Monday, July 31, 2006

Looking Back: On Hitting Streaks, On Jimmy Rollins, On Chase Utley

Michael Carlucci's Column, "Yankee Diary," will appear here in its regular slot in two weeks. Today, in its place, we take a look back at one of our first columns at Baseball For Thought - columnist Alan Eliot's look at Jimmy Rollins' attempt to break one of baseball's most hallowed records- originally dated Feb 21, 2006. The column was written with Rollins in limbo over the offseason at 36 straight games with a hit. A month and a half later, his streak would end two games into the nascent season, at 38 games.

By the way, after all of the to-do about Rollins changing his approach at the plate last year for the better- Rollins this year: AVG .264 (career .272), OBP .326 (career .327), SLG .433 (career .416)

This is made particularly relevant now with another Philly, Chase Utley, making headlines with an attempt of his own on DiMaggio's record. As of print time, his streak stood at 31 games. Whether Utley breaks Rollins' four-month old Phillies team record of 38 games, the NL record of 44 games (accomplished by Pete Rose in 1978 who, coincidentally, became a Philly the next season), or even seriously challenges the record, this newest development in The City of Brotherly Love should keep the Phillies Phans with something positive on which to focus. After all, they are now recently without their beloved Bobby Abreu, and are looking at what should be (barring a miracle) not-so-meaningful games in September:


In an article on MLB.com, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins gives himself considerable props:

"Every spring since my rookie year, I told him (younger brother Antwon) I'm going to break [Joe] DiMaggio's record," said Rollins. "It's such a symbol of consistency. Up until now, that was impossible."

Later in the article, Rollins offers us a glimpse at his future exalted status in the annals of baseball history:

"I have no doubt that I'll be regarded as one of the best shortstops," he said. "In which way, offense or defense, I don't know. Hopefully, it's all the way around. Those are my plans. If I don't feel that way, I shouldn't be playing this game."
Recognition as the holder of the game's longest hitting streak in history might help his Hall of Fame chances. "Shoot, I'll get to Hall of Fame for reasons other than that," he said, laughing. "But that'll definitely help."


Big words for a guy whose previous longest hitting streak was 12 games. And from a lead-off man who for his career has a .273 BA (.267 league average) and a .328 OBP (.338 league average). And whose previous All-Star nods are as much of a testament to the lack of SS talent in the NL as they are to his own abilities.

Your hit king, future hall-of famer "run like Dimaggio, hit like Jimmy" Rollins!

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"I've had a pretty good success facing Stan (Musial) by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third base."
- Carl Erskine