List of Major League Baseball career batting average leaders
In baseball, the batting average (BA) is defined by the number of hits divided by at bats. It is usually reported to three decimal places and pronounced as if it were multiplied by 1,000: a player with a batting average of .300 is "batting three-hundred." A point (or percentage point) is understood to be .001 . If necessary to break ties, batting averages could be taken to more than three decimal places.
Outfielder Ty Cobb, whose career ended in 1928, has the highest batting average in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. He batted .366 over 24 seasons, mostly with the Detroit Tigers. In addition, he won a record 11 batting titles for leading the American League in BA over the course of an entire season. He batted over .360 in 11 consecutive seasons from 1909 to 1919. Rogers Hornsby has the second highest BA of all-time, at .358. He won seven batting titles in the National League (NL) and has the highest NL average in a single season since 1900, when he batted .424 in 1924. He batted over .370 in six consecutive seasons.
Shoeless Joe Jackson is the only other player to finish his career with a batting average over .350. He batted .356 over 13 seasons before he was permanently suspended from organized baseball in 1921 for his role in the Black Sox Scandal. Lefty O'Doul first came to the major leagues as a pitcher, but after developing a sore arm, he converted to an outfielder and won two batting titles. The fifth player on the list, and the last with at least a .345 BA, is Ed Delahanty. Delahanty's career was cut short when he fell into the Niagara Falls and died during the 1903 season.
The last player to bat .400 in a season, Ted Williams, ranks tied for seventh on the all-time career BA list. Babe Ruth hit for a career .342 average and is tenth on the list. A player must have a minimum of 3,000 plate appearances in order to qualify for the list.
|Rank||Rank amongst leaders in career batting average. A blank field indicates a tie.|
|Player||Name of the player.|
|BA||Total career batting average.|
|*||Denotes elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame. |
|Bold||Denotes active player.[note 1]|
- Stats updated as of the 2019 season.
- A player is considered inactive if he has announced his retirement or not played for a full season.
- "Career Leaders & Records for Batting Average". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- "Career Leaders & Records for Batting Average". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
- "Ty Cobb Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
- "Rogers Hornsby Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
- "SportsCenter Flashback: The Chicago Black Sox banned from baseball". ESPN Classic. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
- McKenna, Brian. "Lefty O'Doul". SABR.org. Retrieved January 2, 2013.
- "The Ballplayers – Ed Delahanty". BaseballLibrary.com. The Idea Logical Company, Inc. Archived from the original on December 15, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
- Goldstein, Richard (July 6, 2002). "Ted Williams, Red Sox Slugger And Last to Hit .400, Dies at 83". The New York Times Company. Retrieved November 18, 2010.