As of today, the baseball world watches as yet another talent (this time Andre Ethier) chases one of the game's most untouchable records.
Years ago, the New York Yankees' Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games, setting the gold standard for consistency throughout professional baseball.
In tribute to DiMaggio's incredible feat, the following is a list of each MLB team's longest hit streak.
In college, I had a buddy who didn’t like baseball at all. After becoming friends with me, he learned to tolerate the sport, but had no team allegiances. So, in an attempt to be difficult, he asked me what the worst team in baseball was, so he could get a hat.
My answer? The Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
At the time, no one would have argued with me. The Devil Rays were in the midst of 10 straight seasons of futility, with no end in sight.
However, since then, the now-named Rays have done a nice turnaround.
Since finishing fifth in the AL East in 2007, the Rays have reeled off three straight winning seasons, sparked by a host of good young talent.
During their burgeoning success, the Rays saw one of their young talents, Jason Bartlett, hit in 19 straight games, setting a record for the young organization.
In the history of the Oakland A’s, a lot of great hitters stand out, including guys like Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire.
However, in the 100 years of the franchise, the only man to hit in more than 20 games was Stan Javier.
Now, technically, the streak belongs to not only the A’s but the Angels. In 1993, Javier ended the season as an Angel…on a four-game hitting streak. The next season, the new Athletic hit in 17 more, setting an Athletics record.
History was made.
The Rockies have a short, rather uneventful history.
Established in 1993, the Rocks have made the playoffs only twice.
However, despite little success as an organization, many great players have come through Colorado.
Whether its new studs (Tulo and Cargo), or longtime stalwarts (Todd Helton), Colorado definitely has seen a laundry list of talented guys.
That list begins with Larry Walker.
From ’97 to ’99, Walker hit .366, .363, .379, respectively. He also won an MVP.
In 1999, his fourth All-Star season, Walker set the Rockies record for consecutive games with a hit: 21.
The Pirates have won five World Championships. They’ve had six players win the MVP. Undoubtedly, they are one of the oldest and most storied of baseball’s franchises.
Unfortunately, a rich and successful history has done nothing for the Buccos in the last three decades.
They’ve haven’t been to the World Series since 1979, never won a National League Central title since joining the division in 1994, and haven’t even finished over .500 since 1992.
In short, to anyone 25 and under, the Pirates are synonymous with “laughingstock.”
It isn’t a surprise, then, that one has to jog back more than a century to find Pittsburgh’s longest hitting streak.
In 1899, second baseman Jimmy Williams’ first season as a Pirate, he strung together 26 consecutive games with a hit through May and June.
Soon after, Williams put together another impressive string, carrying a 27-game hit streak throughout August and September and setting a Pirates record that still stands today.
In the spirit of not mincing words: my Fantasy Baseball team BLOWS.
Now, I’m pretty sure my utter despair so far (neck-and-neck with the dude who drafted four catchers) is a result of an amalgam of several mini-failures.
Jayson Werth has yet to come around. Carlos Ruiz went 0-for-April. Hanley Ramirez has been playing like a woman.
However, it’s become abundantly clear that the MAIN reason I’m trailing teams like “ChaseisHOTT” and “The Whole Cubs Roster” is that I broke my one Cardinal rule: ALWAYS DRAFT ICHIRO.
Anyone who knows anything about the Mariners knows that their history is pretty much made up of three studs: Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, and Ichiro.
Not surprisingly (as Griffey and Martinez were power hitters), Ichiro holds the Mariners record for consecutive games with a hit (27 in 2009).
With a Major League record of 262 hits in a season (2004), Ichiro remains the only player in sight who could challenge Pete Rose for the all-time hits record.
Perhaps it’s because they haven’t been any good since the mid-90s. Or, perhaps it’s because even their own fans mistake them for hockey players when they see them on the street.
For whatever reason, even as a staunch baseball fan, I’ve never really given the Blue Jays much thought.
They are always okay. Never great (recently).
And, through no fault of their own, they are forced to fight tooth and nail in a division with the behemoth Red Sox and Yankees. Not to mention, they’re Canadians.
Still, Toronto had its time.
Guys like Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, Devon White and John Olerud all turned in great seasons for the Jays in the early ‘90’s, en route to back-to-back World Series championships.
And, even after that run of success, amidst a long string of mediocre seasons, the Jays managed to turn out some very good players, including Shawn Green.
A first-round draft pick in 1991, Green played his first full season in Toronto in 1995, where he finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting.
Before being traded to the Dodgers, Shawn Green turned in his best season as a pro.
In 1999, on his way to hitting 49 home runs and batting .309, Green reached base via the hit in 28 straight games, a mark that still stands in Blue Jay history today.
A quick memory scan of modern-era White Sox players yields guys we all pretty much associate with Chicago.
Mark Buehrle. Jermaine Dye. AJ Pierzynski. Paul Konerko.
Absent from that list, at least for me, is Carlos Lee.
As a Reds fan, I have always been well aware of the damage Lee wreaked in the NL Central once he came over to the Brewers (and later joined the Astros).
However, Lee’s productive career started in the Windy City in a White Sox uniform.
In 2004, the year before the Sox won their most recent World Series and Lee’s last in Chicago, “El Caballo” hit 31 homers, had an .891 OPS, and set the White Sox record for consecutive game hitting streaks (28).
Soon after, Lee would be traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in a six-player deal.
It blows my mind what journalists’ lives must have been like before the popularization of the Internet.
I mean, before everyone had access to the Web, how EXCRUCIATING must it have been to do research, fact-check, or share information?
It’s seriously difficult to imagine.
Luckily for the modern-day scribe, cyberspace is our playground, and things that once would have taken days, now take minutes (thanks, Al Gore!)
Such is the case with Gabe Kapler.
Prior to a quick Google search, my Gabe Kapler knowledge consisted of:
- At some point recently, he got some spot starts for the Brewers.
- At some point before that, he was a role player for the Red Sox.
- At pretty much every point, I am fairly certain he was jacked.
Thanks to the ‘Net, I have now added the following Gabe Kapler factoids to my repertoire:
- He is Jewish.
- He has 11 tattoos; several are related to his Judaism.
- He currently holds the Texas Rangers record for longest hitting streak (28 in 2000).
- He is, in fact, JACKED.
Every team dreams of drafting a guy like Garrett Anderson.
A hometown boy (a star at Kennedy High School in L.A.), Anderson was drafted by the California Angels in 1990 and debuted four years later.
After 17 MLB seasons (15 with the Angels), Anderson is the holder of numerous Angels records (games played, hits, RBI, to name a few), and is a borderline Hall of Famer.
In 1998, Anderson set the Angels franchise record for hit streaks, going 28 games without going oh-fer.
Interestingly, Anderson is one of only a handful of players who made this list, that were also a top player in their team’s history.
A few indelible moments from the career of Moises Alou:
- 2003: The “robb-ee” of one of the most famous foul balls of all time, Alou barked angrily at Steve Bartman as the Cubs championship hopes (again) were frittered away.
- 2004: In a vile display of tough guy-ism, Alou defended his non-use of batting gloves by admitting to peeing on his hands during the season to toughen them up.
- 2007: At age 40, Alou breaks the Mets record for consecutive games with a hit. His record (30) stands today.
As a Reds fan, this may be the most shocking, alarming, and sickening entry on this list.
Shocking because as a Red, on a daily basis, Taveras flirted with the line between unbelievably awful and utterly worthless.
Alarming because his 30-game hit streak with the ‘Stros in 2006 means that there were 30 pitchers in a row who were bad enough to allow him to reach base.
Sickening because, while Taveras somehow managed 30 games in a row with a hit in Houston (and 68 steals for Colorado two seasons later), his only contribution to the Reds EVER was shifting some of the hatred away from Corey Patterson.
We hate that chump.
Luis Gonzalez, one of the best players in the short history of the Diamondbacks, joins Garrett Anderson in the “Not only do I hold the team record for hitting streaks, but I was also pretty damn good and helped to define the franchise” club.
Best known for his bloop single that won the D-backs their first and only World Series championship in 2001, Gonzalez started his career in Houston, but truly broke out as a D-back in 1999.
During that year, in which he hit .336 and knocked in 111 RBI, Gonzalez went on a 30-game hitting streak, tops in Arizona history.
After retiring in 2009, Gonzalez became the first Arizona player to have his number (20) retired.
Considered by many to be the second-best third baseman of all time (trailing only Phillies great Mike Schmidt), George Brett played all of his 21 seasons in Kansas City, and certainly belongs in the same company as Anderson and Gonzalez.
In 1980, (three seasons before the “Pine Tar incident,” one of Brett's most famous moments) Brett had undoubtedly the best numbers of his career. The fourth season in what ended up being 13 straight All-Star appearances, Brett hit .390 and won the MVP award handily.
Along the way, Brett racked up 30 straight games with a hit, setting a Royals record.
One thing I love about writing for Bleacher Report is the opportunity to buff up on baseball history.
So often, we younger fans tend to focus on the exploits and accomplishments of players of the modern era (Barry Bonds, Randy Johnson, A-Rod, Nolan Ryan), while failing to fully appreciate the players who set the table for some of the better players of the modern day.
A Dodger for 12 seasons and one of the great outfielders in L.A.’s storied history. Willie Davis is one of those players.
Along with holding the Dodger hit streak record (31 in 1969), Davis also holds the Dodger record for career hits (2091), runs (1004), triples (110), and total bases (3,094).
Guys like this pepper the annals of baseball history, but generally get forgotten amidst the Ruths and Aarons and Mays of the day.
With two games added to Andre Ethier’s streak, he’ll tie Davis. With the third, Ethier will set the record. Either way, Davis’ is a legacy that should live on.
Vladimir Guerrero is possibly one of my favorite players in recent memory.
One of the game's all time great free-swingers, Guerrero has been known to live by the motto: see the ball and hit it. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Though he has since bounced around the league, Guerrero started his prestigious career with the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals).
Statistically, his best season came in 2000, where he hit .345 and clubbed 44 home runs. And, a year previous, Vlad went on a franchise record-breaking tear, hitting in 31 straight games.
I think we can all agree that one of the coolest things about baseball a century ago (aside from the wool uniforms and the goofy hats and the smoking and gambling and womanizing) was that there were dudes with names like “Nap.”
Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937, it would be enough to say that Lajoie set the Cleveland record for hitting streaks by hitting 31 straight in 1906, during a year in which he hit .355.
For most players, hitting .355 in a season is reason enough to retire immediately.
For Nap Lajoie, raking at that pace was about as uncommon as drinking water or eating horse meat (admittedly, I am making an assumption based on some old-timey movies I’ve seen that people in the 1800s ate a lot of horse meat).
Besides his record-setting ’06 campaign, Lajoie wracked up seasons of .376, .378 (twice), .379, .384, and a whopping .426 in 1901.
He was so good that, shortly after arriving in Cleveland, the team changed its name to the CLEVELAND NAPS.
Dude had game.
Another Hall of Famer, Rogers Hornsby carries the distinction of being the only player to hit 40 home runs and bat .400 in the same year.
Think about that. That’s like Barry Bonds on STEROIDS.
Hornsby was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1942, and his career batting average of .358 stands as second-best in baseball history, next to only Ty Cobb.
To go along with his two Triple Crowns and two MVP’s, Hornsby set the St. Louis record for hit streaks, hitting in 33 straight in 1922.
Playing at the time for the New York baseball Giants (which, by the way, were named the “Gothams” in their first two years of existence...who knew?), George Davis was an on-base machine.
In his 10 years with the Giants, Davis hit .332, had over 400 walks, and 357 bases, en route to a Hall of Fame induction.
In 1893, a year in which he hit .355, Davis hit in 33 straight games, a Giants record that still stands.
Lost in the hubbub that surrounds his older brother, the third Dimaggio boy put together a nice little baseball career.
A seven-time All-Star, Dimaggio’s bespectacled image and smallish stature (5’9) earned him the nickname “The Little Professor.”
Either way, in 1949, Dimaggio the Lesser took a break from getting noogies from Joe, long enough to hammer out 34 straight games with a hit, setting a BoSox record that still stands.
There was a time in my early years (the buzz-cut, hammer pants wearing days) when I was an avid card collector.
To this day, much of my historic baseball knowledge comes from poring over thousands of baseball card albums, attempting to make trades with my older brothers, and eventually always getting ripped off.
There are some names from those days that will never go away; either due to how valuable the player’s cards were at the time, or just how crazy their name actually sounded.
Brett Saberhagen. Jose Canseco. Orel Hershiser.
And, Benito Santiago.
While, I remember Benito more as a Giant (for whatever reason), he spent his first seven years in the majors as the catcher for the San Diego Padres.
During that time, Santiago’s numbers weren’t overwhelming (though he did win Rookie of the Year in 1987), but he was known for his solid glove behind the plate and capable bat.
In his award-winning ’87 season, Santiago put together a 34-game hitting streak, a record that stands today, and is all the more impressive because it was set by a rook.
Before being hampered by injuries as a Met and then signed and unceremoniously dropped by the Phillies in the span of about two hours, Luis Castillo put together a respectable career as a Florida Marlin.
Half of one of the more entertaining 1-2 combo’s in the last 20 years of MLB lineups, Castillo partnered with Juan Pierre to terrorize the basepaths in the early part of this century (manager Jack McKeon called them his “rabbits.”)
In 2002, a year before he helped lead the Fish to a World Championship, Castillo strung together 35 straight games with a hit, a Marlin record.
An All-Star that year and in ’03 and ’05, Castillo would then end his career in Florida, traded before the 2006 season to the Twins.
Before there was Mauer…there was Demontreville.
And, prior to moving to the Twin Cities in 1961, the current Minnesota franchise saw a lot of action in Washington, D.C., as the Senators.
Demontreville, a journeyman infielder (eight teams over 11 seasons) left his mark in 1896 and 1897, setting the franchise record for consecutive games with a hit, with 36.
Undiscovered until 2007, Demontreville’s record stood until 2013, when it was broken by catcher Joe Mauer.
We can assume.
Before the Atlanta Braves were the Atlanta Braves, they were the Milwaukee Braves. Before that, they were the Boston Braves. Before that, the Boston Bees (briefly), the Boston Braves again, the Boston Rustlers, the Boston Doves, the Boston Beaneaters, and the Boston Red Caps.
If that’s not enough to make your head spin, I don’t know what is.
During one of their stints as the Boston Braves, however, the organization was led by an outfielder by the name of Tommy Holmes.
One of the last great Boston Braves, Holmes hit a career .302, and managed to string together hits in 37 straight games, a franchise record.
As a resident of Philadelphia, it’s tough to see J-Roll in his current state.
Just a few years removed from an MVP season and an un-hateable swagger, Jimmy Rollins has fallen on some hard times, relatively speaking.
Hindered by injury, Rollins is now just one of a number of aging role players attempting to help Ryan Howard keep the four aces in the hunt (and doing well enough at it, actually, as they are in first place).
Still, Jimmy used to be a force.
His shining season was definitely 2007, wherein he won the Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, and the MVP. However, spanning across 2005 and 2006, Rollins strung together one of the longest hitting streaks in history (38 games). Later that season, teammate Chase Utley would challenge Rollins’ Philly record, but fall short at 35.
I’m not sure there is a better face of the Brewer organization than Paul Molitor (maybe Robin Yount…Brewers fans will have to let me know).
Over 21 seasons as pro, Molitor spent 15 in Milwaukee, wracking up 412 stolen bases, 790 RBI, and batting .303. A seven-time All-Star, and runner-up in the MVP voting in 1993, Molitor was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
One of only four players in hstory to have over 3,000 hits, 500 stolen bases, and a lifetime .300 average, Molitor set the Brewer hit streak record in 1987, with 39 consecutive games.
Simply put, Ty Cobb is one of the all-time greats.
Known as the “The Georgia Peach”, Cobb’s statistics are jaw-dropping
892 stolen bases.
.367 career batting average.
Cobb was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 1957, but not before he set the Tigers record hitting streak in 1911, at 40 straight games. Cobb played 24 professional seasons, and all but two were for the Tigers.
A full ten seasons before the Cubbies were the Cubbies, Chicago’s team was the Colts, and they were led by “Bad” Bill Dahlen.
A good hitter but not a great one, Dahlen’s career spanned 21 seasons, in which he hit .272.
Despite those middling numbers, Dahlen turned in a superior campaign in 1894, hitting .359, slugging .566, and tallying 108 RBI.
It was during that season that Dahlen set the Cubs record that still stands today, hitting in a whopping 42 straight games.
No Hall of Fame for Bad Bill, but 42 is nothing to sneeze at.
These days, Pete Rose spends most of his time signing baseballs in Vegas and carting around a buxom girlfriend that’s like a fourth his age.
In my opinion, he’s earned it.
Known as the “Hit King”, all Rose did over the course of his 24 seasons was tally a record setting 2,165 runs scored and 4,256 hits. The Rookie of the Year in ’63, Rose went on to make 17 All-Star games and win an MVP.
Hindered slightly in his quest for the Hall of Fame by Bud Selig’s ego, Rose is truly one of the best players to ever live.
And, as a Red in ’78, Rose set the Cincinnati’s hit streak record at 44.
Known as one of the best hitters of all time, Willie Keeler is the runner-up on our march to 56.
An undersized player to be sure (he only stood 5’7), Keeler was a master bat-handler, one of the first true slap hitters, and responsible for the rule change that requires a fouled bunt on strike three to result in an out.
A Hall of Famer, Keeler played 19 seasons for four different teams, amassing 2,932 hits and a career .341 batting average.
Overlapped between 1896 and 1897 seasons, Keeler set the record for longest hitting streak in the Majors (45 games). That is, until…
Finally: the one everybody knows about.
Joe DiMaggio, 13-time All-Star, 3-time MVP, and all-time ladies man, set one of the most impenetrable records in sports in 1941: 56 games in a row with a hit.
Known as “The Yankee Clipper”, Dimaggio’s accomplishments are vast:
The only player to be named to the All-Star team in every season he played.
Stole home a whopping five times.
Married Marilyn Monroe (booyah).
Yet, for good reason, “Joltin’ Joe” (one of the greatest of all time) will always be known best for those 56 games.