Last night, Dan Uggla extended his hit streak to 30 games by delivering an infield single in the 5th. Andre Ethier had a 30 game streak earlier this season, but it spanned the course of two seasons really. Ethier’s streak began during the 2010 season and ended in the 2011 season.
Uggla’s streak on the other hand, began with him batting under .200 earlier this season. He has raised his average to .220 and helped the Braves maintain their Wild Card lead. But the Braves aren’t the story. They could have lost every game during Uggla’s streak and they still wouldn’t be the story. Dan Uggla is the story.
A quick look at Baseball Almanc’s website shows that Uggla is one of only 45 players to reach 30 games during a hit streak. He is only 15 games away from tying the National League record for consecutive hits. However, the word “only” is cavalier when talking about hit streaks. It is hard enough to reach a 15 game hitting streak. It’s a monumental task to reach 30. And it’s nearly impossible to reach 40.
According to Baseball-Reference, there have been 199,371 games since 1876. If we divide that number by 40, we get the number of opportunities Major League players have had to reach a 40-game hit streak. They have had 4,984 opportunities in the history of the game. Only six have done so.
Since 1876, the official start of Major League baseball, players have reached the 40-game hit streak milestone only 0.10% of the time. You read that right. I did not mean 10%. I did not mean 1%. I meant 0.10%.
Reaching a 30-game hit streak only happens 0.60% of the time. So Uggla’s feat is pretty remarkable. To put this in perspective, let’s look at some of baseball’s other milestones.
The 500 home run club has 25 members. The 3,000 hit club has 28 members. The 300 win club has 24 members.
While the 45 players who have reached a 30-game hit streak doesn’t quite match up with the other milestones, it’s pretty close. Now add five more hits to the hit streak and you’re in ever rarer company. With only 15 players ever accomplishing the mark of a 35-game hit streak, that milestone should surely be included when talking about the 500 home run club, 3,000 hit club, and 300 win club.
Unfortunately, Uggla’s streak is not drawing as much attention as it deserves. The streak will get a blurb here or a mention there, but the coverage is nothing like that of other potential milestones. Perhaps it’s because he’s still hitting only .220. Or maybe it’s overshadowed by the Braves pursuit of the Wild Card. Or maybe 30 games just isn’t close enough to that magical number of 56. Any one of those may be the reason, but my theory is a little more simple.
There’s no club to join when you reach 30 or 35 or 40-game hit streaks. The 30-Game Hit Streak Club is too wordy. Maybe with a new name, the club can get some recognition and Dan Uggla’s performance can be put in perspective. I suggest “The Hit-Streak Heroes Club,” or “The Streaking Sluggers.” But naming the club is probably better left up to someone smarter than me.
In the meantime, I’ll be checking the box-score every morning to see if Uggla extended his streak.