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Pendleton sits out finale but wins batting title

 
Published Oct. 7, 1991|Updated Oct. 14, 2005

Atlanta's Terry Pendleton won the National League batting title Sunday without lifting a bat. Pendleton sat out Sunday's season finale and finished with a .319 average. Cincinnati's Hal Morris made a run at the crown with a 3-for-4 performance at San Diego but finished second at .318. Morris was on deck when the Reds made their final out. A fourth hit would have given Morris a .3194 average to Pendleton's .3191.

"To win a batting title, to me, that's something to put at the top of the list," Pendleton said. "It's something I did over 580 (actually 586) at-bats. The MVP, that's something the writers vote on."

The third baseman, a strong MVP candidate, also led the NL in hits (187), total bases (303) and multiple-hit games (52).

Pendleton defended the decision by manager Bobby Cox to rest him. Pendleton had played in 104 straight games, many on sore knees, with his last day off coming June 14.

"I could care less (what people say). It's better for me to rest a banged up body," Pendleton said.

The last Atlanta player to lead the NL in batting was Ralph Garr with a .353 average in 1974.

Texas' Julio Franco won the American League batting title. He went 2-for-4 Sunday and finished at .341, making him the first Texas player to win the crown. Boston's Wade Boggs, a five-time AL batting champ, went 0-for-1 and wound up at .332.

Oakland's Jose Canseco and Detroit's Cecil Fielder tied for the major-league home run lead with 44. Neither connected Sunday.

Fielder's 133 RBI made him the first to lead the AL in RBI for consecutive seasons since Roger Maris in 1960-61.

The New York Mets' Howard Johnson, a Clearwater High graduate, won the NL home run (38) and RBI (117) titles. Johnson had one RBI on the final day. San Francisco's Will Clark had none and Pittsburgh's Barry Bonds had two to finish tied for second at 116.

Johnson is the first switch-hitter to lead the NL in RBI and the fourth switch-hitter to lead his league in home runs. Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray did it in the AL, and Rip Collins was the only National Leaguer.

_ Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.