If ever, during a quiz night, you are asked a question about the last MLB player to maintain a .400 batting average during an entire campaign, you will have to go back to the 1940s to find the answer.
Indeed, this rare distinction still belongs to Ted Williams, the legend of the Boston Red Sox.
On September 28, 1941, the Hall of Famer finished his campaign with six hits in eight appearances in a doubleheader against the A’s, who were playing in Philadelphia at the time. He thus pushed his average for the season to .406. He also led baseball with 37 home runs that season.
It was more common a hundred years ago to see batters hit the ball four out of ten times on average. Pitchers were less advanced and the sport was not at the level it is today.
All that to tell you that the exploits of Luis Arraez of the Marilins of Miami are not trivial as he posted a batting average of .400 after another game of five hits in five appearances Monday against the Blue Jays.
An average of 400 is rare
With July and almost the middle of the season just days away, the 26-year-old infielder opens the batting rotation for Miami most of the time (against right-handed pitchers) and excels in his role as a put on the trails for the following hitters.
By raising his average to .400, Arraez widens the eyes of observers since this feat has not happened in nearly 100 years. Tony Gwynn in 1994 finished the season with a .394 average for the Padres and that’s the closest to another member at the 400 club we’ve come across in recent memory.
To show you how old it is, it’s a good time to point out that Arraez was born in 1997, three years after Gwynn’s extraordinary season. He probably wasn’t even at the project stage for his parents when baseball last had 400 fever.
Through their respective first 67 games played:
1994 Tony Gwynn: .386 AVG, 98 hits
2023 Luis Arraez: .400 AVG, 102 hits
Gwynn’s 1994 was the last time it felt like someone could actually pull off a .400 season.
Arras can do it now. pic.twitter.com/932llaK4Ae
—Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) June 20, 2023
Better still, Arraez leads Gwynn after 67 games played this season by four hits and 14 runs at average.
With 102 hits in 67 games to open the season, Arraez also has the 7th best start since 1970 in the National League behind, again, Tony Gwynn and a few names that will be familiar to Expos fans (Larry Walker and Mark Grugzielanek ).
Most hits in an NL player’s first 67 GP of a season (since 1970):
107-Tony Gwynn (1997)
105- Larry Walker (1997)
104-Ralph Garr (1974)
104- Andres Galarraga (1993)
104- Dee Strange-Gordon (2015)
103- Mark Grudzielanek (’96)
102- @Marlins Luis Arraez (2023)
102- Sean Casey (’99) pic.twitter.com/RfoSvVIWcd
— StatsCentre (@StatsCentre) June 20, 2023
The truly impressive stat for Arraez is the number of games with five or more hits.
Most 5-hit games in one season by an MLB hitter:
Ty Cobb, 4 (1922)
Stan Musial, 4 (1948)
Tony Gwynn, 4 (1993)
Ichiro Suzuki, 4 (2004)
LUIS ARRÁEZ HAS THREE 5-HIT GAMES THIS MONTH!pic.twitter.com/a4KOxoX2RT
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) June 20, 2023
For a full season, the brand is owned by Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Tony Gwynn and Ichiro Suzuki with four. Luis Arraez, in June alone, has three games with five or more hits.
THREE in one month.
Luis Arraez is the 4th player since 1900 to have three 5-hit games in a single month, joining:
⚾️Dave Winfield in June 1984
⚾️Ty Cobb in July 1922
⚾️ George Sisler in August 1921 pic.twitter.com/shZZYLwcsd
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 20, 2023
It’s the fourth time in history that a player has had three games like this in a month, but it hasn’t happened since Ty Cobb in 1922. Yeah, no need to get out your calculators, that’s over hundred years.
Even if Luis Arraez doesn’t finish the season with a .400 average, his current pace is nothing short of historic and gives Miami Marlins fans reason to rejoice.
some would call this a love tap. 😂❤️ pic.twitter.com/nMju15jE2f
—Miami Marlins (@Marlins) June 20, 2023