Silver Bats and Automobiles

The Hotly Competitive, Sometimes Ignoble Pursuit of the Major League Batting Championship


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SKU: 9780786458790 Categories: ,

About the Book

Almost from professional baseball’s birth more than 130 years ago, the batting championship has been one of the sport’s most highly coveted awards. Since 1949, the Louisville Slugger company has presented the man with the highest batting average at season’s end with the Silver Bat Award, a regulation-sized metal bat plated in sterling silver with the winner’s name and average engraved upon it. Throughout the years, heated battles for the Silver Bat Award have featured unusual machinations by players, managers, and entire teams, including allegations of cheating, bribery, deliberate misplays, and questionable strategies, and, in one especially bitter campaign, charges of racism. Here are the stories behind these races.

About the Author(s)

David L. Fleitz is a web developer and database analyst who lives in Troy, Michigan. A longtime SABR member, he has written nine other books on baseball history.

Bibliographic Details

David L. Fleitz
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: 27 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5879-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8684-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v

Preface      1

1. The Birth of Batting Average      3

2. The First Batting Champions      10

3. Waiting on Deck      17

4. The Eternal Question: Play or Sit?      26

5. Bubbles, Cuckoo, and Schnozz      34

6. A Walk Is as Good as a Hit      45

7. Mad Dog      52

8. The Ted Williams Effect      60

9. An Equal Chance      69

10. Brett and McRae      79

11. 1931: A Four-Way Race      88

12. Scoring Disputes      96

13. The Curious Case of Adrian Anson      104

14. The Unloved Batting Champ      111

15. Cheating for Fun and Profit      119

16. Backing In      127

17. The Boston Connection      135

18. Looking Out for Number One      147

19. Minor League Shenanigans      156

20. Quirky Rules      164

21. Sittin’ Out      172

22. The Most Contentious Batting Race of All      179

23. Beyond Batting Average      192

Chapter Notes      199

Bibliography      207

Index      209