Through the years, many great hitters have laced up their spikes and played the game of baseball. Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, and Stan Musial are just some of the names that come to mind.
Those were guys who could really swing the lumber around the old ballyard.
But, who do you think has the highest lifetime batting average among players with a minimum of 15 years of major league experience?
No, it's not one of the legendary batsmen mentioned above.
Believe it or not, it's none other than Terry Jay Forster.
Yep, "the big fat tub of goo" as he was called by comedian David Letterman in the early-to-mid 1980s is baseball's all-time leading hitter for average.
How is this possible, you ask?
Well, as a relief specialist, Forster seldom ventured up to the plate. But, when he did, he was a virtual hitting machine.
During his 16 year big league career, Forster collected 31 hits in 78 at bats for an robust .397 batting average. Had he not gone hitless in his last big league at bat, he would have batted above .400 for his career.
However, the Los Angeles Dodgers did not sign Forster as a free agent during the winter of 1977 for his ability to hit the ball. They signed him for his ability to get hitters out.
A native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Forster's career stretched from 1971 to 1986. He finished with a 54-65 won-lost record, an earned run average of 3.23 while notching 127 saves in 614 games.
Forster pitched in Los Angeles for five years, from 1978 to 1982. He had his greatest success in 1978 when he helped the Dodgers to a National League pennant, while posting a 5-4 record, saving 22 games and registering a sparkling 1.93 earned run average in 47 games.
Los Angeles fans, however, will likely remember Forster for giving up the game-wining three-run home run to the San Francisco Giants' Joe Morgan on the final day of the 1982 season to knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs.