A vastly overrated baseball stat still in use because it's easy to calculate and still carries the mystique of being one third of the Triple Crown for hitters. To determine a player's batting average, divide the number of hits by the number of official at-bats. As noted above, sacrifice flies do not count as at-bats. Neither do sacrifice bunts, walks, or hit batsmen.

I say overrated because it doesn't accurately assess a hitter's ability to get on base, nor his ability to hit for power. The lesser known OPS, which stands for stands for on base percentage plus slugging percentage, measures a hitter's ability much more accurately.

In addition to the situations already mentioned above as plate appearances that do not count as at-bats (walks, sacrifice flies, sacrifice bunt, and hit by pitch), both obstruction and catcher's interference also are not considered at-bats.

Batting average is usually presented out to 3 decimal places (as mentioned above), because that's usually sufficient (similar to as pi is usually written as 3.14). However, the actual batting average can be written out to more decimal places (as with pi or any other calculation). For example, in 1984, Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly battled all season for the American League batting lead. Towards the end of the season, newspapers would show their batting averages at that date, usually out to 4 digits instead of 3 ("Mattingly .3403, Winfield .3397", for example, rather than both at .340)

Batting .400 has been one of the several historic baseball landmarks that is often chased, but not achieved. The last time someone hit .400 in a season was Ted Williams in 1941 (he hit .406). Since then, there have been some close calls (Tony Gwynn hit .394 in the strike-shortened 1994 season; George Brett batted .390 in 1980). See also .400 batting average.

Batting .300 has often been a sign of an All-Star caliber player. However, in 1968, Carl Yastrzemski led the American League with a mere .301 batting average, the lowest average ever to lead a league (several conditions led to the drop in batting average that year).

For info on batting .200, see the Mendoza line.

The all-time career leader in batting average is Ty Cobb with a .3664 average. The single-season record is .4850 in 1887 by Tip O'Neill (not the former speaker of the house, by the same name). In the 20th century, Nap Lajoie batted .4265 in 1901 and Rogers Hornsby hit .4235 in 1924.

Batting average is usually abbreviated as AVG (and sometimes BA).

In the game of cricket, the most reliable statistic for measuring the ability of a batsperson. Batting average is determined by the total runs scored divided by the number of times out. Anything over 40 is generally considered to be competent, and anything over 50 marks you as an elite player.

And if you average 99.94, that means you're Sir Donald Bradman, and you're roughly twice as good as anybody else who's ever played the game of cricket.

The top ten of all time, as at November 2001, are:

DG Bradman     99.94 
RG Pollock     60.97 
GA Headley     60.83 
H Sutcliffe    60.73 
E Paynter      59.23 
KF Barrington  58.67 
ED Weekes      58.61 
WR Hammond     58.45 
GS Sobers      57.78
SR Tendulkar   57.63

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