White Sox Paul Konerko looks for a ‘greybeard’ batting title

Paul Konerko

Paul Konerko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Outfielders: 23

First Basemen: 8

Third Basemen: 8

Shortstops: 6

Catchers: 3

Second Baseman: 1

Designated Hitters: 1

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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