .400 hitters, Phillies are ranked at number 9 (Turner, 1894), 11-T (Delahanty, 1899), 16-T (Thompson, 1894), 18 (Delahanty, 1894), 20 (Hamilton, 1894) and 21 (Delahanty, 1895).
Will another Phil ever reach .400? I seriously doubt it, as such a person would have to avoid running into a major slump during the entire season.
You will not believe what I’d find on the internet last night. I’d found three sites that might be of interest to people, especially those who are reading my year-by-year look at the Phillies’ history.
First, I’d discovered that the Phillies had suffered a second no-hitter during their first six seasons in the National League which I did not know about until yesterday afternoon. On October 1, 1884, Charlie Getzien of the Detroit Wolverines pitched a six innings no-hitter against the Phils, defeating them 1-0.
Second, late last night, while I was looking at several baseball related websites, which included a couple of museums, one dedicated to Ty Cobb, and the other to Babe Ruth, I’d accidently stumble upon http://www.retrosheet.org/ which is an on-line website that, among other things, contains the day-by-day standings of every major league baseball season going back to 1871 and the National Association. That was the one thing that has been missing from my year-by-year look at the Phillies, to see how the team was doing in the daily standings during each National League season. Anyway, I am not going to go back to the previous six seasons. Instead, I will instead post a link to the first game that the Phillies’ played during the years 1883-1888 and let those of you who might be interested to follow the development of the pennant races for those six seasons.
I plan to start posting how the Phillies were doing daily in the standings starting with the 1889 season.
Lastly, I was lead, via retrosheet, to another website http://www.baseballgraphs.com/main/index.php/site/, which, as its front page says “…is dedicated to the better use and communication of baseball statistics.” It is the home to Historical Baseball Graphs http://www.baseballgraphs.com/main/index.php/site/histindex/ which gives a year-to-year graph for every National and American League season since 1901. For example, say you want to see the graph for the 1914 season, the year of the Miracle Braves. You would first go to section that reads, League Graphs by Year, which is on your left, then you would go to the National League Graphs, then press on it. It will give you several listings that covers several 10 years period. You would then go to the 1910’s listing and press on it. This will give you the listing for each individual year, starting with 1910. Since the year you want is 1914, you will now press on the listing for that season. This will give up several graphs to your left, as well as several listings to your right. The most interesting of these listings are first a Pennant Race graph which, in graphic form, shows you how each team in both leagues did during the regular season, including showing you how the Braves went from being in last place on the 4th of July to winning the pennant in the NL graph, as well as showing you how the Athletics broke away from the rest of the AL that same season. But the more interesting one is the one just under it which says The Pennant in Action. This one is an animated program which shows you how the pennant race developed that season in both leagues, from opening day, to the end, showing you, among other things, how each team did, their day by day position in the race, and, towards the end, when each team was eliminated from the race until the Braves secured the pennant. For best result, I would suggest pushing speed back to one, and doing the same with smooth.
I am enclosing a link to the animated 1914 pennant race so that you can watch it for yourself: http://www.baseballrace.com/races/MLB-1914-NL-Normal.asp . When I get to the 1901 season, I will be adding a link to both the graph and the animation for that year into my history.
Anyway, I hope you folks will enjoy the graphs and the animation while I prepare to work on the 1889 Phillies season with the addition of the standings from retrosheet.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Retrosheet.org, Baseballgraphs.com. Baseballrace.com