This is a list of all the New York Yankees players who have won batting titles. The list is not overly long, but contains some of the greatest hitters in baseball history.
Just about half the players on the list are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The list is in chronological order. As a lifelong New York Yankees fan, this is a great list.
New York Yankees players who won batting titles
1. Babe Ruth (.378) in 1924
Fittingly, Babe Ruth was the first New York Yankees player to win a batting title. Babe Ruth won his first and only batting title during the 1924 season, when he hit .378. That was not the highest batting average of Babe Ruth’s career; he hit .393 in 1923. Babe lost the batting crown in 1923 to Harry Heilmann, who hit .403.
For his career, Babe Ruth hit .3421. His career average is tied with Dan Brouthers for the ninth highest batting average in major league baseball history.
2. Lou Gehrig (.363) in 1934
Also fittingly, Lou Gehrig won the second batting title in New York Yankees history when he hit .363 in 1943. That was Lou Gehrig’s only batting title, but was not the highest batting average of his career. Gehrig actually surpassed .363 in three other years, when he hit .379 in 1930, .374 in 1928, and .373 in 1927.
For his career, Lou Gehrig hit .3401. His career average is tied with George Sisler for the 16th highest batting average in baseball history.
3. Joe DiMaggio (.381) in 1939
Joe DiMaggio won the third batting title in Yankees history, when he hit .381 in 1939. That was easily the highest batting average of Joe DiMaggio’s career. For his career, Joe DiMaggio hit .3246, which is currently the 41st highest batting average in major league baseball history.
4. Joe DiMaggio (.352) in 1940
Joe DiMaggio became the first, and to this day the only New York Yankees player to win two batting titles, when he hit .352 in 1940. Obviously, DiMaggio is also the only Yankees player to win back-to-back batting titles.
5. Snuffy Stirnweiss (.309) in 1945
Snuffy Stirnweiss became the fourth different New York Yankees player to win a batting crown, when he hit .309 in 1945. Stirnweiss was not really a great hitter, he batted just .268 for his career, but in 1945 many of the best baseball players were still serving in the military due to WW II.
Great hitters like Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams did not play a game in 1945. A lot of great pitchers also did not pitch a game that season in the major leagues. So Snuffy Stirnweiss won his batting title facing inferior pitchers, and did not have to compete against the greatest hitters in the American League.
6. Mickey Mantle (.353) in 1956
Mickey Mantle won his first and only batting title in 1956, when he hit .353. That was not Mickey Mantle’s best batting average, as he came back in 1957 to hit .365, but lost the batting crown to Ted Williams, who hit .388 that season.
For his career, Mickey Mantle hit .298. In his later years, I often heard Mantle say in interviews that he wished he had retired a few years earlier than he did so his career batting average would have been over .300. Mickey Mantle’s greatness was all about his run scoring ability, not his batting average.
In his career, Mickey Mantle scored 1,676 runs in 8,102 at-bats. His run scoring average of .207 is one of the highest in baseball history. Mantle scored over 100 runs nine times in his career, and led the league five times in the category.
7. Don Mattingly (.343) in 1984
Don Mattingly became the sixth different New York Yankees player to win a batting title when he hit .343 in 1984. I remember that season very well, as Mattingly and teammate Dave Winfield battled it out for the last couple of months of the season for the American League batting title. That was a lot of fun to watch.
Dave Winfield ended up hitting a career best of .340 in 1984. Even though Don Mattingly beat him out for the batting title, Dave Winfield ended up in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Mattingly is still on the outside looking in at Cooperstown.
For his career, Don Mattingly hit .3074, which is tied with the immortal Joe Vosmik for 129th best all-time. The .343 he hit in 1984 was not Don Mattingly’s career high. He batted .352 in 1986, but lost the batting title to Wade Boggs, who hit .368 that season.
8. Paul O’Neill (.359) in 1994
Paul O’Neill became the seventh different New York Yankees player to win a batting title, when he hit .359 in 1994. That was easily the highest batting average for a season in O’Neill’s career. For his career, Paul O’Neill hit .288.
9. Bernie Williams (.339) in 1998
Bernie Williams became the eighth different New York Yankees player to win a batting title when he hit .339 in 1998. That was not Bernie’s career high for batting average, as he hit .342 in 1999, but lost the batting title to Nomar Garciaparra, who hit .357 to lead the American League that season.
For his career, Bernie Williams hit .297. Bernie was always one of my favorite baseball players. He was a great clutch hitter, and for a few years at the peak of his career he could run the ball down in the outfield as well as any player I have ever seen.