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Michael Cuddyer joins unlikely crew

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 24: Michael Cuddyer #3 of the Colorado Rockies runs to first on his two RBI single off of Brandon Workman #67 of the Boston Red Sox in the seventh inning at Coors Field on September 24, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Michael Cuddyer

Michael Cuddyer became a first-time batting champion in 2013 at the age of 34, batting .331 for the Colorado Rockies. A lifetime .277 hitter in his 13 major league seasons -- he had never batted higher than .284 -- Cuddyer is among the least likely batting champions in the game, having bettered his lifetime mark by 54 points.

The other one-time batting champions with career averages under .300 since 1960 who had differentials of 45 or better in their dream season:

Norm Cash, Tigers

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Career avg.: .271

Batting champion: .361 in 1961

Differential: +90

Andres Galarraga, Rockies

Career avg.: .288

Batting champion: .370 in 1993

Differential: +82

Paul O’Neill, Yankees

Career avg.: .288

Batting champion: .359 in 1994

Differential: +71

Joe Torre, Cardinals

Career avg.: .297

Batting champion: .363 in 1971

Differential: +66

Josh Hamilton, Rangers

Career avg.: .295

Batting champion: .359 in 2010

Differential: +64

Keith Hernandez, Cardinals

Career avg.: .296

Batting champion: .344 in 1979

Differential: +48

Freddy Sanchez, Pirates

Career avg.: .297

Batting champion: .344 in 2006

Differential: +47

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