Monday, June 16, 2014

Hitting streaks against a single opponent: American League edition

Recently Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers had a 39-game hitting streak against the Cleveland Indians ended by an 0 for 4 night. I don't think a hitting streak against a single opponent is quite as impressive as a standard, "every day, no matter the opponent" hitting streak, but it's still pretty cool, made even cooler in Andrus' case, because the streak dated all the way back to his MLB debut on April 6, 2009, when he went 1 for 4 against the Indians. In more than five years to begin his career, Andrus had never played against Cleveland without collecting a hit.

His streak made me wonder about the longest single-opponent hitting streaks in baseball history.

Baseball-Reference has individual-game data available back to the 1914 season, and I've tracked down the longest  hitting streaks in the 100 years since then. Here I give you the longest hitting streak against each American League team (NL teams will follow in a separate post):

Angels: Frank Thomas, 29 games

The streak started in August of 1990 and lasted until September of 1992. During the streak Thomas (who played for the White Sox) hit .381/.489/.638 against the Angels. He had 40 hits, including 7 home runs.

Astros: Ryan Klesko, 29 games

The streak started in June in 1999 and lasted until September of 2002. During the streak Klesko (Braves and Padres) hit .446/.523/.848 against the Astros. He had 50 hits, including 9 home runs.

Athletics: Luke Appling, 31 games

The streak started in June of 1939 and lasted until September of 1940. During the streak Appling (White Sox) hit .393/.435/.484 against the Athletics. He had 48 hits, with 0 home runs.

Blue Jays: Jerry Remy, 26 games

The streak started in August of 1977 and lasted until April of 1982. During the streak Remy (Angels and Red Sox) hit .353/.417/.417 against the Blue Jays. He had 38 hits, with 0 home runs.

Indians: Elvis Andrus, 39 games

The streak started in April of 2009 and lasted until June of 2014. During the streak Andrus (Rangers) hit .367/.439/.500 against the Indians. He had 55 hits, including 3 home runs.

Mariners: Damaso Garcia and Mickey Hatcher, 24 games

Garcia's streak started in October of 1982 and lasted until May of 1985. During the streak Garcia (Blue Jays) hit .349/.375/.481 against the Mariners. He had 37 hits, including 1 home run.

Hatcher's streak started in April of 1983 and lasted until August of 1985. During the streak Hatcher (Twins) hit .359/.378/.478 against the Mariners. He had 33 hits, including 2 home runs.

Orioles: Jacoby Ellsbury, 38 games

The streak started in April of 2009 and lasted until August of 2012. During the streak Ellsbury (Red Sox) hit .418/.465/.653 against the Orioles. He had 71 hits, including 8 home runs.

Rangers: Vladimir Guerrero, 44 games

This is the MLB record.

The streak started in April of 2004 and lasted until August of 2006. During the streak Guerrero (Angels) hit .443/.495/.799 against the Rangers. He had 77 hits, including 15 home runs.

Rays: Ivan Rodriguez, 27 games

The streak started in June of 1998 and lasted until June of 2000. During the streak Rodriguez (Rangers) hit .451/.483/.761 against the (Devil) Rays. He had 51 hits, including 8 home runs.

Red Sox: Joe DiMaggio (fitting), 33 games

The streak started in May of 1937 and lasted until September of 1938. During the streak DiMaggio  hit .417/.490/.697 against the Red Sox. He had 55 hits, including 6 home runs. Impressive, but probably not the most impressive hitting streak of his career.

Royals: Jerry Remy, 29 games

Note that this is the second time Remy has appeared on this list.

The streak started in October of 1977 and lasted until April of 1982. During the streak Remy (Angels and Red Sox) hit .392/.408/.458 against the Royals. He had 47 hits, with 0 home runs.

Tigers: Bobby Bonilla, 29 games

The streak started in April of 1986, when Bonilla was a rookie with the White Sox, picked up again in 1995 when he returned to the AL, and concluded with a handful of interleague games, lasting until July of 2001, which is easily the longest span of any streak on this list. During the streak Bonilla (White Sox, Orioles, Marlins, Cardinals) hit .452/.508/.808 against the Tigers. He had 47 hits, including 9 home runs.

Twins: Ted Williams, 30 games

The streak started in April of 1942 and lasted until June of 1946. During the streak Williams posted a batting line of .477/.603/.766 against the Senators (who became the Twins in 1961). He had 51 hits, including 4 home runs.

White Sox: Paul Molitor, 32 games

The streak started in May of 1993 and lasted until September of 1996. During the streak Molitor (Blue Jays, Twins) hit .376/.428/.519 against the White Sox. He 50 hits, including 2 home runs.

Yankees: Charlie Gehringer, 31 games

The streak started in May of 1935 and lasted until July of 1936. During the streak Gehringer (Tigers) hit .344/.418/.544 against the Yankees. He had 43 hits, including 6 home runs.

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Other hitting streaks of 30+ games against an American League team:

* Ken Griffey Jr. - 35 games against the Indians (May, 1992 to August, 1996)

* George Bell - 34 games against the Indians (June, 1985 to August, 1987)

* Charlie Jamieson - 31 games against the White Sox (May, 1922 to July 1923)

* Earl Averill - 31 games against the Orioles/Browns (June, 1929 to May 1931)

* Jimmie Foxx - 31 games against the Orioles/Browns (May, 1935 to July, 1936)


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