March 30, 2017

Multiple Hitting Streaks

November 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

While writing another article, I noticed that on April 18, 1931, Freddie Lindstrom and Mel Ott both extended long hitting streaks at the Baker Bowl, Lindstrom hitting in his 36th straight game there and Ott in his 29th straight. Of course, a hitting streak in a specific ball park is a rather obscure record and I’m sure few if any people knew about it at the time. The story in The New York Times the next day didn’t mention it.

But that got me to wondering about whether or not there were other long hitting streaks of the normal variety, the ones newspaper reporters do like to write about, that were extended in the same game. Well, I didn’t find a pair as long as 29 consecutive games from 1918 to 2011, but I came close. A little more than a month after the game mentioned above, Earle Combs and Al Simmons both got hits to push their hitting streaks to 27 and 26 games, respectively. As expected, these streaks were mentioned in the game story in the next day’s New York Times.

The teams would end their six-game series that day, and the two would go hitless a few games after that. Here are the longest pairs I found:

 Date         Players (Length)
 5-28-1931    Earle Combs (27), Al Simmons (26)
 8-24-1922    Ken Williams (28), George Sisler (22)
 8-11-1938(2) Mel Almada (29), George McQuinn (21)
 7-30-1936    Hal Trosky (25), Odell Hale (21)
 9- 9-1980    Mickey Rivers (24), Al Oliver (21)
 6-20-1927    Paul Waner (23), Clyde Barnhart (21)

All of these pairs were teammates except for Combs and Simmons. George Sisler’s streak would eventually reach 41 games, an American League record before Joe DiMaggio broke it in 1941. Mike Norris held both Rivers and Oliver hitless the next day.

Now I’m defining the longest pair as the one in which the shorter of the two is the greatest. If I had simply used the sum of the two longest streaks, the top three would have been these:

 7-13-1941(1) Joe DiMaggio (52), Phil Rizzuto (16)
 7-15-1941    Joe DiMaggio (55), Luke Appling (10)
 8-25-1987    Paul Molitor (39), Brett Butler (19)

Both Molitor and Butler’s streak ended the next day in a 1-0 pitching duel won by Teddy Higuera. Both Higuera and rookie John Farrell allowed only three hits and no runs. Farrell left after nine before Doug Jones took the loss in the bottom of the tenth.

So, using my maximum of the minimum definition, what were the longest three streaks in the same game?

 Date         Players (Length)
 8-24-1922    Ken Williams (28), George Sisler (22), George Burns (18)
 7-28-1936    Hal Trosky (22), Roy Weatherly (20), Odell Hale (18)

One of these is the same and the other similar to one above.

And the longest four:

 Date         Players (Length)
 7-26-1936(1) Hal Trosky (20), Roy Weatherly (18), Odell Hale (16), Joe Vosmik (16)

The odd thing about this game is that the Indians were shut out 13-0 by Buck Ross. He allowed only six hits in the game, and the four Cleveland teammates above accounted for all of them. One of those held hitless in the game was Earl Averill, which should explain the game with the longest five streaks:

 Date         Players (Length)
 7-25-1936    Earl Averill (20), Hal Trosky (19), Roy Weatherly (17), 
              Odell Hale (15), Joe Vosmik (15)

So how did the Indians do in the fifteen games with these five players hitting in each game? They went 12-3. I mentioned that they lost the next day 13-0. The also lost the game before they all started hitting at once, this one by a score of 18-0. Between those two routs, they scored an average of 8.3 runs a game.

Finally, here are the only two games I found with six players who had hit in ten or more straight games. One should look familiar:

 Date         Players (Length)
 7-19-1936(2) Earl Averill (15), Hal Trosky (14), Cecil Travis (13), 
              Roy Weatherly (12), Odell Hale (10), Joe Vosmik (10)
 8- 6-1929(1) Joe Judge (11), Sam Rice (11), Earle Combs (11), 
              Mark Koenig (10), Tony Lazzeri (10), Babe Ruth (10)

Of the players listed in this last game, only Sam Rice’s run would eventually reach twenty or more games. Five of the Indians would reach that mark, the ones shown above as well as Joe Vosmik, who was injured in the July 26th game but hit in four more games upon his return before being stopped on August 5th.

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