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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #21: Rudy Pemberton

Rudy Pemberton is not particularly memorable, and yet for a few weeks he was a monster.

He was a mediocre minor league outfielder in the Detroit system when he was traded to the Red Sox in early 1996. Out of nowhere, at age 26, he destroyed pitching with Pawtucket that summer to the tune of .326 with 27 homers and 92 RBI. The parent club called him up in September, and he proceeded to set one of the stranger records in MLB annals.

In 41 major league at-bats that fall, Rudy collected 21 hits, eight of them doubles. His resulting .512 average is the highest single-season average for any player with more than 30 at-bats in major league history. Including his Detroit numbers, he went 45-134, a .336 average, with three homers and 23 RBI in 52 games. And yet he never played in the majors again.

Rudy, we hardly knew ye.

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