George Brett’s Pursuit of .400 More than 40 Years Ago Stands Test of Time

George Brett’s Pursuit of .400 More than 40 Years Ago Stands Test of Time
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

As the 2023 MLB regular season makes its way towards the All-Star break, one position player is eyeing the sport’s record book.

Miami Marlins infielder Luis Arraez still has a .400 batting average within his sights (.399 through June 27). No one has hit .400 since Ted Williams in 1941, but George Brett is one of the few to come close, when he hit .390 in 1980.

To put Brett’s historic 1980 season in perspective, we utilized data from to find which Royals have hit for the highest batting averages since his retirement following the 1993 season. For this list, we instituted MLB’s batting title qualifications of 3.1 plate appearances per scheduled games.

Because of Arraez’ heroics, Miami leads the National League Wild Card race. But Kansas sports betting sites still list the Marlins in the bottom half of the league when it comes to World Series odds at +6600.

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Best Royals Year-End Batting Averages

Year Player Batting Average
2002Mike Sweeney.340
2000Mike Sweeney.333
1999Mike Sweeney.322
2000Jermaine Dye.321
2010Billy Butler.318
2018Eric Hosmer.318
1998Jose Offerman.315
1999Joe Randa.314
2012Billy Butler.313
1994Wally Joyner.311

Despite his hot start, BetMGM Sportsbook Kansas lists Arraez at just +2000 odds to win the NL Most Valuable Player award.

Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. has the best odds at -140.

Few Royals Have Approached .400 Since Brett

When you gaze at the Royals’ batting average leaderboard post-Brett, it demonstrates how impressive his 1980 season was.

Kansas City’s year-end batting average leader since 1980 (Mike Sweeney in 2002) managed to hit .340. Sweeney has the three best batting average seasons for the Roayls since 1980.

The closest any other Royal came to hitting .400 was when outfielder Jermaine Dye finished the 2000 season with a .321 batting average. Eric Hosmer, who hit .318 in 2018, has the best season-long batting average of any Royal since 2011.

To put Arraez’s 2023 exploits into greater context, the Royals’ current batting average leader is third baseman Matt Duffy — the only K.C. everyday player to have an average above .300 (coming in at .303 entering Tuesday).

Duffy hasn’t played in enough games to qualify as the Royals’ leading hitter, however, leaving longtime backstop Salvador Perez as the team’s leading hitter at .263.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given Kansas City’s lack of hitting prowess, the Royals currently sit 22.5 games back of the Marlins — with a winning percentage (.282) that’s roughly half of Miami’s (.570).

Likewise, Kansas sports betting apps list Kansas City among a group of four teams with the worst World Series odds — +100000.



Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is a lead writer at specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years.

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