Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 14, 2011
A great look at the all-time record for reaching base safely in consecutive games - Ted Williams, 84 games in 1949. H/T The article doesn't precisely say who is #2 on the list, but notes that inclusive of his hitting streak, Joe DiMaggio reached safely in 74 straight games in 1941. If he's #2, that puts Williams 13.5% ahead of the number two streak - only half as big as Joe D's margin over the second-longest hitting streak, but far enough ahead to probably rate a slot on my list of baseball's most impressive records.
If you're wondering: in DiMaggio's streak, 74 games from May 14-August 2, 1941, he batted .404/.468/.731, scored 74 runs and drove in 73, with 120 hits, 34 walks and 2 HBP; he struck out just 6 times and hit into only 3 double plays, and the Yankees went 55-17 and buried the competition, building a 12.5 game lead. In Williams' streak, 84 games from July 1 to September 27 in the heat of a ferocious pennant race, he batted .371/.518/.695 with 81 runs, 80 RBI, 112 hits, 92 walks, 0 HBP, struck out 19 times and hit into 12 double plays, and his team went 60-24, pulling from 8 games back of the Yankees before the start of the streak to a tenuous 1-game lead. DiMaggio's BABIP during the 74-game streak was .369; Williams' was .340. DiMaggio, of course, played in a vastly more difficult park.
DiMaggio played 139 games in 1941, and failed to reach base safely in just 6 of those. Williams played 155 games in 1949, and also failed to reach base safely in just 6 of those (5 of them in June, when Williams slumped badly...to .300/.442/.582). The difference is that 1941 was a huge year for Joe D - he batted .357/.440/.643, his third-highest career OPS compared to a lifetime mark of .325/.398/.579. For Williams, 1949 was little better than an average year, the 8th best OPS of his career and just below his career batting average - .343/.490/.650 compared to a lifetime mark of .344/.482/.634. (Although Williams did set career highs that year in the counting stats - plate appearances, at bats, hits, runs, RBI, homers, walks and total bases - and won the MVP).