Mario Mendoza (born December 26, 1950 in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico) is a former Major League Baseball infielder who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1974-78), Seattle Mariners (1979-80) and Texas Rangers (1981-82).
Mendoza was primarily a shortstop, and the epitome of a "good field, no hit" player, compiling a lifetime .215 batting average and .262 slugging percentage. Mendoza also rarely stole a base or drew a walk, resulting in a well-rounded offensive ineptitude that caused him to be little more than a defensive substitute throughout most of his career. The one exception was 1979, when the Mariners, in the third year of their existence, gave Mendoza almost 400 at bats over 148 games. He responded with a .198 batting average.
Mendoza's most lasting contribution to the game was giving his name to the "Mendoza Line," meaning a .200 batting average. The name was reportedly bestowed by George Brett, who came up with the term when using Mendoza as an example of poor hitting during an interview. It should be noted that Brett also praised the defensive abilities of Mendoza during an interview in the 1980 season when Brett was pursuing .400. He noted that Mendoza robbed him of sure base hits on several occasions with exceptional defensive plays.
The term Mendoza Line has also been credited to Bruce Bochte and Tom Paciorek.