For a full major league baseball season, what player has led his team with the fewest number of hits? If the season did not have 162 games, what is the answer for 162 game seasons?
The answer to this question is Kaz Matsui in 2004 for the New York Mets with 125 hits.
The next best are Tommy Harper of the Seattle Pilots with 126 in 1969, Deon Sanders of the Reds in 1997 with 127. And finally rounding out the top 5 are Lou Whitaker and Luis Polonia For the 89 Tigers and 90 Angels respectively with 128 each.
My analysis determines that it's fairly common for a team to have a leader with fewer than one hit per game. It's happened over 250 times since the 162 game schedule was adopted in 1962 (with 4 strike shortened seasons thrown out). Which is an average of about five teams per year.
My research also indicates that the all time low water mark is:
Bill O'Rourke of the 1878 Boston Red Stockings with 71 hits over the 60 games that comprised that league year.
I've confirmed this to be the case, there are several players from other leagues (Union Association and American Association) that have fewer hits, but it seems their teams played many many fewer games than were scheduled (my baseball history is not strong enough to know why without more research).