Baseball historians - DiMaggio's hitting streak

Last night I was browsing through a book about great feats in baseball. One of those mentioned was Pete Rose’s 44 game hitting streak. The author discussed the public attention as Rose passed various record holders until he had only DiMaggio’s 56 game streak ahead of him. At this point the author made a comment along the lines of “Rose had achieved his feat with no help, no friendly scorers, no games extended into extra innings so he could get a hit…”.

So what’s the story here? Did teammates let games go extra innings to help Joe? Did scorers score fielder’s errors as Joe’s hits?

I believe Joe DiMaggio did get a couple of friendly calls, although I certainly wasn’t around at the time. Even if there isn’t proof, I wouldn’t be surprised–DiMaggio was quite a popular figure at the time. Scorers probably figured it was better to err on the side of the base hit–after all, I know if I were an official scorer in those days I would rather be the guy who extended Joltin’ Joe’s hitting streak on a bad call than who killed it on a bad call the other way.

No, there was no help. I wasn’t there, but I was watching baseball by '46 and there was never any allegation that he had help. I cannot imagine how you would go about extending a game into extra innings.

On the other hand (and I may be confusing this with another streak, but I think not), Rose did have some help. In something like the 40th game, in a late inning, Expos second baseman Rodney Scott basically “allowed” Rose to beat out an infield hit. Scott was something of a marginal player and some think his career ended over it. At any rate he did not come back after that season.

After changing my searches I found this breakdown of DiMaggio’s hits which seems to indicate lots of hits scored in dubious circumstances and no extra innings hits at all.

“Fly ball that RF Pete Fox could not find; ruled a hit.”
“Bad hop grounder off SS Luke Appling’s shoulder.”
“Bloop over SS taht a diving Appling gloved, then dropped; no throw – ruled a hit.”
“Game 1 of DH. Grounder misplayed by #B Jim Tabor; ruled a hit.
Liner to left removed possible taint on previous AB”

Another site says :

“Joe DiMaggio’s fame rests on a hitting streak that never happened. It is as full of holes as an archery target—for example, two gift hits by friendly New York official scorers on easy bouncing balls in games 30 and 31. If either of them had been called honestly, DiMag would have had two streaks of between 25 and 30 games, not one streak of 56, and would rank somewhere near his close statistical twin, Hank Greenberg, in the pantheon.”


So I guess that means that we give the record to Rose at 39 games. :smack:

Rodney Scott’s career ended early because he was terrible. However, Rose’s streak was in 1978. And Rodney Scott was on the Cubs then. And he played until 1982.

But, the latest game in Rose’s streak in which he had just one hit and it was an infield hit was Game #33 on 7/20/1978, when his only hit was a 5th infield hit to second base. The second baseman was Ted Sizemore, who was a respectable player and a former Rookie of the Year.

The day before Rose’s only hit against Philadelphia was an infield single fielded by Mike Schmidt.

I don’t see Rose getting the benefit of the doubt of too many calls during his streak. But it would be nice if people doublechecked their facts.

You can use to dig up most of this info.

Joltin’ Joe also had one hell of a streak- 61 games! when he was in the Pacific Coast league in 1933.

But to me, Rose’s 44 games are more impressive than either of DiMaggio’s, just because of the more modern context. For one, DiMaggio never faced specialized, situational relievers (granted he didn’t have the advantage of Astroturf, either). And, despite what old timers might want to think, he didn’t face anything resembling contemporary media pressure and didn’t play before the huge crowds that Rose saw.

And, of course, Joe’s record deserves the same asterick as all others set before 1947.

I remember well the game that ended Rose’s streak. It was against the Braves, and Braves reliever Gene Garber struck Rose out to end the game. (For years, the lead-in to Braves telecasts was Skip Caray screaming “Struck him out! He struck him out! The hitting streak is over…”)

After the Game, Rose complained that Garber was pitching him like it was the World Series. (And Garber did pump his fist after striking Rose out.) Sounds like Rose was hoping for some slack, but not getting it.

I don’t expect Rose got too many breaks. I got the impression he was not well-liked around the league.

There’s that story of the official scorer shaking his fist at Dimaggio from the press box: “You get that one, but you have to earn the rest!”

Any cites for me?

As for Rose complaining about people playing hard, from :

I’ve seen that anecdote too, or at least a really similar one. However, as I recall, it was followed by something like “so in his next at bat Joe hit a triple.” I can’t find the source right now- too many baseball books to flip through.

Considering that you apprently weren’t around when Dimaggio was having his hitting streak, you hvae no right to say that he didn’t face any media pressure, as you have nothing even resembling first hand knowledge of this.

As for Rose having to face situational relievers, try again. The situational releiver didn’t really comne into bewing until the mid 1980’s at the earliest, which is well after Rose’s hitting streak had come and gone.

And finally, Rose got to fly between cities for games rather then having to spend up to 12 hours on a train like Dimaggio did. He had a much cushier and easier time of it then Dimaggio did, which saomehow didn’t prevent Rose from crying like a baby because he felt that Garber pitched him unfairly, which just shows what kind of scum Rose really is.

Care to explain this lunacy?

And back it up with more than one legitimate cite.

Sure thing, Mr. Breakfast

Everything changed when this guy came along.

The Mayor is merely rehashing an old, tired argument often made by left-leaning sports fans: that all records set before 1947 (when Jackie Robinson integrated baseball) are tainted, because white stars didn’t have to face the best black athletes of their time.

Not long ago, Barry Bonds rehashed that argument, when he went on that rant about how he wanted to erase Babe Ruth’s name from the record books.

Of course, it’s a STUPID argument. Not just misguided, but STUPID. And if Barry Bonmds wants to understand just WHY it’s stupid, all he has to do is ask himself this: if there had been no black players in major league baseball over the past 10 years, would Jeff Kent’s stats have gotten better or worse?

If you buy Mayor’s argument, you’d say “Better, of course, because he wouldn’t have to face good black pitchers, and there wouldn’t be any speedy black outfielders to run down his fly balls.” But in truth, without the presence of Barry Bonds (who is, of course, black), Jeff Kent’s numbers would have been much WORSE!

That is, the pluses that Joe Dimaggio received from segregation (he didn’t have to face competition from top black players) is offset by the minuses (he might well have had MORE homers and ribbies if the Yankees had a few good black players in their lineup!).

Left-leaning? Hardly. Though if opposing racial segregation in any form makes me “left-leaning,” then so be it.

Or he might not have even made the starting line-up. Or Satchel Paige might have stopped his streak at 2 games. We’ll never know. My point is that Happy Chandler, Branch Rickey, Jackie Robinson, Bill Veeck, Larry Doby, et al. changed the game more than the end of the dead ball era, expansion, the amateur draft, astroturf, small stadiums, the closer, free agency, steroids, the DH and every other significant baseball evolution combined.

Anyway, sorry about dragging this whole thread so far off topic with my apparently controversial views.

Well, let’s see now, Mayor…

In 1946, there was no black players in the National League, so by your logic, Stan Musial’s .365 batting average is invalid. Fast forward 10 years. By now, the NAtional League has lots of hard-throwing black pitchers to strike Stan out, lots of speedy black outfielders to run down his fly balls, so naturally his batting averaged plummeted… all the way down to .351 !

In 1947, when there were no black players in the A.L., Ted WIlliams batted .343- but of course, using Mayor’s logic, Ted couldn’t possibly have done that well if he’d had to face black competitors! So, his 1957 batting average (.388!) must’ve been a typo.

In 1947, when there was just one black player in the N.L., Warren Spahn won 21 games. But of course, he couldn’t POSSIBLY have won so many games if he’d had to face black sluggers. And sure enough, 16 years later, when the N.L. had dozens of top black hitters, Spahn DIDN’T win 21 games- he won 23!

See a trend? The top white players’ stats didn’t suffer a whit due to integration!

Segregation was evil, pure and simple. Fact remains, the best players of any color play up to the level of the competition. Ted Williams, Warren Spahn, and Stan Musial adjusted to new conditions without missing a beat. There’s no compelling reason to suppose Babe Ruth or Joe Dimaggio wouldn’t have done the same.

It’s also worth pointing out that the all-white talent was spread over fewer teams, playing few games, and that baseball was getting the vast majority of the American white athletic talent. Football wasn’t very big, and basketball wasn’t even on the map.

So which era is “better”? Probably impossible to even really come close to saying.

Drat. “fewer games”