Here’s a treat for you. Following is a graph of Tony Gwynn‘s rolling batting average throughout his career for each 162-game period. The first data point is at his 162nd-career game and gives his batting average for his first 162 games.
Click on the image for a slightly larger version.
I’ve labeled many of the high and low points. Right away, you’ll notice that Gwynn hit .402 over a 162-game period ending in 1995. From July 27th 1993 through May 13, 1995, Gwynn appeared in 162 games, and had 704 plate appearances. He had 624 at-bats with 251 hits (.402 BA), as well as 15 HR, 100 RBI, 121 runs scored, a .457 OBP and a .563 SLG.
Other notes about the fabulous Mr. Gwynn:
- It’s hard not to think of Ted Williams‘ 1941 at this point. That year, Williams batted .406 while leading the league with 37 HR, a .553 OBP, a .735 SLG, and a 235 OPS+. Gwynn was obviously not the same kind of hitter as Williams, never showing that same kind of power. Still over the 1994 season (all of which was encompassed in his .400 season) Gwynn had an OPS+ of 169, his career high. Gwynn also gets high marks for maintaining his average over 624 at-bats. In Williams’ season, he had only 456 at-bats thanks mainly to his very high walk total (and the fact that he didn’t play 162 games.)
- The lowest “rolling-162” batting average of Gwynn’s career was .290 (actually .28952), which he had after the game on August 1, 1992. His full stat line for the preceding 162, covering back to June 23, 1991, was 702 PAs, 639 at-bats, 8 HR, 51 RBI, 88 runs scored, with a slash line of .290/.348/.388. Decidedly un-Gwynnish, but a “worst” career line that hundreds of ballplayers would gladly take, especially the .348 OBP.
- Dude closed out his career batting .343 in his final 162 games, slightly higher than his career mark of .338.
- Those 251 hits Gwynn got over his .400 “season”–that’s an extremely high number. Ichiro had 262 in 2004 (with the benefit of 704 at-bats) and before that the last guy to have so many in a regular season (within a single year) was Bill Terry, with 254 in 1930.