Nothing stays the same for long

Originally Published: February 11, 2005
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
Three Hundred

One Hundred.


Simple round numbers expressed as words, and absent context, are not particularly exciting. But for a baseball fan in the 1970s, those numbers were exciting. A hitter with a .300 batting average had really done something. Same for a hitter with 100 RBI. And if he did both … well, now you're talking MVP candidate.

Or at least you were then. These days, .300 and 100 don't get you much except maybe a few token bottom-of-the-ballot MVP votes from the hometown writers, and perhaps a middling contract offer if you're a free agent (unless you're represented by Scott Boras, in which case the Tigers will pay you like you're the new Willie Mays). We all understand that 40 home runs in 2005 aren't the same as 40 home runs in 1975, but do we understand the extent to which that's true? Probably not, which is why readers regularly ask me what's the modern equivalent of a .300 batting average, or a .400 on-base percentage, or 100 RBI. And with a helpful prod from my editor, today I'm finally going to answer the question.