Ryan Braun is hitting well. So well, in fact, that he has had at least one hit in the last 18 games.
This has happened before in Milwaukee – quite a bit actually – but there is something fun about hitting streaks. Especially when you start to climb into the 20′s. You are approaching history.
With Ryan Braun on the precipice of this ocassion – and Ramirez closing in with his own 12 game streak – we’re taking a look back today at some of the best Milwaukee baseball has had to offer in terms of hitting streaks, to see just how far Braun and Company have to go to reach Milwaukee immortality. As if such a title is elusive for a player like Braun. We offer you the longest hitting streaks in the last ten years, plus two extra that every Brewer should aspire to break.
We start with good old number eight, the third baseman turned left fielder, who has dazzled Milwaukee fans since he came into the league in 2007. Since that time, Braun has had some of the longest hitting streaks in recent Milwaukee history.
Last year, Brauny hit in 23 consecutive games. He reached base safely in a handful more, and that streak helped to keep the Brewers on a winning track and heading towards a division title. In 2012, he is well on his way again. His 18 game streak currently sits as the highest active streak in the Major Leagues right now, and only a few hits shy of being the longest of the season. He still has some way to go before making it the longest in Brewers history – to say nothing of Joe DiMaggio’s elusive 56 – but Ryan Braun is hitting the ball at an impressive clip.
Yes, we can still talk about Prince Fielder as a Milwaukee Brewer. Wipe the tears, Milwaukee fans, and try to remember that even though Fielder is known primarily for his power, he was known to make regular contact as well during his time in the Brewer Blue. He did leave Milwaukee with a career average of .282, after all. In 2007, the year Prince set Milwaukee’s single-season home run mark at 50, Prince also hit in 17 consecutive games. It was far from the longest in the Majors that year, as eleven players in both leagues knocked down at least 20 consecutive hits – including Yuniesky Betancourt, if you can believe it. Fielder would hit in 16 games in a row the following year.
We all know that Corey is a very streaky hitter, but just how prolific those streaks could be is something that escaped me until I researched this article. The following is a list of years and league-leading hitting streaks Corey had as a Milwaukee Brewer:
2011: 18 games (10th longest in NL)
2010: 20 games (2nd longest in NL)
2007: 22 games (2nd longest in NL)
Just further proof that when he sees the ball well, there is little stopping Corey Hart from reaching base on a hit. When that switch turns over, well, that’s a different article altogether.
JJ’s legacy in Milwaukee is always a strange one. He was a very good player – not great, but very good. It turns out, however, that he was among the longest hitting streaks for three years in Milwaukee. He 2008 he went for 16 in a row, and he made an appearance in 2007 with 19 games as well. Those were both of the years that Prince Fielder put together hitting streaks as well, and you could feel something building in Milwaukee then. It was not to be with Hardy on board, however, as he left the team after the 2009 season – but all’s well that ends well as Hardy remains productive with Baltimore in the American League now.
Best of the Best
There are a few men in Milwaukee who stand out as hitters during their time – one of them, Robin Yount, never had a hit streak over 20 games and yet still managed to compile over 3,000 hits. There are two Milwaukee hitting streaks that stand out as some of the best in the history of baseball in the Brew City.
Hank Aaron never had a siginificant hit streak at the end of his career, when he played for the Milwaukee Brewers. He did, however, work wonders with the bat as a Milwaukee Brave. His highest recorded hit streak came in 1957 with the Milwaukee Braves, where he compiled at least one hit in 25 games. It was a sure sign of future greatness from Hammerin’ Hank, and of the reasons Milwaukee Braves baseball is a standard for success.
The honor of the longest ever hit streak for a Milwaukee baseball player goes to Paul Molitor. ‘The ignitor’, as he was known to teammates and fans, hit safely in 39 consecutive games in 1987. Nobody since that time has been able to eclipse the mark, and it stands as the seventh longest hitting streak in Major League Baseball history. The streak began on July 16th of that year, and did not end until the 25th of August. During that time, Molly compiled a .415 average and drove in 33 runs.
The ending of the streak cam with Molitor on deck in the bottom of the 10th inning, when Rick Manning drove in the walk-off run. Milwaukee fans booed. When the streak was all said and done, Paul Molitor had a .370 average. He would finish second in the AL that year with an average of .353
So obviously, our boy Braun has some serious work to do to be in contention for the hitting streak hardware. No one knows when the streak could end, but that’s part of the fun. Especially with Braun, since you know every time he gets to the plate, the team has a chance.