Joltin' Eric has fellow O's talking of DiMaggio 4-for-4 Davis' streak hits 30, but pain is mounting, too

Sidelight

August 16, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- By this time next month, Rafael Palmeiro knows his road locker will be virtually inaccessible. He and Joe DiMaggio will be Eric Davis' next-door neighbors.

"I'll have no chance," insisted the Orioles' first baseman. "The whole world will be standing here."

During last weekend's series in Minnesota, center fielder Brady Anderson jokingly wondered when the first question would include Davis and DiMaggio in the same sentence. The question arrived this week as Davis has moved from putting together the longest hitting streak in Orioles' history to the longest streak in the major leagues this season.

Dragging his sore hamstring and his sore right elbow, Davis extended his franchise-record run yesterday to 30 games, a level reached only 35 times previously in major-league history. During the Orioles' 9-8 win over the Cleveland Indians, Davis needed only six innings to hammer four singles worth a run and an RBI. It was enough to inspire Palmeiro to project when Davis might reach the Yankee Clipper's unreachable 56-game record that has stood since 1941.

"That's a tremendous task," understated Davis of a record that has been seriously challenged only once in the last 56 years. "Especially the way the pitchers are today. To go 56 games in a row?"

When someone reminded Davis that he is only the 34th player to hit in 30 consecutive games, Davis grinned and quipped, "Hey, I'm going to the Hall of Fame."

Davis' push is complicated by his body, which has been pushed through 95 games less than a year after returning from colon cancer surgery. His manager projected only 100 games for him in spring training. Now a day off is a luxury.

"I'm just trying to maintain," said Davis. "I'm not trying to steal second and third. You just have to play smart. If you play smart, interesting things can happen.

"There are no guarantees. But I can't afford to take three or four days off right now," said Davis, mindful of the Orioles' push for an unlikely wild-card berth. Davis also is riding one of the hottest periods of his career. After yesterday's 4-for-4 performance, he is batting .400 with 10 home runs and 34 RBIs over the 30 games.

Davis believes that his teammates, especially Anderson, are deriving more enjoyment from the streak than him. Anderson is a stats nut not only of contemporary players but of those from earlier eras.

"I think they're happier when it happens than I am," he said. "I'm excited. I mean, I'm human. But I think it's a little more exciting to them."

If Davis appears oblivious to any pressure, Orioles manager Ray Miller admits he isn't. Miller lives in fear of resting Davis then having a situation cry for him to pinch hit. It happened earlier during the road trip, but Miller abstained from using Davis to hit for left-handed bat Harold Baines.

"I don't want to be in that situation where I don't play him and we get the bases loaded and there are two outs and he's sitting there," said Miller. "I'd hate that."

Miller is instead starting Davis then removing him once the right fielder has hit safely and the game seems out of reach either way. Davis, who has missed only one game since the All-Star break, left yesterday's game with the Orioles ahead 7-1, then had to watch as the Indians scrambled for an 8-8 tie before Anderson's 10th-inning home run secured the Orioles' seventh win on a nine-game-old trip.

"You want to keep playing, but at the same time you don't want to blow [the hamstring] out," said Davis. "I'm just being smart about what I do."

Hitting streaks

A look at the longest hitting streaks in history:

No. .. Player .. .. .. .. .. .. Year

56 .. .Joe DiMaggio .. .. .. .. 1941

44 .. .Willie Keeler .. .. .. ..1897

.. .. .Pete Rose .. .. .. .. ...1978

42 .. .Bill Dahlen .. .. .. .. .1894

41 .. .George Sisler .. .. .. ..1922

40 .. .Ty Cobb .. .. .. .. .. ..1911

39 .. .Paul Molitor .. .. .. ...1987

37 .. .Tommy Holmes .. .. .. ...1945

36 .. .Billy Hamilton .. .. .. .1894

35 .. .Fred Clarke .. .. .. .. .1895

.. .. .Ty Cobb .. .. .. .. .. ..1917

34 .. .George Sisler .. .. .. ..1925

.. .. .George McQuinn .. .. .. .1938

.. .. .Dom DiMaggio .. .. .. ...1949

.. .. .Benito Santiago .. .. .. 1987

33 .. .George Davis .. .. .. .. 1893

.. .. .Hal Chase .. .. .. .. .. 1907

.. .. .Rogers Hornsby .. .. .. .1922

.. .. .Heinie Manush .. .. .. ..1933

31.. ..Ed Delahanty .. .. .. ...1899

.. .. .Nap Lajoie .. .. .. .. ..1906

... .. Sam Rice .. .. .. .. .. .1924

.. .. .Willie Davis .. .. .. ...1969

.. .. .Rico Carty .. .. .. .. ..1970

30 .. .Ken Landreaux .. .. .. ..1980

.. .. .Cal McVey .. .. .. .. ...1876

.. .. .Elmer Smith .. .. .. .. .1898

.. .. .Tris Speaker .. .. .. ...1912

.. .. .Goose Goslin .. .. .. .. 1934

.. ... Stan Musial .. .. .. .. .1950

.. .. .Ron LeFlore .. .. .. .. .1976

.. .. .George Brett .. .. .. ...1980

.. .. .Jerome Walton .. .. .. ..1989

.. .. .Sandy Alomar Jr. .. .. ..1989

.. .. .Nomar Garciaparra .. .. .1997

.. .. .Eric Davis .. .. .. .. ..1998

Pub Date: 8/16/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.