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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

DiMaggio's hitting streak.

Andre Ethier is half way there.  Ethier has at least one hit in 28 consecutive games.  Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive games in 1941.  That's the MLB record and, odd as it is, that record made DiMaggio the most famous baseball player in America less than six months before our entry into World War II.  For baseball's centennial in 1969 it helped get him named baseball's greatest living player, to the great consternation of some who while brandishing their credentials on racial tolerance of Jackie Robinson, could never quite accept the Big Dago, the guinea, the greaser, the wap.  They love pointing out that Ted Williams hit for a higher batting average during DiMaggio's streak, overlooking which player lifted his team into first place.

Joe DiMaggio December 15, 1941 Sporting News (Library of Congress) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
There are 53 MLB hitting streaks of at least 30 games.

Some attribute DiMaggio's achievement to chance:

A Journey to Baseball’s Alternate Universe By SAMUEL ARBESMAN and STEVEN STROGATZ
Published: March 30, 2008 The New York Times

The Triumph of the Random By LEONARD MLODINOW JULY 16, 2009 The Wall Street Journal

Obviously these people are either Communists or Yankee haters if not both.  Probably also Red Sox fans.

I will address this in a future post but three observations here:

1. Joe DiMaggio set the MLB record, not Ty Cobb, not Willie Keeler.

2. Joe DiMaggio set the minor league record, also: 61 games in 1933 in the highly regarded Pacific Coast League; even if you accept Joe Wilhoit hitting in 69 consecutive games in the Western League in 1919, Joe D. still has at least the second longest streak in the minors, too.  Why can't people accept that there was something special going on with this guy?  Maybe he did concentrate more than most day in and day out, at least during those streaks.

3. Joe's younger brother Dom hit in 34 consecutive games just eight years later (1949) playing with the Red Sox.  Dom is tied for number 16 with two others.  What are the odds of brothers having two of the 18 longest streaks in MLB history?

DiMaggio's hitting streak: part 2  Wednesday, May 4, 2011

1 comment:

Chad said...

Impressive feat to be sure, but in my mind easily the most overrated record in baseball, if not all of sports.