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View Full Version : 70 years later, which was more impressive? - 56 or .406?


Fenway
08-09-2011, 01:25 PM
Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 straight games.

Ted Williams hit .406

Nobody has come close to either mark in 70 years....

NESN makes the case for Williams.

http://www.nesn.com/2011/08/dan-ugglas-hit-streak-latest-to-prove-ted-williams-400-batting-average-was-most-impressive-feat-of-1.html

TheOldRoman
08-09-2011, 01:36 PM
Hitting .400, and it's not even close. I view the 56 game streak as more of a interesting feat than an incredible accomplishment, kinda like pitching a no-hitter (there have been some ****ty pitchers over the years to pitch no-hitters). Theoretically, a player could hit .100 across an entire season and break the record if he got one hit per game and they came consecutively. To hit .400 you have to be great day in, day out.

Fenway
08-09-2011, 01:40 PM
I think what Williams did in 1957 is even more remarkable ( he was 38 )

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/hittinglogs.php?p=willite01&y=1957

Scottiehaswheels
08-09-2011, 01:50 PM
DiMaggio, just because he's a Yankee and that'll get under Fenway's skin. :D::bandance::cool::tongue:

TDog
08-09-2011, 02:11 PM
I've read that during the span of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, which is incredible when you consider that went on for about two months, Ted Williams had a higher batting average. I've never checked that out. I do know that during the span of the streak, DiMaggio raised his average from .304 to .371. Williams at the same time was raising his batting average from .339 to .395. At the end of the season, DiMaggio's average had dropped to .357 with a .440 on-base percentage. Williams ended up hitting .406 with an on-base percentage of .553. His batting average would have been higher if two run-soring fly balls had not counted as times at bat as the sacrifice fly rule was different at the time. Williams also had a slugging percentage of .735 about 90 points higher than DiMaggio.

Williams led the league in home runs, hitting 7 more than DiMaggio. Fenway was tough on left-handed home-run hitters, but Yankee Stadium was tough on right-handed home-run hitters. Williams didn't win the triple crown because DiMaggio led the league with 5 more RBIs.

DiMaggio had an incredible two months, playing under the pressure of getting a hit every game. It was his hot streak in an incredible season. Ted Williams had a better season, though, and it's not even close. It wasn't that he just hit .400. He hit 50 points higher than anyone in the league while leading the league in home runs and reaching base more than 53 percent of the time. He was hitting .405 going into the All-Star break and finished at .406. Ted Williams had an incredible six months.

eriqjaffe
08-09-2011, 02:13 PM
Nobody has come close to either mark in 70 years...Tony Gwynn was hitting .394 when the strike killed the '94 season, which is the closest anybody's come since then IIRC. Dude hit .368 over a 6 year span. Incredible.

FielderJones
08-09-2011, 02:22 PM
I think what Williams did in 1957 is even more remarkable ( he was 38 )

I think Ted Williams' frozen head would have a better season than Adam Dunn in 2011.

Zisk77
08-09-2011, 02:45 PM
Actually Brett and Carew came close to .400.

Williams lost MVP to Joe D, because Boston writer didn't give him a 7th place vote.:scratch:

vinny
08-09-2011, 02:48 PM
The Yankees were pretty phenomenal during DiMaggio's run too, winning 41 out of 54 games, including a 14-game streak from late June to early July.

George Brett had a good shot at .400 in 1980. He was straddling .400 in mid-September, but then went 4 for 27 over the next 7 games and that was that; he ended up just under .390. Not sure whether that compares favorably to Gwynn's strike-shortened season - Brett missed more than 40 games dues to injuries so he almost didn't qualify for the title (515 PAs). But Gwynn was never over .400 after mid-May in 1994.

LITTLE NELL
08-09-2011, 05:15 PM
Teddy Ballgame wins this one, I don't think anyone will ever hit .400 again. Joe D's streak seem safe but it has a better chance of being broken than someone batting .400.

downstairs
08-09-2011, 05:29 PM
I don't know, other players hit .400 or higher in modern enough times. And people have flirted with it and always will. I'm sure someone will hit .400 one of these years.

Joe D's record is almost untouchable.

Lip Man 1
08-09-2011, 06:22 PM
Those are impressive marks to be sure but there is a possibility that both can be surpassed.

Now here are three records that I'm willing to bet my life (and yours) will NEVER be touched...NEVER.

1. Cy Young's career win total.
2. "Big" Ed Walsh's 40 wins in a single season.
3. Two starting pitchers BOTH going the distance in a 16 inning game.

The background on the last one is this. On July 2, 1963 the Milwaukee Braves played the Giants in San Francisco in a night game.

BOTH starting pitchers, 42 year old future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn and future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal went the distance!

The Giants won the game in the last of the 16th inning on a Willie Mays home run 1-0.

Wonder what the pitch count was???????????

Lip

twentywontowin
08-09-2011, 06:53 PM
I think .400 has a better shot of being matched again than anyone getting to even a 50 game hitting streak.

Todd Helton was .395 going into September in 2000. Someone will get there eventually.

vinny
08-09-2011, 07:26 PM
3. Two starting pitchers BOTH going the distance in a 16 inning game.

The background on the last one is this. On July 2, 1963 the Milwaukee Braves played the Giants in San Francisco in a night game.

BOTH starting pitchers, 42 year old future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn and future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal went the distance!

The Giants won the game in the last of the 16th inning on a Willie Mays home run 1-0.

Wonder what the pitch count was???????????

Lip
One biographer of Willie Mays says Spahn threw 277 pitches :shocked::
http://oldschool.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/10884/duel-of-the-decade-marichal-vs-spahn/

LITTLE NELL
08-09-2011, 08:25 PM
Those are impressive marks to be sure but there is a possibility that both can be surpassed.

Now here are three records that I'm willing to bet my life (and yours) will NEVER be touched...NEVER.

1. Cy Young's career win total.
2. "Big" Ed Walsh's 40 wins in a single season.
3. Two starting pitchers BOTH going the distance in a 16 inning game.

The background on the last one is this. On July 2, 1963 the Milwaukee Braves played the Giants in San Francisco in a night game.

BOTH starting pitchers, 42 year old future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn and future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal went the distance!

The Giants won the game in the last of the 16th inning on a Willie Mays home run 1-0.

Wonder what the pitch count was???????????

Lip

Lip, I'm shocked that you didn't know that Jack Chesbro of the 1904 Highlanders-Yankees won 41 games and holds the modern day record.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/chesbja01.shtml

Fenway
08-09-2011, 08:55 PM
No pitch count but the 2 pitchers faced 115 batters

http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1963/B07020SFN1963.htm

eastchicagosoxfan
08-09-2011, 09:15 PM
Cobb, Hornsby, Sisler and Terry all hit .400 before Williams did it. A few guys, Carew, Brett, and Gwyn, have approached .400 since 1941. No one has gotten close to 56. Pete Rose is second at 44 games. That's 80% of 56. Dimaggio's streak was 20% greater than the next best guy. Williams hit .408, but it's not even the highest average ever, let alone 20% better than the second place guy.

eastchicagosoxfan
08-09-2011, 09:30 PM
Those are impressive marks to be sure but there is a possibility that both can be surpassed.

Now here are three records that I'm willing to bet my life (and yours) will NEVER be touched...NEVER.

1. Cy Young's career win total.
2. "Big" Ed Walsh's 40 wins in a single season.
3. Two starting pitchers BOTH going the distance in a 16 inning game.

The background on the last one is this. On July 2, 1963 the Milwaukee Braves played the Giants in San Francisco in a night game.

BOTH starting pitchers, 42 year old future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn and future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal went the distance!

The Giants won the game in the last of the 16th inning on a Willie Mays home run 1-0.

Wonder what the pitch count was???????????

Lip
In 1884, Old Hoss Radbourn won 59 games. Even in an era when most teams only carried two pitchers, Radbourn's feat is impressive. He split the duties the first half of the season, and then pitched almost every game of the second half. Even back then, most observers believed that his arm would give out before the season ended.

voodoochile
08-09-2011, 09:36 PM
56 by a wide margin. I think someone will eventually hit .400 again, but I'm not sure anyone will ever have 56 straight games with a hit.

Brian26
08-09-2011, 09:54 PM
Cobb, Hornsby, Sisler and Terry all hit .400 before Williams did it. A few guys, Carew, Brett, and Gwyn, have approached .400 since 1941. No one has gotten close to 56. Pete Rose is second at 44 games. That's 80% of 56. Dimaggio's streak was 20% greater than the next best guy. Williams hit .408, but it's not even the highest average ever, let alone 20% better than the second place guy.

Yep. And after Rose, who even came close in the modern era? Molitor was in the high 30s in '87.

ComiskeyBrewer
08-09-2011, 10:02 PM
Yep. And after Rose, who even came close in the modern era? Molitor was in the high 30s in '87.

Molitor's streak ended at 39, and he was on the on deck circle when the brewers had a walk off hit to win that game.......The crowd booed cuz they wanted to see molitor extend the streak.

Lip Man 1
08-09-2011, 10:08 PM
East Chicago:

I believe MLB does not count "officially" anything before 1900 as record keeping was inexact, teams moving, leagues disappearing was very common.

To the best of my knowledge Walsh's 40 wins in a season is the most in the modern era since he did it.

Didn't know about Chesboro.

Lip

DSpivack
08-09-2011, 10:14 PM
Pfft, 56 wasn't even DiMaggio's longest streak as a pro.

eastchicagosoxfan
08-09-2011, 10:19 PM
East Chicago:

I believe MLB does not count "officially" anything before 1900 as record keeping was inexact, teams moving, leagues disappearing was very common.

To the best of my knowledge Walsh's 40 wins in a season is the record in the "modern" era.

Lip
Baseball Reference, which may or may not be recognized as official by MLB, lists Radbourn's 1884 season first for wins in a season. Along those lines, Cy Young's 511 wouldn't be official. I believe he started his career in 1890. Walter Joghnson's 416 would be the record, which Warren Spahn might have approached had he not served in WWII. I don't think MLB recognizes stats accomplished in the old National Association (1871-75).

Lip Man 1
08-09-2011, 10:27 PM
East:

I think MLB uses Elias and what they consider to be the "record."

I don't know if they have an "official" policy or not, maybe the Hall of Fame has an explanation.

Lip

Johnny Mostil
08-09-2011, 11:25 PM
Pfft, 56 wasn't even DiMaggio's longest streak as a pro.

True, but what I find most impressive about DiMaggio in 1941 is that, the game after his 56-game streak ended, he started another 16-game streak. Hitting safely in 72 of 73 games? I'm not sure anybody is going to touch that . . .

LITTLE NELL
08-10-2011, 07:18 AM
Baseball Reference, which may or may not be recognized as official by MLB, lists Radbourn's 1884 season first for wins in a season. Along those lines, Cy Young's 511 wouldn't be official. I believe he started his career in 1890. Walter Joghnson's 416 would be the record, which Warren Spahn might have approached had he not served in WWII. I don't think MLB recognizes stats accomplished in the old National Association (1871-75).

As I posted earlier, Chesbro's 41 victories in 1904 is considered the modern day record.

doublem23
08-10-2011, 07:29 AM
Teddy Ballgame wins this one, I don't think anyone will ever hit .400 again. Joe D's streak seem safe but it has a better chance of being broken than someone batting .400.

DiMaggio's record is safe because of the specialization of relief pitching. Ted Williams record is safe because hitting .400 is god damn incomprehensible.

chisoxjtrain
08-10-2011, 07:42 AM
I voted DiMaggio. Ted Williams might be the last player to do it, but he wasn't the first and he doesn't hold the record for batting average.

Zisk77
08-10-2011, 08:44 AM
iirc Dimaggio went 1 for 4 against the sox during the streak. The one hit probably should have been ruled e-6.

I think some speed demon that can really hit will eventually break 56 games.

pythons007
08-10-2011, 09:14 AM
FWIW, Dan Uggla has a 30 game hit streak currently. He's a career .258 hitter, and is more than half way there. Anyone can put together a long hit streak, but not just anyone will be able to hit .400 for a full season.

PatK
08-10-2011, 11:20 AM
Hard to believe NESN went with Teddy Ballgame.

Fenway
08-10-2011, 11:33 AM
Hard to believe NESN went with Teddy Ballgame.

Joe Cronin wanted Ted to sit out the final 2 games of the 1941 season - Ted's average had been dropping and he was at .3995 (which would have been rounded to .400)

Ted said "I'm playing." and went 6-8 in the DH and raised his average 6 points.


http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/p_wilt5.shtml

thomas35forever
08-10-2011, 09:49 PM
Make it 31 for Uggla.

Nellie_Fox
08-11-2011, 01:09 AM
The amount of media coverage that will ensue makes both pretty much impossible to do. Anybody seriously approaching either one wouldn't get a moment's peace. Every at bat would be covered nationally. The pressure would be way more than what guys faced back in the forties.

PalehosePlanet
08-11-2011, 01:48 AM
Make it 31 for Uggla.

And he's hitting all of .220.

I voted for Ted Williams, but both feats are extraordinary. Hard to argue against the other player's accomplishment without coming off nit picky and facetious. Like arguing between a Ferrari Testarossa and a Lamborghini Countach.

tstrike2000
08-11-2011, 10:05 AM
I only voted for .406 because to hit .400 for an entire season will probably never been done again.

soxfanreggie
08-14-2011, 10:27 PM
I don't know, other players hit .400 or higher in modern enough times. And people have flirted with it and always will. I'm sure someone will hit .400 one of these years.

Joe D's record is almost untouchable.

If a pitcher doesn't pitch to you for one day in there, the hit streak is over. You can still hit .400 with that. I thought during his biggest years that Bonds had a shot. I think you could have an amazing hitter come along and hit .400 because he gets walked a lot. That same amazing hitter can't force someone not to walk him.

Another thing is starters not going as long in the ballgame. Batters now have to face a starter, then likely a middle reliever or two, and then a closer. If we look at pitcher-per-game statistics, how many did someone like Teddy Ballgame have to face each day? I still think he would be the best hitter in the game if he was playing today, but I'm not sure if he would hit over .400 right now if the other team brought in lefty specialists or closers to face him in the later innings (maybe .380 or so?...still would be quite amazing though).

HomeFish
08-15-2011, 01:01 AM
Williams's batting average is both more impressive and more likely to be replicated in the future.

Oblong
08-15-2011, 10:46 AM
I went with Williams. I have always viewed the 56 game hitting streak as overrated. It's two months. It's more of a fluke and freaky thing than actual skill. Besides, you can go 1 for 4 for 2 months and do it. That isnt' meant to say it's an easy thing to do as obvioulsy there's a reason nobody's done it since. But it doesn't mean much where hitting .406 means you had quite a year, to put it lightly.

I view hitting streaks like perfect games. Any pitcher on any given day can do it so the fact that a guy threw one doesn't really tell me if he's a pitcher. He had a great day. The fact that it was DiMaggio that did it instead of someone like Benito Santiago, who had 37 games, is more of a coincidence than anything.

Soxfest
08-15-2011, 11:25 AM
56 is harder to me.............TW had Fenway wall to play pepper with and he used it to his advantage IMO.

Fenway
08-15-2011, 01:37 PM
NESN is having a poll of the greatest sports moment in Boston history and as of now Ted's .406 is losing in the first round to another moment that happened during a White Sox game at Fenway almost 30 years ago.

http://www.nesn.com/2011/08/is-ted-williams-406-season-or-jim-rice-saving-a-4-year-olds-life-a-bigger-boston-sports-moment.html

asindc
08-15-2011, 02:15 PM
NESN is having a poll of the greatest sports moment in Boston history and as of now Ted's .406 is losing in the first round to another moment that happened during a White Sox game at Fenway almost 30 years ago.

http://www.nesn.com/2011/08/is-ted-williams-406-season-or-jim-rice-saving-a-4-year-olds-life-a-bigger-boston-sports-moment.html

Yeah, that Jim Rice story is a greater moment.

TDog
08-15-2011, 02:22 PM
Williams's batting average is both more impressive and more likely to be replicated in the future.

That I agree with. I would be more impressed with someone who hit 12 extra-base hits over the course of three games, something that I don't believe has ever been done, than someone who hit for the cycle in three straight games, something I know has never been done. Yet, hitting for the cycle in three straight games would be the record more likely not to be broken.

DiMaggio's hitting streak will likely never be broken. But by all accounts, what Williams did while DiMaggio was getting at least one hit in 56 consecutive games was equally if not more impressive. It's just that Williams didn't get at least one hit in every game. There were a few games during those two months that he didn't even reach base.

DiMaggio won the MVP that year, not because of his hitting streak, but because the Yankees won the pennant and he led the AL in RBIs (or RsBI, if you want to get technical).

Fenway
08-15-2011, 02:28 PM
Yeah, that Jim Rice story is a greater moment.

I think even Ted would vote for Jim :smile:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/hof09/columns/story?columnist=garber_greg&id=4353486

TheOldRoman
08-15-2011, 02:44 PM
(or RsBI, if you want to get technical).Well, that would be technically wrong. RBI is an abbreviation and a collective noun. RBI is so common that the term itself is accepted, it stands on its own as much as it's an abbreviation for something else (kinda like KFC). It's not a random abbreviation which one would need to clarify. RBI is universally known and accepted in the English language to mean a run batted in. Therefore, if you get two, you have two RBIs. It's just like WMDs, which I never heard refered to as WsMD.

TDog
08-15-2011, 03:21 PM
Well, that would be technically wrong. RBI is an abbreviation and a collective noun. RBI is so common that the term itself is accepted, it stands on its own as much as it's an abbreviation for something else (kinda like KFC). It's not a random abbreviation which one would need to clarify. RBI is universally known and accepted in the English language to mean a run batted in. Therefore, if you get two, you have two RBIs. It's just like WMDs, which I never heard refered to as WsMD.

I apologize for the tangent that was meant to be humorous. I've actually had some conversations about this with language scholars and people who edit books and write/edit dictionaries. Technically, the plural for RBI is RBI, just as the plural for sheep is sheep and salmon is salmon. Practically, it's a question of style. AP style and Chicago style and MLA style would put an "s" at the end (I'm guessing, I've written professionally following all three and that seems right). I believe at one time the New York Times had a style that left out the "s", but they also wouldn't let you say "outfielder Jones" without putting an "a" or a "the" in front of outfielder. And saying/writing "RBIs" for "RBI" is acceptable and the norm by baseball announcers (who also often talk about winning or losing "consecutive games in a row"). I'm not sure how if there has been a change in the scholarly works discussing baseball. Robert Adair doesn't mention runs batted in in The Physics of Baseball. I don't know if the first MIT edition of Earnshaw Cook's Percentage Baseball left out the s or not because it's been years since I read it.

In the end, the English language is defined by usage. Everyday standard English today is riddled with what would have been considered grammatical and usage mistakes while Joe DiMaggio was hitting 50 points lower and slugging 100 points lower than Ted Williams in 1941, especially in the local papers.

TheOldRoman
08-15-2011, 03:38 PM
I apologize for the tangent that was meant to be humorous. I've actually had some conversations about this with language scholars and people who edit books and write/edit dictionaries. Technically, the plural for RBI is RBI, just as the plural for sheep is sheep and salmon is salmon. Practically, it's a question of style. AP style and Chicago style and MLA style would put an "s" at the end (I'm guessing, I've written professionally following all three and that seems right). I believe at one time the New York Times had a style that left out the "s", but they also wouldn't let you say "outfielder Jones" without putting an "a" or a "the" in front of outfielder. And saying/writing "RBIs" for "RBI" is acceptable and the norm by baseball announcers (who also often talk about winning or losing "consecutive games in a row"). I'm not sure how if there has been a change in the scholarly works discussing baseball. Robert Adair doesn't mention runs batted in in The Physics of Baseball. I don't know if the first MIT edition of Earnshaw Cook's Percentage Baseball left out the s or not because it's been years since I read it.

In the end, the English language is defined by usage. Everyday standard English today is riddled with what would have been considered grammatical and usage mistakes while Joe DiMaggio was hitting 50 points lower and slugging 100 points lower than Ted Williams in 1941, especially in the local papers.True, I just disagree with people who argue it should be RsBI. I remember Fred Huebner (longtime Chicago sports talk B-team guy) going on an animated rant about how it should be RsBI and everyone who didn't agree was stupid.

TDog
08-16-2011, 12:27 AM
True, I just disagree with people who argue it should be RsBI. I remember Fred Huebner (longtime Chicago sports talk B-team guy) going on an animated rant about how it should be RsBI and everyone who didn't agree was stupid.

I wonder how many MsPH he drove in anger on his way home.

I'm sorry I struck a nerve.