NOVEMBER 18, 1980 | KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – This was an easy one. In 1980 Kansas City Royals’ 3rd baseman George Brett was the last American Leaguer since Ted Williams in the 1940’s to flirt with a .400 batting average since. So, who else but Brett should be awarded the American League’s Most Valuable Player award for that year?
Brett didn’t start out gang-busters in 1980. The first two months of the season his average hovered around .260 . As far into the season as May 22nd he was hitting only .255.
George Brett kicked it into gear in June and July, topping out at .390 July 31st. Brett eclipsed .400 (.401 to be exact) on August 17th, going 4 for 4 with 5 RBI.
Fans all over the country followed his march toward the first .400 average since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941 for the Boston Red Sox.
Brett was hitting .406 on August 20th, .407 on August 26th. Brett’s batting average was over .400 16 of the final 35 days of the regular season, but not the last day. He finished the 1980 season with a .390 average with 24 home runs and 118 runs batted in.
Brett’s .390 remains the second highest batting average in the Major Leagues since 1941. Tony Gwynn hit .394 in 1994 for the San Diego Padres.
The highest averages since Brett and Gwynn are:
Will we ever see a .400 batting average again? The Cubs won the World Series in 2016, so anything is possible.
Single season batting average leaders