Tayler: Inside Cody Bellinger’s early run at hitting .400

From Jon Tayler at Sports Illustrated on May 21, 2019:

In the 78 years since Ted Williams became the most recent player to hit .400 or better, scores of men have come close to the fabled number only to fall short. Tony Gwynn was closest to the summit when he hit .394 over the strike-shortened 1994 season. George Brett got as high as .390 in 1980. Rod Carew posted a .388 batting average three years earlier; so did Williams in ’57, at the age of 38 (!).

But it’s been quite some time since anyone got within striking distance. Joe Mauer’s .365 in 2009 is the top figure of the last decade. The high-water mark of the millennium, meanwhile, is .372, with three different hitters—Nomar Garciaparra, Todd Helton (both 2000) and Ichiro Suzuki (‘04)—finishing there but no better. No one’s cracked .380 since Gwynn got within a few hits of the mountaintop in ‘94, and he, Brett and Carew are the only non-Williams hitters since World War II to do even that. “Why no one will hit .400 ever again,” was how ESPN’s Sam Miller titled a piece back in February 2018, breaking down why the figure was now all but impossible to attain. “I’m becoming increasingly convinced that .400 has become an unbreakable threshold,” Miller wrote, “that .400 has quietly moved from baseball’s living history to a relic of its distant past.”

Read the full article here: https://www.si.com/mlb/2019/05/22/cody-bellinger-ted-williams-400

Originally published: May 22, 2019. Last Updated: May 22, 2019.