Going Batty

Last year's Minnesota Twins made history with their last-to-first reversal of fortune, and now this year's team is bidding for a distinction of its own. Through last Saturday the Twins had a team batting average of .290, giving them a 26-point lead over the Oakland A's, their nearest pursuers in the American League. No team in this century has ever finished a season leading its league by such a wide margin.

Only two teams, in fact, have led their league by as many as 20 points. The 1968 Cincinnati Reds of Pete Rose, Tony Perez and Lee May hold the record, having outhit the runner-up Pittsburgh Pirates by 21 points. In 1950 the Boston Red Sox, whose fifth-leading hitter was Ted Williams, with a .317 average, topped the Detroit Tigers by 20.

Keep in mind, however, that these heavy-hitting teams aren't necessarily the most successful ones. The aforementioned Reds finished in fourth place; the Red Sox ended up in third.

1992*
.290 TWINS
.264 ATHLETICS
DIFFERENCE +.26

*Through June 6

1968
.273 REDS
.252 PIRATES
DIFFERENCE +.21

1950
.302 RED SOX
.282 TIGERS
DIFFERENCE +.20

CHARTJOHN GRIMWADE ILLUSTRATION
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)