There have been a fair share of pedestrian ballplayers who won a batting title. Did you know Alex Johnson won a batting title? How about Bill Mueller? Even a guy named Ferris Fain won two batting crowns.
You may not know who Ferris Fain was (he was nicknamed Burrhead), but you probably know most of the batters who collected 2,500 hits. A ballplayer who sticks around long enough to accumulate 2,500+ hits, is a very good player.
Remarkably, in the history of baseball most players who had that many hits and also had a .300 career batting average, captured at least one batting title. Ty Cobb won it 12 times, and Pete Rose won it three times. Miguel Cabrera, who is still adding to his hit total, has won four batting titles.
Only nine players in baseball history have reached the 2,500 hit mark and also had a .300 career average, but failed to win at least one batting title.
Derek Jeter finished second in the batting race twice, once to Nomar Garciaparra, the other time to Joe Mauer.
Paul Molitor seems like a fella who would have won a batting title. But he finished runnerup twice: to Wade Boggs in 1987, and teammate John Olerud in 1993.
Unfortunately for Eddie Collins, he shared the American League with Cobb for almost his entire career. Collins finished second in batting to Cobb three times, and he was in the top five in that category ten times. He was a truly remarkable player, and one of baseball’s best World Series performers.
Sam Rice never seriously competed for a batting title, but the quiet right fielder who played most of his career with the Senators, finished in the top ten numerous times. The other Sam, Mr. Crawford, was runnerup in the batting race four times: twice to teammate Cobb and twice before Terrible Ty arrived in the Motor City.
Frankie Frisch was once traded for Rogers Hornsby, who made it a habit to win the NL batting crown for several years. Frisch never never finished higher than fifth. Another Giant, Mel Ott, won six home run titles, but never finished higher than seventh in the NL batting race.
Robbie Alomar hit .300 nine times, but finished no higher than third in batting, which he did in 1993 and 2001.
Finally, Vlad Guerrero has a surprisingly low amount of “black ink” on his record. He led the league in hits and runs scored once each, and in total bases twice. But he never led the league in any of the triple crown categories. He was a perennial .300 hitter, topping the mark 13 times. He finished third in the batting race four times.
All nine of the players on this list are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.