Red Sox Hitters Will Never Conquer DiMaggio

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 noRed Sox Hitters Will Never Conquer DiMaggio 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.

Bradley Jr Will Not Break DiMaggio’s Record

All eyes are on Jackie Bradley Jr. as he continues his hitting streak, now at 28 at the time of this publication. Many are wondering if the young center fielder has a shot at breaking Joe DiMaggio’s record of hitting safely in 56 straight games set in 1941. While JBJ is at the half way point, it’s unlikely, if not impossible, that he will break DiMaggio’s streak. In other words, Jackie Bradley Jr will not break the record.

You first have to realize how hard it is to get a hit in so many consecutive MLB games. You’reBradley Jr Will Not Break already hitting against some of the best pitchers in the world whose sole job is to get you out. JBJ has proven he can hold his own at the plate. JBJ has hit safely in 28 games so far, which in itself is an amazing feat. But not only is he still far from breaking the Red Sox team record, but hitting safely in another 28 will be tough, especially as the team gets ready to play tougher teams in weeks to come.

Let’s look at it another way. Nobel Prize winning physicist Edward Purcell calculated that there would first have to be over fifty players with a .350 or greater lifetime batting average in order for most players to have a mere chance to break Joe DiMaggio’s record. In other words, Major League Baseball would have to have a large abundance of .350 lifetime hitters in order for a chance of seeing the record fall. Only Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, and Shoeless Joe Jackson have lifetime batting averages of .350 or greater, which demonstrates the tremendous challenge in pursuing and breaking the record. Purcell’s late Harvard colleague, Stephen Jay Gould claimed that DiMaggio’s record is “the most extraordinary thing that ever happened in American sports,” which exemplifies the large-scale respect this record has among scholars. Let’s also keep in mind that those who have hitting streaks of 40 or more games are recognized as some of the greatest hitters ever. Willie Keeler set the original record in 1897 at 44 games, and Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader, tied it in 1978. Keeler is a Hall of Famer, and Rose, while he should be in the Hall of Fame, still holds the record for all the hits at 4,256. Jackie Bradley Jr will not break this record because he doesn’t come close to standing among Keeler and Rose (yet).

Jackie Bradley Jr will not break this record mainly because he’s still young, he still has much to learn about hitting if he wants to maintain his skills, and the record itself is taking a back seat to a pennant race that’s heating up more and more as the season draws closer to the all-star break. I wish JBJ the best, but until he reaches 40 games (which is also unlikely), I’ll be focusing more on the Red Sox as a team than I will on the great center fielder.

Jackie Bradley Jr Finally Found Stride?

Who would have thought that Jackie Bradley Jr. would have a hitting streak over twenty games this season, especially after crafting a mediocre batting average last season? It comes as a pleasant surprise to many to see Bradley Jr. hitting well. Personally, I’m very happy to see Bradley Jr.’s bat on fire, but I can’t help but wonder if his hitting will stay consistent as the season progresses. So has Jackie Bradley Jr finally found stride in his career, or is this another fluke?

Bradley Jr.’s hitting streak has gotten some talking about how far he can stretch it. TwentyBradley Jr Finally Found Stride games is nothing to ignore, but it’s not enough to begin considering him a future Red Sox legend. Let’s look at some numbers to get a better sense of this idea. Joe DiMaggio holds the record for the longest hitting streak with 56 games in 1941, breaking Willie Keeler’s record of 44. Pete Rose tied Keeler in 1978, but since then, few players at all have come even close to shattering DiMaggio’s record, which will probably never be broken. The Red Sox team record wouldn’t be easy to break either. If Bradley Jr. were to hit safely in 27 games, he’d only be tied for seventh with Dom DiMaggio (Joe’s brother), who initially set the record with 34 games in 1949. Bradley Jr. would then have to surpass Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Wade Boggs, Nomar Garciaparra, and David Ortiz, who’s already stealing all the thunder in his final season in baseball. So is Bradley Jr.’s streak impressive? Yes, but not so much when compared to other Red Sox players.

I’m not trying to undermine the way Bradley Jr. is playing this season. It’s easy to assume that Bradley Jr. finally found stride in a career that’s had its ups and downs. He’s exceeded so many people’s expectations, including mine. So has Bradley Jr finally found stride? Perhaps, but I want to see what he does the rest of the season before I give a hard yes. Let’s make sure this isn’t another fluke where he hits well for a few weeks before dropping off again like he did last year. More importantly, let’s see how Bradley Jr. does before we get too invested in him.