Mickey Vernon won two American League batting titles, in 1946 and 1953, both for Washington. He set a major league record for career games played at first base and was one of the finest defensive first baseman of the 1940s and 1950s. He was famous as President Dwight Eisenhower’s favorite ballplayer, and he was one of the most popular players in Senators’ history. In 1961 he became the expansion Senators’ first manager.
The 1953 American League Batting Race
Vernon battled Cleveland’s Al Rosen (a former teammate) for the 1953 AL batting title. The race went into the last game of the season. Near the end of the game Vernon’s average was at .337 when word arrived that the Indians’ game was over and Rosen trailed Vernon by .0011 points. The possibility of Vernon coming up to bat again and losing the title prompted his teammates to purposely make outs to end the game. It was Vernon’s second batting title, having won it in 1946 by 11 full points over Ted Williams.