Los Mendoza City: Base Population 50

Young Tony La Russa ~ Proof that even Bad Hair and a Bad Bat Will Not Keep Some Guys out of The Hall of Fame!

Young Tony La Russa
Proof that even Bad Hair and a Bad Bat won’t keep some guys out of the Baseball Hall of Fame!

mendoza Back in 2002, a fellow named Al Pepper wrote a paperback entitled “Mendoza’s Heroes: Fifty Batters Below .200.” In a way, it was a primal research effort to start defining and recognizing certain career position MLB players who managed to actually last long enough on big league rosters to transcend the spring training and spot service coffee shops on baseball’s aggregate big club rosters as mediocre participant contributors in spite of the fact that all shared one common and glaring weakness. – None of them could hit a lick or the broad side of the barn with a brick or the Pacific Ocean if they all took turns falling out of boats.


In a way, Pepper’s work formed the basis for something that fellow writer Al Doyle of Oshkosh Wisconsin and I first called “The Hall of Mediocrity” back in 2004 – and from that point forward, but we never got around to establishing a clear set of standards for the selection of all players, positional, DH, defensive, or pitching. In the end, we reasoned that any Hall of Mediocrity worthy of its name deserved mediocrity in its compositional planning and structure as well. We took the elevated honoring of dubious distinction and ignominious notation in baseball history as serious business. As a result, eleven years later, The Hall of Mediocrity is still struggling to get off the ground as an actual place. If we had a website address, we would be happy to pass it on to you, but we aren’t that far along in our research and development efforts at this point in history.

This book by Pepper is a fun read, although I lost or misplaced my copy years ago and cannot remember all the names from heart path crossings. Pepper’s Amazon ad reminds us of six names and we have included four of these in the following table to highlight their association at the famous .200 batting average Mendoza Line:

Four Famous Offensive Failures

Bob Uecker 1962-67 6 731 146 .200
Tony La Russa 63-71, 73 6 176 35 .199
Charlie Manuel 69-72, 74-75 6 384 76 .198
Choo Choo Coleman 61-63, 73 4 462 91 .197

The Mendoza Line

mario_mendoza_autograph Named for shortstop Mario Mendoza (Pittsburgh, Seattle, Texas) (1974-82) as a clubhouse joke, the “Mendoza Line” was established at the .200 batting average point, with those hitting there or below then shunned as offensive failures of the first order. Mendoza actually sort of removed himself from this literal negative limelight with a couple of good years (for him) near the end of his career that elevated his nine-season career batting average to .215. (See there? Nobody’s perfect! Even with a chance to clearly fix himself in measurable fact as “perfectly awful” as a hitter, Mendoza couldn’t get it done.


One of the four men listed above also managed to complete his MLB Mendoza Line career without ever hitting a single home run. Do you know who he is? If not, please look it up at either Baseball Almanac or Baseball Reference on the Dot Com circuit. And have a better than a mediocre Thursday, if possible.






One Response to “Los Mendoza City: Base Population 50”

  1. Cliff Blau Says:

    On the other hand, the best hitter with a career batting average below .2 was Frank Fernandez, with an OPS+ of 114:

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