Save a few epic outliers, all of baseball’s records are in danger of being broken these days, to the point where the sport’s history books should be written in pencil. After all, the current narrative on today’s players is as recycled as Spotify’s Top 100: They are bigger, faster and stronger.
But are they as consistent?
The “streak” challenges a baseball player’s consistency like no other record in a sport defined by its accomplishments. On July 17, 1941, unquestionably baseball’s greatest streak – likely defined as the greatest in sports – came to a close when Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak ended at 56 consecutive games.
It’s likely to remain untouchable. Seriously, how many of you have even gone to the gym 56 straight days?
Fifty-six games is essentially two months of baseball (when you include off days). It spans more than a third of today’s schedule. Since DiMaggio’s streak in ’41, only one player has sustained a hit streak that has made it into the 40’s: In 1978, Pete Rose hit in 44 straight games.
Get how difficult it is yet? We can keep going.
The franchise leaders for 9 major league clubs hold streaks that don’t even reach 30 games. Since ’41 only 13 players (including Joe’s brother, Dom, who had a hitting streak of 34 games in 1949) have sustained hitting streaks of over 30 games.
The streak captivated the world to such a degree that it inspired a song and is so untouchable that the game can go seasons without even mentioning the record. Years go by and no player comes close.
But here are some current players who have a chance – even if it’s just slightly above zero – of matching DiMaggio’s streak.
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
Baseball’s most complete hitter could lead the league in average every year if he weren’t asked to hit for power. But he is asked to do that too often, meaning he’ll give up at-bats trying to go yard, so he’ll likely never sustain a streak long enough to even be mentioned alongside DiMaggio.
Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
Speed sells when it comes to finding suitors to chase DiMaggio. McCutchen (who, FYI, leads the Pirates in every relevant hitting statistic) has as much of that as anyone in the league – allowing him to beat out infield grounders for singles. So, sure, he’s got a shot.
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
He’s only in his second year in the big leagues, but putting a ceiling on this freakishly athletic, generational talent would be like putting a cap on Justin Bieber’s immaturity. He has all the tools to hit for average and an ownership group that has proven it will spend money to surround him with hitting talent, meaning he’ll see more good pitches than most of baseball’s top hitters.