‘Cory Seager’ was not Ted Williams.
The legendary story of the Major League Baseball batting title race is Ted Williams’ last attempt at a .400 average in 1941. The MLB hasn’t produced a quadruple hitter in 82 years.
The Boston Red Sox slugger had a .3995 batting average heading into the final game of the 1941 regular season against the Philadelphia Athletics. Rounding up to the nearest percent, that’s four. But Williams was forced to play. Three at-bats without a hit would have dropped his batting average to .397.
Williams went 4-for-5 in the first game of the doubleheader, raising his average to .404. Despite manager Joe Cronin’s recommendation to rest him on the bench for Game 2, Williams insisted on playing. He went 2-for-3 and finished the season with a .406 batting average.
The year 1941 remains a closed season in MLB history. It was the season of Williams’ .400 batting average and the New York Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Both are immortalized records that will never be broken. DiMaggio was named American League MVP that year.
Why bring up Williams’ 4-for-4 all of a sudden: The AL batting lead at the end of the season was tied at .330 between Andy Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays and Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers.
However, Diaz maintained his .330 average going into the final game of the regular season on Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, while Seager settled for second place at .327 after going 0-for-4 against the Seattle Mariners. Seattle, whose postseason hopes were dashed the day before, held Texas to four hits and a 1-0 shutout by Day 2 starter Wayne Kirby and three pitchers from the bullpen, handing the AL West crown to Houston.
Seattle avenged its postseason setback by denying Seager the AL batting title and a district championship. Seattle, the only one of MLB’s 30 teams to not even reach the World Series, made the postseason for the first time in 22 years last year, but went 88-74 this year, echoing the pain of fall baseball’s disappointment. Last year, they were 90-72.
Tampa Bay’s Diaz and Texas’ Seager entered the final game in very different positions. Tampa Bay had already clinched the No. 1 AL wild-card spot, so a win or loss in Toronto didn’t matter, but they went on to win 12-8. Texas needed a win over Seattle to jump into the divisional series without a wild card, so the offense needed Seager to play.
The truth is, the batting title race isn’t the only great rivalry in baseball history like Williams’. It’s not uncommon for players to miss the last game of the regular season to keep their batting average up. In the KBO, last-minute dirty tricks are more often mentioned than great rivalries.스포츠토토
In 2011, New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes won his first batting title with a .3371 batting average. The runner-up, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, was at .3321. Reyes came up for one at-bat in the final game against the Cincinnati Reds, added a hit and didn’t get another at-bat. He was batting .336 before his final at-bat.
The National League was nearly dominated by Miami Marlins second baseman Luis Araez, who missed the final two games with a bad ankle. He won the batting title for the second straight year with a .354 batting average. Notably, last year he won the AL with the Minnesota Twins and this year he won the NL with the Marlins. Since 1900, the batting titles in both leagues have gone to current New York Yankees DJ LeMay and Arajuez. LeMay hit .348 in 2016 with the Colorado Rockies and .364 during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.