10 players who might have hit .400 for the 1999 Colorado Rockies

At the end of yesterday’s post, I noted that the stat converter on Baseball-Reference says Home Run Baker would have .413 if his 1913 season was translated to the 1999 Colorado Rockies, and I wondered aloud how many other players would hit .400 there. The idea stuck in my head, and I started playing around with the converter Thursday evening. It turns out an astonishing number of players could theoretically have hit .400 if they’d played a prime season for Colorado in ’99.

As I noted yesterday, the converter’s far from perfect, though I had fun seeing how ridiculously well some of the all-time greats may have done. Here are how ten stars might have fared on ’99 Rockies, which could double as a list of Hall of Fame-caliber players who never hit .400:

Player What his numbers convert to for the ’99 Rockies
Hank Aaron His 1959 season where he led the majors with a .355 average translates to .418, with 53 home runs and 305 hits
George Brett His magical 1980 season where he flirted with .400 for much of the year and finished at .390 is good for .454
Rod Carew Another player, like Brett, who nearly hit .400 when he batted .388 in 1977, Carew’s numbers convert to .456. In fact, if Carew played his career on a team like the ’99 Rockies, he’d hit over .400 six straight years and his lifetime average would be .395
Joe DiMaggio He would twice hit over .400, for his 1939 and 1941 seasons, if he played on a team like the ’99 Rockies. Interestingly, he’d have the better average in 1939 — .414 to .403 in 1941, the year of his 56-game hitting streak.
Tony Gwynn Gwynn would hit over .400 eight seasons playing on a team like the ’99 Rockies, peaking at .440 in 1987 and finishing at a .396 lifetime clip (he and Carew have nothing, however, on Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby and Joe Jackson who would hit over .400 lifetime. Cobb finishes with an almost nauseating .431 career average, eclipsing .400 13 consecutive years.)
Derek Jeter This might be the most interesting name here, because Jeter’s ’99 season with the Yankees converts to .401 on the Rockies that year. Perhaps if Jeter had played for Colorado, we’d have had the first .400 hitter since Ted Williams in 1941.
Mickey Mantle His 1957 season, where hit .365 for the Yankees translates to .450. Mantle also would have 74 home runs in 1961, not that it matters for unseating Barry Bonds if Bonds gets hold of the converter (read three tabs down, try not to vomit.)
Willie Mays Mays would hit a converted .410 for his 1958 season, with 882 home runs lifetime. He’d also hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases three straight years and fall one home run shy of being the first 50-50 player.
Babe Ruth I mentioned this in yesterday’s post, but Ruth would hit over .400 six times playing his career on a team like the ’99 Rockies with 906 career home runs and a .386 lifetime average.
Barry Bonds I saved this one — both the best and the worst — for last. It has all the joy of watching any steroid-addled jerk triumph, but the conversion for Bonds’ 2001, 73-home-run season is too astonishing to exclude. Here’s how the year translates to the ’99 Rockies: 101 home runs, a .402 average and 200 RBI. Bonds also hits .461 in 2002.


To anyone wondering where to find the converter (I had to look around on Baseball-Reference), here’s what to do:

  1. On a player’s page, next to Standard Batting near the top, click More Stats
  2. Scroll down to Neutralized Batting
  3. Click on the drop down for year and select any of them, which will bring up a league tab. Repeat the process, which brings up a team drop down. After selecting a year, a league and a team, a player’s stats will automatically convert.

All of this is not to suggest anyone would hit .400 on the ’99 Rockies. Jackie Robinson fell just short in the converter, as did Frank Robinson, Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. (though Will Clark, Keith Hernandez and other lesser greats would have had .400 seasons.) And Ray Oyler would only hit .267 were his 1967 season converted to the ’99 Rockies, though it trounces his .175 lifetime batting average.

0 thoughts on “10 players who might have hit .400 for the 1999 Colorado Rockies”

  1. Got an interesting email from a reader I sent this post to. He wrote:

    Good morning Graham,

    I like it very much.

    Now, for an uninformed opinion, for what it’s worth. To hit .400, one must make a lot of contact. If you look, the average major leaguer will hit anywhere from .300 to .333, roughly when they make contact. I’ll go out on a limb and say that anyone who strikes out more than fifteen percent of his AB’s is automatically never going to have a shot. As you can see, Mantle in 57 struck out only 75 times, or roughly just under sixteen percent of the time, but .434 when he put the ball in play.

    The more AB’s a player has, the greater the chance that the law of large numbers will drag him below the magic mark, so he must get off to a pretty good start and then have some above average breaks in the way of hits that would otherwise have been fielded than normal. Everything has to fall just right to get there, and the guy needs to have above average speed.

    The other big thing is that the converter leaves out the mental part of the game. .400 is such a magic number today that the pressure would put such an additional strain on a player that this alone could effect his concentration and approach at the plate. We can probably guess that this added pressure and press coverage would knock anywhere from five to fifteen points off the converters average.

    Then he went on to list several players who the stat converter says also would have hit .400 for the ’99 Rockies including Ichiro Suzuki, Richie Asburn and Cecil Travis.

    Interesting stuff.

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