Joe DiMaggio is a player whose 56-game hitting streak has been targeted over and over again by some of the best hitters ever. But despite the best efforts of players like Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox hitters will never conquer DiMaggio and his 56-game streak.
Xander Bogaert and Jackie Bradley Jr.’s recent hitting streaks, while admirable, were in no way a threat to the 75 year old record. For weeks people speculated whether Bradley Jr. would break Jolting’ Joe’s record that’s stood since 1941, but Bradley Jr. only made it to 29 games, while Bogaerts made it to 26. What most people don’t understand is that Dimaggio’s record is so hard to break that it’s unlikely anyone will ever come close to claiming it. Take the following into consideration.
The only three players to ever hit well into a 40 game stretch are Willie Keeler, Pete Rose, and Joe DiMaggio. Willie Keeler set the original record at 44 in 1897 when players didn’t play night games where it’s tougher to see the ball. Joe DiMaggio didn’t have to travel across the country to Los Angeles or Seattle to play in away games, tough travel that takes a toll on most players. Joe DiMaggio also didn’t have to worry about the different kinds of pitches that players today are so accustomed to seeing on a daily basis, not to mention DiMaggio also didn’t have to play in many night games either. Pete Rose has the most hits of anyone else in the history of Major League Baseball (4,256) and he only made it to 44 games. If these factors weren’t hard enough, the kind of technology that players use today to study opposing players wasn’t even a thought in the minds of players like Keeler and DiMaggio in their playing days. Video tape was still a few years away in 1978 when Pete Rose tied Keeler at 44 games. Pitchers today have all kind of access to technological information that gives them loads of information about a batter they’re facing, which is partly why it’s so hard to extend a hitting streak past 30 games nowadays. That’s why Red Sox Hitters Will Never Conquer DiMaggio.
Finally, the pressure of a hitting streak can take a toll on players. After Bogaerts’ streak ended on June 3rd, he talked to Scott Lauber of ESPN about the pressure of maintaining a streak, “I’m going to be honest, that is kind of hard…I really don’t know how [Bradley Jr.] did it because it’s hard. Later on [in games], I was a bit nervous, especially these last few games. I’ve been getting out my first two at-bats. I would get a hit in my later at-bats. I enjoyed it.” While Bogaerts enjoyed the streak while it lasted, he seems relieved that it’s over.
Say what you want, but Red Sox hitters will never conquer DiMaggio’s hitting streak. Getting an edge over the technology, along with the tolls that night games, traveling, and press pressure is too much to overcome.