This Day in Baseball History - May 15th
On May 15th, 1941, Yankee outfielder Joe DiMaggio would get a hit off White Sox pitcher Edgar Smith.
What seemed like just an innocent hit at the time would mark the start of one of baseball’s greatest accomplishments.
From May 15th until July 17th, DiMaggio would get at least one hit in every game he played, 56 in a row.
That same year, Ted Williams became the last hitter to bat .400 in a season.
Williams went into the final day of the 1941 season batting .39955.
It would officially count as a .400 season, but to Teddy Ballgame, .39955 was not .400.
Williams refused to sit out the final day double header.
Even after going 4 for 5 in the first game of the double header to officially push his average over .400, Williams still refused to sit down for the 2nd game!
He went 2 for 3 in the second game with a final average of .406.
76 years later both records still stand.
While the steroid era has wiped away all power records, these two records remain untouched.
Not only do they remain untouched they have barely been challenged.
Which one will go down first?
Records were meant to be broken right?
Just this year we saw a record that I never thought would be eclipsed, as Russell Westbrook averaged a triple double for the entire season.
But you can't ball hog your way to these baseball records.
I always thought it was easier to break the 56 game hitting streak.
But the opposite has proven true as there have been several players that almost chased down .400.
In 1977 Rod Carew hit .388, in 1980 George Brett hit .390 and in 1994 Tony Gwynn hit .394 in a strike shortened year.
But the time to get Teddy Ballgame was then.
With all the relief specialists and high 90's fastball's these days, I don't see anyone getting anywhere close to .400 ever again.
While a few have come close to Williams, none have even come close to DiMaggio.
In 1978 Pete Rose had a 44 game hitting streak.
But that’s only 78% of the way there.
Remarkably, besides Rose NOBODY has got to a 40 game hitting streak since 1941.
Maybe some records were never meant to be broken.