Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 5, 2006
BASEBALL: The Streaker

We are about three more games from starting some serious controversy about Jimmy Rollins and his now 37-game hitting streak, which spans back to last season. (You can see how Rollins' streak here and his numbers over that stretch compared to the rest of the league here). If Rollins were actually to catch DiMaggio, we might never hear the end of the controversy.

Personally, while DiMaggio's record is perhaps the #1 baseball record I'd love to see broken, I don't regard a streak over two seasons as quite the same, especially a hitting streak, the very essence of which is the mounting pressure of going a month or two without an off day. It should go in the books if Rollins or someone else does it, but it shouldn't wipe out Joe D.

UPDATE (4/6): Streak ends at 38 games.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:05 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

the rulebook states that if you take a day off, the streak still lives. If you play a game and dont get an official AB (BB, HIBP for ALL AB's) the streak still lives. so what if he did it over two seasons? as for mounting pressure, he had to go into opening day "needing a hit" -- and having known that for months. that's plenty of pressure.

Posted by: kevin at April 5, 2006 1:24 PM

You could argue that a hitting streak has much to do with momentum.

I'd think that a six month layoff may break the mo juuuuuuuust a bit.

For my money, a hit streak is a hit streak.

Posted by: Mike at April 5, 2006 3:10 PM

I agree that it just wouldn't seem as great if it was divided. I felt the same way when people talked about the Patriots 21 game win streak, which included 2 seasons and playoff games, when certain people tried to say it was more impressive than the unbeaten Miami Dolphins season.

That said, obviously if he somehow manages to break the record, it is an unbeleivable feat.

Posted by: Ed at April 5, 2006 3:20 PM

No way he breaks it.

Posted by: jim at April 5, 2006 3:26 PM

Ed-

Hear, hear to that.

But, man, is he gonna start feeling the pressure if he gets over 40.

Posted by: Mike at April 5, 2006 3:26 PM

Personally, I don't think there is any way that Rollins is going to get to 57. That being said, it should be considered the overall record. You can throw Dimaggio a bone by calling his the single season record. Obviously, this whole "controversy" is more about who holds the record than anything else. Dimaggio harkens back to the golden age of baseball and is among the most respected players ever to play the game. If the record was held by someone else, I doubt that we would even be talking about this.

Posted by: Tom at April 5, 2006 3:33 PM

Here's what I said on Opening Day:

This is crap. Jimmy Rollins might be a nice guy, and normally, I'd be happy to root for any Yankee-held record to fall, but I'm sorry, picking late August to start your hitting streak is just bad timing. As far as I am concerned, that streak ended when the 2005 season did.

Part of what makes the 56-game hitting streak an impressive and as yet unattainable record is the grind of having to get a hit every day for two months. Joe Dimaggio didn't get a 180-day break in the middle of his hitting streak. Tony Gwynn never got credit for hitting .400 even though he did it over a 162 game period (more than once, I believe). He had to hit .400 for the season, not just a hot second-half rolling over to a hot first half.

I cannot even believe that people are going to count this streak. "

Now, if Rollins somehow obliterates Joe D's record (like 75 games or something), he gets full credit and Joe D gets the "single-season" clarifier. But to knock Joe out, we need to be talking about a streak of epic proportions where at least the better part of it was truly consecutive (within one season).

I considered the momentum-breaking aspect of the interuption, but to me it doesn't cancel out the fact that he got the physical and mental downtime.

Alternate Scenario:
Say, it's June, and Rollins was humming along at 37 games and got injured. He spends two weeks on the DL and comes back and picks up right where he left off...would you count that one?

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 5, 2006 4:38 PM

Furious-

Good points, though I disagree.

As for your hypo, yes I'd count it.

Posted by: Mike at April 5, 2006 4:41 PM

Minor formatting clarification: Italics should have continued all the way to the close quote.

And yeah, I'd definitely count the in-season injury. Maybe that weakens my position, but I just don't feel like what Rollins is doing should count.

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 5, 2006 4:48 PM

I guess what I'm saying is that Rollins' streak needs to be overwhelming enough that the fact that Dimaggio did it in one season is rendered secondary...

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 5, 2006 4:50 PM

If Jimmy Rollins starts off the season with a 20 game hitting streak I'll vote Republican. It is not happening.

Posted by: jim at April 5, 2006 4:51 PM

If he does manage to do it, it will be quite an impressive achievement (DiMaggio's record is far more celebrated than Keeler's was when Joe D broke it, so the pressure involved is substantially greater - plus, he's Jimmy Rollins, which can't help), and belongs in the record book. But doing it all in one season should remain a seperate record.

It would be the "Tiger Slam" of hitting streaks.

Posted by: Jerry at April 5, 2006 4:58 PM

i've heard that there will be two streaks- a category will be created for single season streak, thus ending the controversy.

Posted by: daedalus at April 6, 2006 12:34 AM

First, I always thought the streak is a statistical oddity, and the 1941 Yankees would have benefited just as much from two 28 game streaks.

Second, if Rollins breaks the record, then he holds the overall record, Joe the single season record.

Third, there is precedent for this. Tennis and golf had slams. When they asked McEnroe if what you called four grad slams in a row, not in a single year, he rather intelligently replied, "Four slams in a row." There really are no rules for this, since the record is odd. Joe has several records like this. Chris Russo, a great broadcaster, because he is prepared and enthusiastic every day, even if he is an idiot, harps on the home run to strikeout ratio as something vital. Guess he never read the records of Ruth, Mantle or Jackson. But then, he just called Mariano one of the top 10 players of all time (and never mentions Honus--so forgive him-you don't argue with dopes).

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at April 6, 2006 9:51 AM

Daryl,

I really miss the Mad Dog here in Michigan...

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 6, 2006 2:14 PM

I just checked the Baseball Almanac, and there is something interesting in the pitching section:

Tom Keefe and Rube Marquard are listed as holding the record for most consecutive games in a season. However, Carl Hubbell holds the record for most consecutive wins at 24, spanning the 1936 and '37 seasons.

My sense is they should create dual records - one for a season-long hitting streak and one for multi-season hitting streaks.

That all said, I think it is unlikely Rollin's even makes it to 44, which is when people will really begin debating this.

Posted by: Mark at April 6, 2006 2:27 PM

Lets put it this way. Presume Jimmy Rollins gets the Heinz 57 contract that DiMaggio just fell short of. He breaks the record and then finally goes hitless.

Which impresses you more:
-DiMaggio hitting in 56 straight games in a regular season
-Rollins hitting in 57 games with a 3-month break in the middle

Be honest now!

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at April 11, 2006 12:44 PM
Site Meter 250wde_2004WeblogAwards_BestSports.jpg