Pace Updates on July 5

Chris Davis is currently on pace for 60 HR. The AL Record in 61 (Roger Maris).

Manny Machado is on pace for 72 doubles. The single-season record is 67 (Earl Webb).

Raul Ibanez is on pace for 40 HR. The single-season record for a player 40 or over is 34 (Darrell Evans).

Albert Pujols‘ current HR pace will put him hitting his 500th HR on September 20th of this season.

Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

PACES! (As of May 29, 2013)

  • Miguel Cabrera is on pace for 185 RBIs. The single-season record of 191 is held by Hack Wilson of the 1930 Chicago Cubs. The AL single-season record, held by Lou Gehrig of the 1931 Yankees, is 184.
  • Chris Davis is on pace for 53 HR. The Baltimore single-season record is 50, by Brady Anderson in 1995.
  • Jason Grilli is on pace for 65 saves. The single-season record is 62, held by Francisco Rodriguez in 2008.
  • The Miami Marlins are on pace for either 40 or 41 wins (depending on how you round it). Want to know what other team only had 40 wins? The 1962 New York Mets.

What does this mean? Well, nobody can be 100% sure, since keeping up a pace, especially one of historic significance, is hard. But it’s an interesting thing to think about…

When were record chases first noticed?: Cal Ripken’s Consecutive Game Streak

I’ve been looking through the old SI Vault, curious as to when various record chases were first noticed by Sports Illustrated. So, in this new feature, I look at when the first reference to Cal Ripken‘s pursuit of Lou Gehrig‘s consecutive game streak began.

Ripken’s Consecutive Games Streak

For example, take Cal Ripken and his pursuit of Lou Gehrig’s record. It was first hinted at in 1989, when the fact he was third overall in consecutive games played was referenced in a Peter Gammons article. The next year, in the June 18 issue, there was a whole article about his streak, including how many already were having doubts about whether it was helping or hurting the Orioles. By 1992, Gehrig’s record was clearly in danger, which, along with the fact that Bob Beamon’s long-jump record had been broken, led to an SI article listing 10 records that were never going to be broken.

Of note is that, from that list, one of those supposedly unbreakable records (Roger Maris‘ 61 HRs) has been broken (albeit with the alleged aid of PEDs), another (the Lakers’ 33 straight wins) is currently under assault, and a third (Jack Nicklaus’ majors) could conceivably be broken.

Baseball Streaks that nobody would want

The Baseball Reference Play Index is having a free trial until April 15, allowing people to look at some parts of B-Ref normally not open to unpaying eyes. And while you could use this to find things like the most home runs hit in a post-integration season by a left-hander who was never an All-Star (Travis Hafner‘s 42 in 2006) or the best June team batting average since 1916 (the 1930 Yankees, who hit .366), I instead have decided to look at some more… inglorious streaks.

Like, for example, do you know who holds the record for consecutive games grounded into a double play? Well, post 1916 (1916 is the earliest point where the Play Index is available), it’s a tie between Sid Gordon of the 1943 Giants and Greg Norton of the 1998 White Sox both grounded into double plays in six straight games they had an AB or Sac Fly in.

Okay, now what about the anti-Dimaggio, what everyday player (no P or replacement appearances allowed) has had the longest post-1916 non-hitting streak (again, in games in which they had an AB or sacrifice fly)? Well, again it is a tie: Tommy Dean went 15 games between 1970 and 1971 without a hit during any of the games where he started and had at least one AB or sac-fly, and Mick Kelleher– normally a defensive replacement (and in fact he DID get a hit during some of his defensive replacement games) went the same amount of games over 1981 and 1982 without a record. If you are curious as to what it would be like if I included replacements (but still kept out pitchers and the rare pitcher-used-as-PH), well, Eugenio Velez has that inglorious distinction, having gone 30 games and over a calendar year between 2010 and 2011 without a hit:

Rk Strk Start End Games AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SO BB SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
1 Eugenio Velez 2010-09-14 2011-09-28 30 46 1 0 0 0 0 1 12 2 0 0 .000 .042 .000 .042 SFG-LAD
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/12/2013.

What about all in one season? That goes to Phil Stephenson, who went 25 games without a hit in 1992.

Now, let it not be said that just because you have a streak that nobody wants that you must be horrible. After all, just ask the pitcher who has the record for consecutive games in which they gave up a home run: Bert Blyleven, who had 20 straight games between 1986 and 1987 in which he gave up a homer.