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Since 1941 who has been over .400 in August?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Since when is batting .381 considered "measly"? Are you referring to 1939? DiMaggio only hit .357 in 1941.

    Yes, I meant to refer to 1939, of course. Thank you for pointing that out, HWR. I didn't intend to cite his even measlier year of 1941, when he only hit .357.

    Here he is in May of '39 on the cover of LIFE, already tearing up the league and trying out the cocked-hat look. A man obviously ahead of his time.
    Last edited by TRfromBR; 05-09-2007, 07:43 PM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by TRfromBR View Post
      No, but this is a very august topic.

      Below are Ted Williams and teammate Joe DiMaggio, right after Williams won the All Star Game in July of '41. DiMaggio was well on track to break .400 until the very end of the season when he forced to continue playing despite an eye infection. He lost about twenty points in two weeks or so, and ended up with a measley .381.
      I was just wondering why Derrick Lee's current season, barely past 10 games, is being discussed here.
      Lee's a great hitter, but that's not relevant for this thread. Hopefully he can do better this August than he did a couple years ago.
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      • #33
        Originally posted by TRfromBR View Post

        Yes, I meant to refer to 1939, of course. Thank you for pointing that out, HWR. I didn't intend to cite his even measlier year of 1941, when he only hit .357.

        Here he is in May of '39 on the cover of LIFE, already tearing up the league and trying out the cocked-hat look. A man obviously ahead of his time.
        Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan
        He actually said that he should have hit .400 that year, but there his eye got infected, and McCarthy wouldn't take him out until he had slumped way too far. He said had he been taken out and let his eye heal he could have hit .400.
        Dimaggio was a perfect baseball player his first 6 years. Despite playing in a pitchers' park, and one of the worst for right handed power hitters, his line was .345/.408/.626 with 198 homeruns and ONLY 160 career strikeouts. In 37' he had 418 total bases and produced the 7th most runs of any American Leaguer in any single season- and all of this as the best centerfielder in the game.

        Nonetheless (and despite being right handed, a huge disadvantage in and of itself), and playing in Yankee Stadium, Dimaggio should have hit .400 in 1939.

        This is excerpted from Fay Vincent's book.

        "May I ask you a fan's questions?"

        "You are the commissioner of baseball. You can ask me anything you want, Mr. Commissioner. I'll answer."

        I warmed him up with some innocent questions. But then:

        "How come you never hit 400?" I asked.

        "Now that is a question almost nobody asks me," he said.

        "They're afraid. I know you won't yell at me."

        "It's a good question," DiMaggio said. This was a pleasing thing, to be able to ask DiMaggio — the great DiMaggio, as Ernest Hemingway called him in The Old Man and the Sea — a good question. "In 1939, I was going to hit .400. Right around the first of September, we clinched the pennant. We always clinched around the first of September. Right about then, I was hitting .408.

        "I was going to hit over .400 that year. Then I got an eye infection. Couldn't see out of the infected eye. Our manager was Joe McCarthy. Every day, McCarthy puts me in the lineup. Commissioner, that guy made out a lineup card in April and he never changed it. Every day I'd go to the ballpark, every day my eye is getting worse and worse, and every day I'm in the lineup. I couldn't hit. My average starts falling. Finally, the eye gets so bad they have to give me an injection in the eye. And McCarthy still has me in the lineup. I wouldn't say anything to him. Now I did not have a bad year, Commissioner. I batted .381. But with my eye amost closed I had to open my stance. The infection was in my left eye, the lead eye. So I had to swing my left foot around to try to see the ball, but I couldn't. I had trouble and my average fell. That was my year to bat .400 and I didn't do it."

        My little interview was going all right, so I asked the follow-up question: "Joe, did McCarthy ever tell you why he kept you in the lineup every day with the eye infection?"

        "Yes, one time," Joe said. "We were in Buffalo, speaking together. He says, 'Joe, did you ever wonder why the hell I kept you in the lineup that year, when you had the bad eye?'

        "I said, 'Yes, I did.'

        "He says, 'Because I didn't want you to be a cheese champion.'"

        "Cheese champion?" I asked. "What does that mean?"

        "I don't know, Commissioner," Joe said. "I never asked."


        (A cheese champion is (what I infer to be) a player who sits on the bench and inherits records or accolades largely by virtue of his not playing, I presume.) Anyone on the cusp of hitting .400 at the end of the year is going to regress to the mean (i.e., is very likely to drop under .400 the more that player comes to the plate). Especially given that players tend to wear down physically by the end of the year and drop off statistically.

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        • #34
          Well, Joe got the 56, and Ted got the 406. Incredible, both of them.

          And, you know, maybe McCarthy was right. Joe may have really gotten alot of grief if he sat it out - even though the team was safely ahead of Boston (by 17 games when they took the pennant!)
          .

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