Baseball lore holds that a batting average below .200 is under the Mendoza Line, a threshold named after funny-looking, bespectacled futility infielder Mario Mendoza, a notoriously pathetic hitter of the 1970s.
But, why do we have only one such term for just that one threshold? Why not a unique term for each level? Hell, why not a whole Mendoza Scale that lists an honorary slang term for each benchmark of batting skill?
Why not indeed? Behold…
THE MENDOZA SCALE:
- If you’re hitting under .180, then you’re in The Bergen Basement, named in honor of Bill Bergen, the man with the lowest lifetime batting average of all time.
- .190 is the Sullivan Marc, after the former Red Sox backup catcher Marc Sullivan, (lifetime batting average of .186) whose General Manager father gave him a spot on the team. (Sullivan is also a legend of the video game RBI Baseball, probably due to some kind of programming error.)
- .200 is the infamous Mendoza Line.
- An average around .220 puts you in the Carmen Fanzone, named after the 70’s utility player and flugelhornist Carmen Fanzone, who hit .224 for his career.
- An average near .235 is in the Bevacqua Bubble, named in honor of Kurt Bevacqua, the bubble-gum-blowing champion and slo-pitch softball bat-corker with a lifetime batting average of .236.
- Hitting around .250? Then you’re in the Rader Range, after nutjob Doug Rader and his lifetime batting average of .251.
- A .265 average is The Johnny Benchmark, named after Reds great Johnny Bench and his lifetime .265 average.
- .270 is The Tommy Herr Line in honor of the curly-haired Cardinals second baseman who hit .270 for his career.
- An average of around .280 puts you in the Bay Area, so-called after Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay and his lifetime batting mark of exactly .280.
- The .300 mark has often served as a sort of litmus test for hitters. So a guy who’s hitting just under .300 is at the Al Kaline Base Line, after the Tigers legend who finished his career with a .297 average after 22 seasons.
- If you’re exactly at the .300 mark, then you’re in the Kruk Sac, after blobby de-balled commentator John Kruk and his .300 lifetime average. Note: you don’t actually have to instantly retire once your lifetime average hits .300, even though Kruk did.
- If you’re hitting just a bit over .300, then you’re in the Ott Spot, named after Giants Hall of Famer Mel Ott and his lifetime average of .304.
- Recently, Dustin Pedroia got a couple of hits, moving his batting average from the Al Kaline Base Line, through the Kruk Sac, before landing at the Ott Spot. It was probably more fun than that sounds.
- If you’re at .315, you’ve passed the Greenberg Mile Stone, in honor of Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg, who hit .314 for his career.
- If you’re hitting over .320, then you’ve made The Carew Cut, named after Hall of Famer Rod Carew, whose mad hits earned him a lifetime mark of .328.
- If you’re hitting .330, then you’re driving the Suzuki Boulevard, in honor of Ichiro Suzuki and his lifetime average of .332.
- .333 is The Gwynning Percentage, named after Padres Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
- Anything higher than the Gwynning Percentage is a Ty Score, named of course after Ty Cobb, who had the highest career batting average of all-time: .367.
Tags: Bevacqua Bubble, Carew Cut, Kruk Sac, Mendoza Line, Red Sox, The Mendoza Scale