It may not have been DiMaggio, but Odubel Herrera’s on-base streak was pretty cool. And that it ended with him actually being on base is a nod to how quirky baseball can be.
Herrera’s streak started innocuously enough, a second-inning single off Washington’s Tanner Roark last September in an otherwise meaningless game.
The Nationals were in first place by 21 games. The Phillies were out of a playoff spot by 22 games. Virtually, the only people who cared were the bean counters, the stat keepers and the bookmakers.
As it turns out, though, that Sept. 27 game did have some consequence. And after 45 games – sandwiched around an offseason that saw an Eagles Super Bowl parade and Villanova starting another title run – that streak is finally over.
Odubel Herrera: "At some point, the streak had to end. Now I’m looking forward to starting a new streak."
— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) May 20, 2018
Herrera went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts on Sunday, his fourth at-bat ended with a wild pitch on a swinging strike that actually allowed Herrera to reach first base. But that nuance was not enough to continue the streak. He would have had to reach safely without making the out. It’s a squirrely little rule that could only exist in baseball.
Now that the streak is history, here’s a quick update of a piece we first posted on Friday.
Longest on-base streaks in Phillies history
Would love to see video (film?) of Chuck Klein bat flipping after hitting one into the Baker Bowl upper deck
— Gary Potosky (@InqPotosky) May 18, 2018
The most encouraging stat about Herrera’s streak – more than his .355 batting average during it – is that the Phillies were 29-16 in these games. Playing .644 ball, folks, will get you into the postseason every time.
Some other fun facts and figures about Herrera’s 45-game streak:
• Mike Schmidt (56 games) holds the Phillies record. He’s followed by Chuck Klein (49, 44), Bobby Abreu (48) and Herrera (45).
• Herrera’s longest hitting streak during the span was seven games, which he did twice, including games No. 39-45.
• Six times he kept it going with walks and twice by being hit by a pitch.
• He reached base in his final four games in 2017 and his first 41 this season.
• On-base streaks also count only when a player has had a plate appearance, which Herrera did not have on opening day. He came into that game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning but did not bat.
• He’s now hitting .344 in 2018, best in the National League. He lost nine points off his batting average with Sunday’s 0 for 4.
Longest on-base streaks in baseball history
Research assistance: Baseball-Reference.com
• Only two guys have ever reached base in at least 70 consecutive games – and Ted Williams (84, 73) did it twice. Joe DiMaggio reached safely in 74 straight in 1941. He walked in the game when his 56-game hitting streak ended. He also started a 16-game hitting streak immediately after. One of the best notes in baseball history.
• Herrera’s most precarious game of his streak was probably April 24 when he was sent in to pinch-hit for Tommy Hunter in the sixth inning. He was plunked on the first pitch by Arizona’s Andrew Chafin, one of the better lefthanded relief specialists in baseball this season. Herrera is 1 for 8 in his career against Chafin (.125).
• The lefthanded-hitting Herrera hit .370 against righthanders (47 for 127) and .311 against lefties (14 for 45) during the streak. The four outs he made on Sunday were against righthanded pitchers.
• His stats during the streak: 61-172 (.355), 11 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs, 32 RBI, 17 walks, 29 strikeouts. His on-base percentage was .418 and his slugging percentage was .552, giving him an OPS of .970.
Longest on-base streaks of baseball legends
|Cal Ripken Jr.||1998||46||.312|