This generation of baseball fans has grown accustomed to records falling, both at the plate and on the mound, but this season the Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn is quietly making history of a different sort. With a batting average of .161, he is on track to put up the lowest single-season batting average by any player qualified for a batting title since 1910.
The last time a qualified player had a lower average than Dunn was 102 years ago when Bill Bergen hit .139 as a starter for the 1909 Brooklyn Superbas. And at least Bergen had several excuses: he was the league’s best defender at catcher (usually considered the most important defensive position on the field) and the National League as a whole hit .244 that season, scoring only 3.7 runs a game.
Dunn, on the other hand, is often the designated hitter, rarely takes the field, and plays in a league that through Wednesday was hitting .255 with 4.3 runs a game. When taking these factors into account, Dunn’s season is all the more remarkable.