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The Elias Analyst

Burners and Burnouts

Rod Carew, Pete Rose and Tony Gwynn all hit .400 in April at one time or another in their careers. Then again, so did such nonimmortals as Buddy Bradford, Brant Alyea and Bobby Darwin. In all, 38 players have batted .400 or better in April since baseball went to divisional play in 1969. (To qualify, a player must have had at least 3.1 plate appearances for each of his team's games during the month.)

Of course, none of these players kept up that pace. The last player to hit .400 for a season was Ted Williams, who batted .406 in 1941. Only 18 of our 38 first-month sensations fulfilled an even more modest expectation—batting .300. And only three went on to win the batting title: Carew in 1969, Rico Carty in '70 and Gwynn in '84. Here are the best and worst season-ending averages of our April flashes:

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JOHN GRIMWADE

ILLUSTRATION