Baseball Qs: DiMaggio Streak; Projected Stats

Two questions:

  1. Did Joe DimAggio benefit from any favorable decisions from the Official Scorer during his 56 game hitting streak?

  2. Are there sabermetric studies that project lifetime performance for players who’s careers ended prematurely due to injury to see how they might have expected to finish their careers in terms of hits, HRs, RBI’s and such? Somebody like Kirby Puckett comes to mind.

I believe he did get the benefit of a doubt on one scorer’s decision, but had another hit in the game, anyway, making it a moot point.


As REalityChuck alludes to, DiMaggio did get a fairly favourable call on July 1, in the first game of a doubleheader, the 43rd game of the streak, but then got another hit later in the game.

Bill James came up with a system called “Brock” that would try to project a player’s lifetime stats given his numbers to a given point. It was more a fun toy than much else, not a serious tool.

The scoring calls were analyzed in an article called “Hits or Hype in '41” by John Holway in Sports Heritage magazine in 1987. Since I don’t have access to the article, all I can do in quote Stephen Jay Gould’s summary of it from a book review:

Needless to say, since these games weren’t televised, and since scoring standards are fuzzy at best and have changed over time, any conclusion about this will be subjective. All we have to go by is what people wrote about them at the time.

I do not have the references available, but I recall reading an article, I believe by Gould, that is a partial answer to question #1. There were five occasions when the official scorer was required to rule on hit vs. error during the streak. In every case, there was adequate justification for calling it a hit (i.e., if Joe Average had gotten that particular result with the Mudville Mustangs in August of a lackluster year, it would have been reasonable to call it a hit for him). So, yes, DiMaggio did benefit from favorable decisions, but no, there was no “keep the streak going” favoritism going on – he got fair rulings on judgment calls by the official scorer in each case.