White Sox Paul Konerko looks for a ‘greybeard’ batting title
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.
There’s still a lot of games yet to be played in the season, but we are seeing a couple of interesting developments in the batting races. Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko is sitting atop the American League with a .346 average. Should he eventually win the title, Konerko, age 36, would become the oldest A.L. batting champ since 1990 when 37-year-old George Brett won the crown.
Since 1987, there have been 21 players age 30+ who won a batting title. The last was in 2008 when 36-year-old Chipper Jones won the National League batting title. The last 30-something player to win an American League batting championship was in 2007 when 33-year-old Magglio Ordonez had the highest average.
Following are the oldest players to win a batting crown in the last 25 years.
Age, Player, Batting Average
39 Barry Bonds, 362
37 Barry Bonds, .370
37 Tony Gwynn, .372
37 George Brett, .329
36 Chipper Jones, .364
36 Tony Gwynn, .353
35 Tony Gwynn, .368
Of the 50 batting champions since 1987 (25 in the A.L., 25 in the N.L.), 22 were in the age range of 25-29 when they won the title. Fifteen were age 30-34, seven were age 35-39, and six were age 20-24. The most common age of a batting champ since 1987 was 29 with eight players. The Top Five ages:
Age 29: Eight batting champs
Age 32: Five batting champs
Age 28: Five batting champs
Age 26: Four batting champs
Age 30: Four batting champs
Also interesting is that with Konerko and Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto leading their respective league in batting average, could we be looking at the first pair of first basemen to win batting titles since 1993? In ’93, Colorado’s Andres Galarraga won the N.L. batting crown with a .370 average, and Toronto first sacker John Olerud captured the A.L. batting title with a .363 average.
Outfielders have won the most batting titles since 1987 with 23. Here’s a look at the positions that have won the most batting titles in the last 25 seasons.
Position, Batting titles since 1987
First Basemen: 8
Third Basemen: 8
Second Baseman: 1
Designated Hitters: 1
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