The 60 hit club -- not a single new member in over 70 years.
If I was to ask my readers to name the player holding the all-time mark for most hits in a single month, I'm guessing there'd be a wide variety of answers. Even more difficult would be assigning a number to the record. So, I'll save you all some trouble by declaring that Tyrus Raymond Cobb(in July 1912) holds the all-time M.L. record for most hits in a single month with 68. In fact, Cobb also ranks #2 on the list(tied with Tris Speaker) for notching 67 hits in a single month in July 1922. And while you try to wrap your mind around that figure of 68 hits in a single month, let me also tell you of the 9 other players who had 60 or more "knocks" in a single month. Note: DH stands for the number of double-headers played that month by that player.
So without further ado, here's the line-up of 11 players who've all achieved this lofty mark:
68 / Ty Cobb / July 1912 / played 30 games( 7 DH ) / 127 AB / .535 average
67 / Ty Cobb / July 1922 / played 32 games( 5 DH ) / 137 AB / .489 average
67 / Tris Speaker / July 1923 / played 33 games( 6 DH ) / 137 AB / .489 average
64 / "Pie" Traynor / Aug. 1928 / played 32 games( 7 DH ) / 139 AB / .460 average
63 / Gee Walker / Aug. 1936 / played 32 games( 6 DH ) / 147 AB / .428 average
63 / Bob Johnson / Aug. 1938 / played 40 games( 13 DH ) / 159 AB / .396 average
61 / Rogers Hornsby / July 1923 / played 31 games( 4 DH ) / 125 AB / .488 average
61 / Chuck Klein / July 1930 / played 33 games( 8 DH ) / 141 AB / .432 average
61* / Heinie Manush / July 1932 / played 33 games( 5 DH ) / 149 AB / .409 avg.
60 / Tris Speaker / July 1925 / played 31 games( 5 DH ) / 128 AB / .468 average
60 / Billy Herman / July 1935 / played 34 games( 7 DH ) / 147 AB / .414 average
60 / George Sisler / June 1920 / played 29 games(2 DH) / 114 AB / .526 average
60 / George Sisler / Aug. 1921 / played 32 games( 4 DH ) / 140 AB / .429 average
60 / Earl Averill / July 1936 / played 31 games( 6 DH ) / 132 AB / .454 average
* The official list has Manush with 61 hits, but a check of the daily N.Y. Times boxscores shows only 60. Either way, he's a member of the club.
The first thing that jumps out at me is the unusually large(by today's standards) number of games played in a given month. With the exception of George Sisler in 1920, every other player played at least 30 games. The real number to notice is "Indian" Bob Johnson's 40 games played in August, 1938. The Philadelphia Athletics, due to early season rain-outs, managed to play 13 double-headers in 31 days(including 6 in row from Aug. 23-28). That's 12 games in 6 days and Johnson didn't miss a single inning. Try asking that of any of today's veteran players who often sit out a day game after a night game.
And that might be the most telling reason why no player in the past 70+ years(since Johnson in 1938) has come close to joining this club. Today's players just don't have the opportunity to play that many games in any given month. In fact, the Player's Union has negotiated rules with MLB that limit how many games a team can play without an off-day scheduled in between. A check of any current team's 2009 schedule shows most teams enjoying a minimum of 2-3 off days in months like May, July and August(the 3 months during the season with a maximum 31 days available on the calendar). The three-day All-Star break in July keeps the games played total down and double-headers in baseball have become as rare as complete games by starting pitchers. Most teams, even with make-up games, won't play three double-dips in a season, much less a single month.
All this is not to say it's impossible for another name to be added to the 60-hit list, but it's proving highly unlikely. Since World War II, there have been some notable attemps. Here's a sampling(though not a complete list -- feel free to submit additions via e-mail link) of a few of them I've uncovered:
56 / Ichiro Suzuki / Aug. 2004 / played 28 games / 121 AB / .463 average
55 / Pete Rose / Aug. 1968 / played 32 games( 3 DH ) / 142 AB / .387 average
54 / Rod Carew / June 1977 / played 28 games / 111 AB / .486 average
54 / Alex Rodriguez / Aug. 1996 / played 29 games / 124 AB / .435 average
53 / Richie Ashburn / Aug. 1953 / played 36 games( 9 DH ) / 138 AB / .384 average
52 / Pete Rose / July 1973 / played 31 games( 5 DH ) / 126 AB / .413 average
51 / Billy Williams / May 1964 / played 30 games(5 DH ) / 112 AB / .455 average
51 / Willie Wilson / Aug. 1982 / played 31 games( 2 DH ) / 138 AB / .370 average
51 / Ichiro Suzuki / July 2004 / played 26 games / 118 AB / .432 average
51 / Ichiro Suzuki / Aug. 2001 / played 28 games / 119 AB / .429 average
50 / Todd Helton / Aug. 2000 / played 29 games / 105 AB / .476 average
Two things quickly stand out from this second list. In the last 25+ years, the number of games played in any given month(due primarily to the loss of so many doubleheaders) has decreased dramatically. As recently as 1982, Willie Wilson could still play 31 games in a single month. But Ashburn's 36 games in 1953 are a distant memory and even Rose's 5 double-headers in July of 1973 are a relic of a by-gone era.
Secondly, where are the names of all the great hitters of the last 20 years who might be expected to show up on the 50+ list? For instance, despite winning 8 N.L. batting titles, Tony Gwynn never had 50 hits in a single month. Wade Boggs, George Brett, Paul Molitor, Don Mattingly, Robin Yount and Kirby Puckett never got to 50.
Even the greats from an earlier era( when 32-35 games in a month were still a possibility ) aren't here. Where are Clemente, Kaline, Brock, Aaron, Mays and Yaz(all members of the 3,000 hit club)to name but a few? Just goes to show you how difficult a task even 50 hits in a single month has become. At a time when 200 hits in a single season is a real accomplishment, asking a player to get 25% of his season's total in 30 days is probably expecting too much.