MLB Batting Leaders By Year—1990s
Guys like Larry Walker and Tony Gwynn were dominant hitters in the 1990s, but there were a few others sprinkled in that had outstanding and/or career seasons. Here is a complete list of batting leaders in the major leagues by year during that decade:
1999-Larry Walker, Colorado Rockies (.379)
Larry Walker began his career in Montreal, but when Walker moved to the thin air of Coors Field, it elevated his batting average as high as the mountains. In 1999, Walker led the majors in batting for the second straight year. He hit .379 with 37 home runs, 115 RBI, 26 doubles, 108 runs, 11 stolen bases, .458 on base average and lofty .710 slugging percentage. Somehow, though, Walker only finished 10th in the NL MVP voting.
1998-Larry Walker, Colorado Rockies (.363)
Larry Walker led the league in batting in 1998 as well as in 1999. In '98, Walker batted .363 with 23 homers and 67 runs batted in, and this was only in 130 games played. Walker also had 46 doubles (tied a career best), 113 runs, .445 on base average and a .630 slugging percentage.
1997-Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padres (.372)
Tony Gwynn put on a batting clinic for most of his career, which spanned 20 seasons, all with San Diego, with a career average of .338. Gwynn led the league in batting several times, the last of those years being 1997 when he led all of the majors with a .372 average. Gwynn also had career highs that season in homers (17) and RBI (119), doubles (49), and hits (220). He finished with a .409 on base average and a .547 slugging percentage.
1996-Alex Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners (.358)
Before he was a Yankee and even before he was a wealthy Texas Ranger, Alex Rodriguez came up with the Seattle Mariners and played there a few seasons. In 1996, at the age of 20, Rodriguez led the majors in batting with a .358 average. He also had 36 homers, 123 RBI, 54 doubles, 215 hits, 141 runs, 15 stolen bases, .414 on base average and .631 slugging percentage.
1995-Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padres (.368)
1995 began a bit late due to the residual effect of the players' strike in 1994, but Tony Gwynn got on track quickly, hitting .368 to lead the majors. That season, Gwynn hit 9 homers, with 90 RBI, 33 doubles, 17 stolen bases, a .404 on base average and .484 slugging percentage.
1994-Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padres (.394)
In a gem of a career, 1994 was truly amazing for Tony Gwynn, and if it weren't for that awful players' strike, Gwynn may have been the first player in decades to hit over .400. In 110 games, Gwynn finished with an MLB best .394 batting average, with 12 homers, 64 runs batted in, 35 doubles, 79 runs, .454 on base average and .568 slugging percentage.
1993-Andres Galarraga, Colorado Rockies (.370)
Like Larry Walker, Andres Galarraga's career really took off when he started playing in Colorado. His first year there, 1993, Galarraga led the majors in batting with a .370 average. He also had 22 home runs, 98 runs batted in, 35 doubles, and career-best 602 slugging percentage.
1992-Edgar Martinez, Seattle Mariners (.343)
Like Gwynn, Edgar Martinez played his whole career with one team, the Seattle Mariners, and was a "professional hitter." Martinez had a .312 career batting average in 18 seasons. In 1992, Martinez led the majors by hitting .343, with 18 homers, 73 RBI, 46 doubles, 100 runs, 14 stolen bases, and a .544 slugging percentage.
1991-Julio Franco, Texas Rangers (.341)
Though he hasn't officially retired from the game, Julio Franco has played 23 seasons including 2007 with Atlanta and the New York Mets at the age of 48. Franco has always been a great hitter, but hasn't led the majors in batting since 1991 while with Texas, when he hit .341. That season, Franco hit 15 home runs, with 78 RBI, 108 runs, 201 hits, 27 doubles, 36 stolen bases, .408 on base average and .474 slugging percentage.
1990-Willie McGee, St. Louis Cardinals (.335)
Willie McGee was another steady player who helped the Cardinals to the postseason several times. In 1990, McGee led the majors with a .335 batting average, even though that was his average with the Cardinals, who he played for in 125 games before being traded to Oakland. He also had (just in the NL) 62 RBI, 32 doubles, 28 stolen bases and a .437 slugging percentage.