Batting .400

Written by Stephen Earsom
Friday, June 07, 2013

Photo of Stephen D. Earsom.As the story goes, Ted Williams had been out duck hunting on December 7th, 1941, the day of the Pearl Harbor attack. Williams had just finished a baseball season for the record books. His batting average going into the final day of the season was .39955, which was high enough to be rounded up to .400. He could sit out the final double-header, protect this amazing hitting feat, and be assured of All-Star if not Hall of Fame status.

Unfortunately, Ted Williams has been beating us this survey year. It’s normal to have poor enough weather that we can’t survey from time to time, but it’s less common to have stretches that are so bad for so long that when we finally get back in the air, the trees have leafed out and the ducks have moved from breeding to brooding. Such is the case this year though. With just a couple of days left, and after having to cancel some areas of our survey because of the aforementioned biological march toward the summer solstice, we have surveyed 6 days and sat on the ground 11. Check my math here, but by my calculations that gives us a batting average of .353. Now that’s still mighty respectable if you’re playing baseball, but it’s a big step down from last year when we batted nearly “1000.” I still think we’re going to beat Mr. Williams though, Hall of Fame or not.

Speaking of whom, you might already know that he didn’t sit out that last double-header. Instead, he went 6-for-8 and finished the season with an astounding .406 average. After that, the Marines called. Williams served in WWII, returned to cement his legend as a Hall of Fame hitter, then returned to serve his country as a combat pilot in Korea. He lived a pretty amazing life, though I never did hear how his duck hunting went that fateful day.