No such award officially exists in the sport of baseball, but if it did the plaque should be given in honor of Pat Meares. He spent his nine year career as the regular shortstop for the Minnesota Twins and later the Pittsburgh Pirates, an unremarkable but quite adequate infielder who was exactly average.
At no point was this more true than in 1997, when the primary offensive stats of Meares matched exactly the statistics of the average player in baseball. He hit .276, which was the exact overall batting average in both leagues combined, as were the ten home runs Meares amassed that season.
Those numbers would be far from average for the player who would win the Pat Meares Award at this point in the season, for his mark of .276 is more than twenty points higher than the current overall batting average. On the other hand, his ten home runs would be significantly fewer than the league average, which is on pace to reach almost twenty.
In 2018 so far players have a collective batting average of .247 in the American League and just .244 in the Senior Circuit, numbers alarmingly low when compared to the decade in which Meares played. In fact, not one single team has as high a batting average as Meares did in 1997, and the league leading Boston Red Sox (.265) trail him by more than ten points. Amazingly, four clubs have team averages under .230, bottomed out by the .220 overall average of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Although no one is the exact match for Mr. Average that Meares was three decades ago, one guy in the A.L. comes extremely close. Oh, and he happens to be not only a perennial All-Star, but also a future first ballot inductee of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Having a batting average of .247, Albert Pujols is hitting at the precise percentage of the typical player. The eight blasts Pujols has mashed this year is just a half a percentage point more than the average player in the A.L.
Several guys in the National League are hitting .244, the exact overall average so far in 2018. Third baseman Evan Longoria of the San Francisco Giants is one of them, but his ten home runs have put him three over the average. The other .244 hitter is outfielder Ender Inciarte of the Atlanta Braves, who is however three home runs shy of the average National Leaguer.
Trey Mancini, an outfielder for the Orioles, is hitting at the exact average, not of the league he plays in, but the team to which he belongs. His .228 batting average is the same mark at which Baltimore is hitting overall, tied with the Texas Rangers for lowest in the American League.
There is an equivalent to Mancini in the other league, a player whose batting average is exactly the same as his team’s overall mark. Pittsburgh shortstop Jordy Mercer started the day at .255, which is also the collective average of the Pirates as a club.
Meares patrolled the Pittsburgh middle infield fifteen years before Mercer, but the game they are a part of has changed dramatically. A guy who hit twenty points over today’s league average never made an All Star team or ever reached the playoffs, and that season Meares earned $225,00 for being “Mr. Average.”