TERRY FORSTER—THE BEST HITTER OF THE LAST 75 YEARS?

TERRY FORSTER—THE BEST HITTER OF THE LAST 75 YEARS? With David Letterman retiring from his show, there have been references to the time in 1985 when Letterman called pitcher Terry Forster “a fat tub of goo”. Forster was a good sport about the joke, but this may have been early days for the kind of name calling as humor that pervades the internet.

The jeer has taken away from a very distinguished major league career. Forster was a good major league relief pitcher for 16 seasons. He may have been the best hitting pitcher of all time.

My caption is a little misleading but is intended to call attention to just how good a hitter Terry Forster was. Batting average is only one metric and no longer highly regarded. Yet here is a link on the baseball reference site to Forster’s batting statistics. His lifetime batting average was .397—over 16 seasons and 620 at bats. To put that in perspective, 620 at bats would be a typical total for a regular position player in a single season. The last player to do better than .397 in a single season was Ted Williams in 1941 when he hit .406.

This wikipedia entry on Forster says: “His .397 lifetime batting average (31 hits in 78 at bats) is the highest for any major leaguer in history with either 50 at bats or with at least 15 years of major league experience.”

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One Response to TERRY FORSTER—THE BEST HITTER OF THE LAST 75 YEARS?

  1. Andrew says:

    I think it was 620 games, not at bats. 78 at bats feels like too small a sample size to say a lot…

    Did you see the mention in the Economist that studied pitchers hitting and estimated that Babe Ruth was merely as good as a normal superstar today?

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