Since 1900, there have been many cases where a player had a higher batting average than his team’s winning percentage. The wretched Phillies and Browns teams of the 1930s and 40s are examples of the famously floundering clubs that littered the first half of the century. After 1950, however, only five players accomplished the feat. Four of them happened to be on the same team: the absolutely awful 1962 Metropolitans. The expansion Mets, of whom manager Casey Stengel said, “They’ve shown me ways to lose that I never knew existed,” bumbled their way to a 40-120 record and the National League cellar. Only the 1916 Athletics and 1935 Braves have had worse winning percentages than the Mets’ .250. The four players who batted over .250 that year were 2B Charlie Neal, 3B Felix Mantilla, CF Richie Ashburn, and LF Frank Thomas. Ashburn was highest at .306. Three years later the Amazins won only 31% of their games, but the best hitter on the team, Ed Kranepool, batted only .253.
The fifth and final player to bat higher than his team’s winning percentage was Dick Groat of the 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates. Groat did not have a spectacular season, slugging only .313 in 95 games. Still, the rookie’s .284 average was 11 points higher than Pittsburgh’s winning percentage. The Pirates spent another six years near the bottom of the NL standings, but Groat’s perseverance paid off with a championship in 1960.