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56 Game Hitting Streak vs Hitting 400

Keystone, Getty Images

On Monday night, Los Angeles outfielder Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 28 games.  He’s halfway to Joe DiMaggio’s record of 56 straight.

So it got me thinking – which record is more difficult, a 56-game hitting streak or batting .400 for an entire season?

I’m going with the 56-game hitting streak.

First off, no one has come close to hitting in 56 straight games since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1941.  That was 70 years ago!

The closest in the modern era was Pete Rose in 1978 (44 straight).  Jimmy Rollins made it to 38 over two seasons in 2005-06.  Paul Molitor got to 39 in 1987. 

Ted Williams was the last player to hit .400.  He hit .406 back in 1941.  The closest to .400 since then was George Brett’s with .390 in 1980.  Brett was at .400 with about two weeks left in the season.

Tony Gwynn was at .394 during the strike-shortened 1994 season.  Who knows if he would’ve made it to .400 had the season not been cancelled?

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Some others that have flirted with 400 include: Rod Carew at .388 in 1977 and Larry Walker hit .379 in 1999.

Think about what you have to do to get a hit in 56 straight games.  You have to get a hit everyday for over 2 ½ months.  You can’t have one off day.

The pressure begins to mount when your mini-streak turns into a real streak.  Andre Ethier is at 28 games. If he gets to 35, the media coverage is going to become intense and that’s only going to add to the pressure. 

With travel, fatigue and pressure, I don’t think a 56-game hitting streak is possible these days.

Batting .400 today is a great possibility for a great contact hitter.  That’s just 2 hits out of 5 at-bats.  You could theoretically get into an 0 for 20 slump at any given time and still hit .400.

Once or twice a decade someone hits .375 or higher.  If that person would get 20-25 more hits, then they would hit .400.

But a hit in 56-straight games? Not happening!

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