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Mendoza Line: Baseball Terminology

Beware of the Mendoza Line

Mendoza Line

Mario Mendoza‘s batting average is where the Mendoza Line originates from

The Mendoza Line is something that hitters do not want to hear in association with their name. It has to do with batting average – a bad batting average. The Mendoza Line refers to an average of .200. It is referred to as a reference point for players who are hitting at or around that mark.

While traditionally it has been said that a career batting average of .300 would get a player into the Hall of Fame, that is no longer the case. What is very much certain is that an average hovering around the Mendoza Line will most likely keep a player off of a roster, or at least a starting lineup.

The term, Mendoza Line, refers to Mario Mendoza and his batting average. Mendoza played in the 1970’s and had a career .215 batting average. It is rumored that the term came about because newspapers would print the current batting averages of players and normally cut off around .200, or where Mendoza’s name fell on the list.

Some players have been given credit for giving Mario Mendoza the unpopular association with his name, but regardless of how it came about, nobody wants to see their batting average near the Mendoza Line.  Carlos Pena and Dan Uggla are two power hitters who have sacrificed their batting average for power numbers in their careers.  Both players have always had low batting averages and are typically in danger of falling below the Mendoza Line.

Opposing pitchers would love to face a hitter who is batting a mere .200. Managers cringe at the thought of having a position player in the lineup that has an average that low. Batters are embarrassed by it and can only hope they find some hits to get away from it. The Mendoza Line is a scary thing in baseball and should be used cautiously when speaking to a hitter about his batting average.

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