Last season Adam Dunn had one of the most forgettable seasons in major league history: A .159 batting average with 177 strikeouts and only 11 home runs, the fewest in his then 11-year career. He also became the first batter in MLB history to hit under .160 with 450 or more plate appearances in a season. (He was the second batter in history to hit under .180 with 450 plate appearances; Rob Deer first accomplished this rare feat in 1991 when he hit .179 in 539 plate appearances.)
This past season, Dunn turned the tables. He slugged 41 home runs and drove in 96 runs in leading the White Sox to a second place finish in the American League Central. He also led the league with 105 walks. It was the sixth time in his 12-year career that Dunn has hit 40 or more home runs in a season. He was also an American League all-star.
But there was also a glimpse of the 2011 season in Dunn’s just-completed 2012 campaign: He struck out a league-leading 222 times, falling one “K” short of the major league record. In addition, Dunn set a new mark for the lowest batting average for a player who hit 40 or more home runs, .204. The previous mark was held by Dunn when he batted .234 in 2006 with 40 home runs.
An interesting footnote to Dunn’s new mark, is that he was not the only 40-plus home run hitter this year to have a low batting average. The Yankees’ Curtis Granderson slugged 43 homers this season with a .232 batting average, now the second-lowest batting average for a player who hit 40 or more home runs in a season.
Following is a look at the 12 players who hit 40-plus HRs in a season with a batting average under .250.
Player, year, batting average (HRs)
Adam Dunn, 2012: .204 (41)
Curtis Granderson, 2012: .232 (43)
Adam Dunn, 2006: .234 (40)
Adam Dunn, 2008: .236 (40)
Jose Canseco, 1998: .237 (46)
Harmon Killebrew, 1959: .242 (42)
Harmon Killebrew, 1962: .243 (48)
Jay Buhner, 1997: .243 (1997)
Gorman Thomas, 1979: .244 (45)
Greg Vaughn, 1999: .245 (45)
Adam Dunn, 2005: .247 (40)
Darrell Evans, 1985: .248 (40)
Dunn is also one of nine players in major league history to have 250 or more career home runs with a career batting average under .250. The nine are (home runs/batting average): Dave Kingman (442/.236); Darrell Evans (414/.248); Adam Dunn (406/.240); Graig Nettles (390/.248); Greg Vaughn (355/.242); Mike Cameron (278/.249); Carlos Pena (277/.234); Tom Brunansky (271/.245); Gorman Thomas (268/.225).
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