Posted on 16 August 2011.
Dan Uggla of the Atlanta Braves just put to rest a 33 game hit streak courtesy of a fine defensively play by Cubs’ second baseman Darwin Barney. A 33 game hitting streak is nothing to laugh at, just look at what George Brett did in 30 games, the longest hitting streak in Kansas City Royals’ history.
The fair starting point for this streak specifically would be on July 17, 1980. The Boston Red Sox would trounce the Royals that day at Fenway Park by a score of 12-4 and Sox hurler John Tudor would go the distance, holding the Royals third baseman George Brett hit less on the day.
The following day, the Royals would visit Yankee stadium and score a lopsided win of their own. This time, Larry Gura would go the distance for the Royals as they would defeat the Bronx Bombers by a score of 13-1. George Brett would begin his famous hitting streak in grand fashion, posting a 4-for-5 day with a homerun, four runs batted in, and a walk. Not only was Brett’s streak under way, so was his chase for a .400 batting average as he would end the day hitting .377.
Over the next two days, Brett would add another multi-hit game to his streak, going 2-for-5 on July 19th and post a total of five more runs batted in, bringing his streak total to nine runs batted in and seven hits over the first three games with a double and a home run. Leaving New York City, Brett was hitting .375 and the team was heading home to face the Chicago White Sox.
The four game set with the White Sox would bring the first close call of the streak on July 22. Brett had come to the plate three times already that night with a flyout and line out to right field as well as a ground out to the first baseman. It came down to the bottom of the eighth for the then four game hitting streak to be extended as Brett would land a single off of White Sox reliever Mike Proly. It would be the only game of the four game series with the White Sox that Brett would only manage one hit, bringing his hit total to fourteen over the now seven game hit streak with two home runs and 12 runs batted in. Brett’s average now sat at .379 for the season and .467 during the streak.
The Yankees came visiting Kansas City next and Brett would have a bit harder time with Yankee pitching this time around. A series of one hit games would keep the streak alive and extend it to ten games. While he would only manage one hit in each of this three game series, they would come in the form of two triples and a double, adding five more runs batted in to his total.
Boston would head to town to round out the month of July and Brett would greet them with a huge game. He would kick out three consecutive multi-hit games with a 4-for-5 effort and hit a pair of doubles and a solo home run, leading the Royals to a 9-8 victory, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a ball hit by Amos Otis that Red Sox shortstop Rick Burleson committed an error on. Brett would finish the series adding eight hits, two doubles, a home run and three more runs batted in to his streak totals. His streak stats now sit at 13 games, .481 batting average, .846 slugging percentage, six doubles, two triples, three home runs, and 20 runs batted in. His season average now sat at .390.
The dog days of August would set into Missouri and the Royals would take advantage by heading out for a ten day, ten game, three city road trip. The trip would start in Chicago and Brett would start to cool off. With just four hits spread over the three games, Brett was able to keep his hit streak going, never going deeper than the fifth inning before reaching base. He would scrape out a run batted in during the opening game but fail to grab an extra base hit during the entire series. The streak was now at 16 games.
Brett’s hitting streak would be in jeopardy during the seventeenth game in Detroit as he would come to the plate leading off the bottom of the eighth inning. With the Royals losing 4-5, Brett would deposit the first pitch he seen from Dan Schatzeder over the fence, tying the game and extending his streak. The following game, in the top of the fourth, Brett would hit a three run shot of Detroit starter Milt Wilcox and keep his streak alive before adding a pair of singles and a run batted in to complete the Royals sweep of the Tigers.
The Royals would take the three game win streak north of the border to play the Blue Jays in four games over three days on August 8th and 9th. Brett would grab four hits over seven at bats in the double header, driving a double in the second game and collecting two runs batted in during the first. As if the double header was not enough, the Royals would need 14 innings to drop the third game, but Brett would get a single in his first at bat to extend his streak. The final game in Toronto would see Brett collect yet another multi-hit game, this time grabbing three hits, and pick up another double and run batted in. As the Royals would head home to face the Orioles and Blue Jays, Brett was now hitting .390 on the season again. The streak had reached 23 games and Brett was hitting .441 with a .731 slugging percentage, eight doubles, two triples, five home runs and 30 runs batted in.
Baltimore would come to Kansas City to kick off the home stand with a three game set against the Royals and Brett would continue his hot play. He once again would produce five hits over the three game set, never coming close to losing his hit streak and adding another triple to his impressive batting line over the course of the streak.
Toronto would arrive in town and hold Brett to only one hit in the first game of the series. The hit would come in the first inning in the form of an inside the park, three run home run for the Royals third baseman. He would add seven hits, two doubles and seven runs batted over the next two games and the Royals would sweep the six game home stand. Brett’s season average had now eclipsed the .400 mark as he was hitting .401. His streak had reached 29 games and consisted of a .462 batting average, .752 slugging percentage, ten doubles, three triples, six home runs and 42 runs batted in.
The Royals would head out to Texas for a short, three game road trip that would see Brett’s streak finally come to an end. The first game in Texas was more of the same from the now Hall Of Famer, Brett would produce his sixth game during the streak with at least three hits, going three for five. Rangers starter Jon Matlack would find the answer that no one had found in a month against George Brett, walking him one time in the fifth inning but not surrendering a hit to him, retiring him in the top of the ninth inning for his final recorded out before turning the game over to the Rangers’ bullpen.
Brett’s streak would end at 30 games. He would hit an impressive .467 with a .746 slugging percentage, a .504 on base percentage, 57 hits, 29 runs, 10 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 42 runs batted in. Possibly the most impressive stat was the fact that he struck out only three times during the entire streak. The Royals would go 23-7 over the course of the streak and Brett’s season batting average would sit at .404 when the streak came to an end.
Dan Uggla’s streak might have lasted longer, but Brett showed fans how to put together one of the most impressive offensive month’s that a player can come up with as well as reaching base safely in 30 straight games by way of a hit.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
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