For Old Time’s Sake

Great read (and listen) about how to cope with Ted Williams.

General Baseball General Red Sox History

It was THIS close…


Never seen this angle on “The Steal” in ’04 ALCS Game 4. Roberts’s hand appears to be on the bag with Jeter’s glove mere inches from his arm/side. Ump made the right call, but it would be hard to blame him if he’d gotten it wrong.

In Francona’s recent book, it is noted that this was perhaps Posada’s best throw on an attempted steal up to that point in time (the “pop” time–or time from ball hitting catcher’s glove to infielder’s glove on an attempted steal–was less than 1.8 seconds…excellent for any catcher, let alone the defensively maligned Posada). His aim was perfect. Roberts just had him and Rivera beat…by a whisker.

H/T: Joy of Sox

Also, Ortiz is likely to start the season on the DL, so forgive a Sox fan whose upcoming season is likely to be lackluster for celebrating bygone good days.


1938 World Series Program Cover That Wasn’t


Fabulous. Read more @sbnbaseball

General Red Sox History

120 Percent

How do you know the Boston Red Sox' offense really cares? They give 120 percent.

Entering Thursday's game, the Sox had a 121 OPS+. For an individual player, that's no amazing feat; 56 players have an OPS+ of 120 or better this year in baseball.

But that should give you an idea of how impressive a team OPS+ of 120 is. Only one-third of the qualifying players in the game can manage it on an individual level, and here an entire team is averaging that total. 

Follows is the list of all the teams to ever finish the season with an OPS+ of 120 or better:

  • 1927 Yankees
  • 1930 Yankees
  • 1931 Yankees
  • 1982 Brewers

And here is the list of teams to get very close (118 or better):

  • 1902 Pirates
  • 1932 Yankees
  • 1933 Yankees
  • 1994 Yankees
  • 1997 Mariners
  • 2003 Red Sox

That's a small group of elite offenses: The 1902 Pirates, 1927-33 Yankees, 1982 Brewers, 1994 Yankees, 1997 Mariners and 2003 Red Sox. Let's have a look at them:

General Red Sox General Yankees History

Let the Race Begin

The Boston Red Sox sit atop the American League East at the All-Star break, a welcome but not unfamiliar position: The Sox have been in first place at the break six times since 2003, yet actually finished the season there once.

Here are those seasons, with their first-half record, winning percentage and games ahead, followed by their second-half record and games ahead/behind)

  • 2011, 55-35 (.611), 1.0 // ?
  • 2009, 54-34 (.614), 3.0 // 41-33 (.554), 8.0
  • 2008, 57-40 (.588), 0.5 // 38-27 (.585), 2.0
  • 2007, 53-34 (.609), 9.5 // 43-32 (.573), up 2.0
  • 2006, 53-33 (.616), 3.0 // 33-43 (.434), 11.0
  • 2005, 49-38 (.563), 2.0 // 46-29 (.613), 0.0
General Red Sox History

Home Run Derby

Fully two-thirds of the Red Sox lineup last night hit a home run, tying the club record. The dates and players (PH means they came off the bench, not that the home run necessarily occurred in their pinch-hit at bat):

  • July 4, 1977 (Lynn 2, Rice, Yastrzemski, Scott 2, Hobson, Carbo PH) 
  • June 20, 1979 (Lynn, Yastrzemski, Watson, Evans, Hobson, Dwyer PH)
  • June 7, 2003 (Ramirez, Ortiz, Nixon, Varitek, Millar PH, Mueller PH)
  • Sept. 15, 2008 (Ortiz, Youkilis, Lowell, Bay, Varitek, Ellsbury)
  • July 7, 2011 (Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez, Ortiz, Reddick, Saltalamacchia)

The all-time record is eight, set by the Cincinnati Reds against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 4, 1999, though two of those came from players coming off the bench. The Yankees in 2007 (July 31) had seven players go yard, six of them in the starting lineup (Damon, Abreu, Matsui 2, Posada, Cano, Cabrera, Duncan PH).

Limiting it only to members of the starting lineup, the record is seven, set by the Athletics on June 27, 1996, and tied by the Rangers May 21, 2005.

Having now had six hitters hit homers in the same game five times, the Sox are second all-time to the Reds, who have done it six times. No team has done it more since the Sox first did it in 1977, however. Likewise, perusing the list, I don't see any teams with three such games in as short a time as the Sox in the past eight years, so I'm assuming no player has been involved in as many such uprisings as Ortiz's three unless they've done it for different teams. 

The full list below the fold.

General Red Sox History


It is extremely rare to have two hitters post a 1.000 OPS in the same season. It hasn't happened since 2006, when the Red Sox (Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz) and the White Sox (Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome) did it. 

Rk Year Tm Lg #Matching  
1 2004 St. Louis Cardinals NL 3 Jim Edmonds / Albert Pujols / Scott Rolen
2 2000 Houston Astros NL 3 Moises Alou / Jeff Bagwell / Richard Hidalgo
3 1996 Seattle Mariners AL 3 Ken Griffey / Edgar Martinez / Alex Rodriguez
4 1929 Chicago Cubs NL 3 Rogers Hornsby / Riggs Stephenson / Hack Wilson
5 2011 Boston Red Sox AL 2 Adrian Gonzalez / David Ortiz
6 2006 Boston Red Sox AL 2 David Ortiz / Manny Ramirez
7 2006 Chicago White Sox AL 2 Jermaine Dye / Jim Thome
8 2003 St. Louis Cardinals NL 2 Jim Edmonds / Albert Pujols
9 2002 Colorado Rockies NL 2 Todd Helton / Larry Walker
10 2001 Colorado Rockies NL 2 Todd Helton / Larry Walker
11 2000 Seattle Mariners AL 2 Edgar Martinez / Alex Rodriguez
12 2000 San Francisco Giants NL 2 Barry Bonds / Jeff Kent
13 1997 Cleveland Indians AL 2 David Justice / Jim Thome
14 1997 Seattle Mariners AL 2 Ken Griffey / Edgar Martinez
15 1996 Cleveland Indians AL 2 Albert Belle / Jim Thome
16 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers NL 2 Roy Campanella / Duke Snider
17 1939 Boston Red Sox AL 2 Jimmie Foxx / Ted Williams
18 1937 Detroit Tigers AL 2 Hank Greenberg / Rudy York
19 1937 New York Yankees AL 2 Joe DiMaggio / Lou Gehrig
20 1937 St. Louis Cardinals NL 2 Joe Medwick / Johnny Mize
21 1936 Cleveland Indians AL 2 Earl Averill / Hal Trosky
22 1936 New York Yankees AL 2 Bill Dickey / Lou Gehrig
23 1933 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
24 1932 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
25 1931 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
26 1930 Chicago Cubs NL 2 Gabby Hartnett / Hack Wilson
27 1930 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
28 1930 Philadelphia Athletics AL 2 Jimmie Foxx / Al Simmons
29 1930 Philadelphia Phillies NL 2 Chuck Klein / Lefty O'Doul
30 1930 New York Giants NL 2 Mel Ott / Bill Terry
31 1930 St. Louis Cardinals NL 2 Chick Hafey / George Watkins
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/20/2011.

It goes on a while longer, about 40 of them in all.

But many of those occurred during eras of major offensive explosions — the 1930s and late 1990s/early 2000s — when getting to 1.000 was much easier. So how about those who posted a 165 OPS+ or better? 

Rk Year Tm Lg #Matching  
1 2011 Boston Red Sox AL 2 Adrian Gonzalez / David Ortiz
2 2004 St. Louis Cardinals NL 2 Jim Edmonds / Albert Pujols
3 1997 Seattle Mariners AL 2 Ken Griffey / Edgar Martinez
4 1992 San Diego Padres NL 2 Fred McGriff / Gary Sheffield
5 1989 San Francisco Giants NL 2 Will Clark / Kevin Mitchell
6 1963 San Francisco Giants NL 2 Orlando Cepeda / Willie Mays
7 1961 New York Yankees AL 2 Mickey Mantle / Roger Maris
8 1959 Milwaukee Braves NL 2 Hank Aaron / Eddie Mathews
9 1937 New York Yankees AL 2 Joe DiMaggio / Lou Gehrig
10 1937 St. Louis Cardinals NL 2 Joe Medwick / Johnny Mize
11 1933 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
12 1932 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
13 1931 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
14 1930 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
15 1929 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
16 1928 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
17 1927 New York Yankees AL 2 Lou Gehrig / Babe Ruth
18 1922 Detroit Tigers AL 2 Ty Cobb / Harry Heilmann
19 1921 Detroit Tigers AL 2 Ty Cobb / Harry Heilmann
20 1902 Cleveland Bronchos AL 2 Charlie Hickman / Nap Lajoie
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/20/2011.

Nineteen pairs until this year and just four in the past 45. Let's look at those four and compare them to the fifth pair aspiring to join them:

General Red Sox History

Rocking and Rolling

One of the things I love about baseball is the tie it has to history — its "modern era," the time in which most of the rules we have today were in place and the leagues and teams took shape in ways that are recognizable to current fans is now 110 years old. That's an incredible amount of history for almost every imaginable feat to have occurred, usually multiple times. Yet every year teams and ballplayers do something that either has never been done before or hasn't been done in years.

And the best part is there are sites like Baseball-reference that allow us to find out if what we're seeing is special or not.

So the Boston Red Sox are on a huge roll, the best of any team so far this season. They've won nine straight, scoring at least five runs in each of them. A streak like that — nine games with five or more runs scored — isn't all that uncommon. It happens on average twice a season. But the Sox haven't just scored five runs a game; they have pulverized opponents for 83 runs in those nine games. That's a little more rare.

In fact, if you're a Red Sox fan, you might be thinking you can't remember a stretch like this in which the Sox have been so dominant offensively. And you'd be correct: No Red Sox team has ever had a nine-game run in which they've won every time and scored 83 runs. The closest came in 1950, when the Ted Williams-led squad scored 80 runs over the first nine games of an 11-game streak. So this is unprecedented for the Red Sox, though less so for the game as a whole.

This year, no team had scored more than 73 runs in a nine-game stretch until the Sox pulverized Toronto for 14 in yesterday's game. In all of 2010, no team scored more than 73 runs in nine games, and no team went 9-0 while scoring more than 60 runs. 2009? The Red Sox went 9-0 and led the league in runs scored over any nine-game period during the streak … and scored 76. Not since 2008 has any team scored more than 83 runs in nine games. The Phillies that year scored 85 but went 7-2.

So when was the last time a team went 9-0 and scored more than 80 runs in that span? It appears to be the 2004 Astros, who scored 84 runs over the first nine games of their 12-game winning streak that vaulted them from the basement to the playoffs in half a season. Before them, you have to go back to the 2000 Oakland Athletics, who scored an impressive 95 runs in nine games, including a 21-3 thrashing of Kansas City. 

Another great streak in recent history fell short: the 2002 A's, who won an astounding 20 straight games, scored 82 runs during a nine-game span in the middle of that streak. (Note: I ran the search for teams scoring at least five runs a game and then, just to be sure, dropped the criteria to four per game, with the same results.)

So since the turn of the 21st century, the Red Sox are the third team to score this many runs while winning nine in a row — and the first Boston team ever to do it. And that's why we love baseball. Because every day, every week, is the opportunity to see something we might not have seen before.

History Sox Gamers/Postmortems The Media Yanks Gamers/Postmortems

Say What?

Ok, so the Red Sox have beaten the Yankees in eight of nine games this year, including a second series sweep in the Bronx for the first time since the Boston ace was Smoky Joe Wood, but we're not here to gloat.

Well, maybe just a little bit:


Ok, got that out of the way. Now let's discuss the strange lede to New York Times beat writer Ben Shpigel's game story this morning. Maybe it was the lateness of the hour or the unthinkable sweep he had just witnessed, but Shpigel breaks out some strange interpretation of history here:

Babe Ruth was a 17-year-old pitching prodigy at the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. The Red Sox had yet to win a World Series, and the Yankees did not exist. They were still called the Highlanders, playing not in the Bronx but in Manhattan, at Hilltop Park and the Polo Grounds.

Derek Jeter greeted Curtis Granderson after Granderson's homer in the Yankees' rain-delayed game.

The Red Sox won all 10 games in New York during that 1912 season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. But over the last 99 years of their rivalry, they had yet to win as many as six in a row.

This is certainly strange because, as most baseball fans and writers should know, the Red Sox won the World Series in 1903. And the Yankees did, in fact, exist, even if they were known by a different name. Shpigel seems to be laboring under the mistaken belief that a franchise does not exist until it is known by its present name. Not only is that glaringly incorrect, it's ludicrous. It would mean the Cincinnati Reds, generally recognized as baseball's oldest continuously operated franchise, did not exist from 1954-59 when the team joined the ranks of those bending before the insanity of anti-communist paranoia by changing its name to the Redlegs.

Apparently, early morning historical inaccuracy is contagious: Peter Abraham in his game story said this was the first time the Sox had swept two three-game series from the Yankees in New York since 1913, but this isn't correct either, as the Sox went 2-0, 1-0-1, 2-0 and 2-2 in four separate series, the first three presumably truncated by rain.

All the historical head-to-head matchups are available at Baseball-Reference. I know it was late, but it doesn't take long to double-check this kind of stuff.

General Red Sox General Yankees History

Partying Like It’s 1996

Peter Abraham had a great post about the shared history of Derek Jeter and Tim Wakefield a couple of days ago.

They first met on July 15, 1996 at Fenway Park. Jeter, batting leadoff, doubled the first time he faced Wakefield. But Wakefield stuck around for five innings and got the win in an 8-6 Red Sox victory. Every other player who got in that game has retired.

The Red Sox lineup
Jeff Frye 2B 
John Valentin SS 
Mo Vaughn 1B 
Jose Canseco DH 
Tim Naehring 3B 
Reggie Jefferson LF 
Mike Stanley C 
Troy O'Leary RF 
Lee Tinsley CF 
Tim Wakefield RHP

The Yankees lineup
Derek Jeter SS 
Bernie Williams CF 
Paul O'Neill RF 
Darryl Strawberry DH 
Tino Martinez 1B 
Mariano Duncan 2B 
Jim Leyritz C 
Gerald Williams LF 
Andy Fox 3B 
Ramiro Mendoza RHP

[Then-]Yankees manager Joe Girardi pinch hit in that game.

It's a remarkable history. It seems quite likely, in fact, that no Yankee player has faced a Red Sox player as often as Wakefield and Jeter have — 130 times now, including the postseason. It requires one of the teams to have a hitter and the other to have a pitcher whose careers overlap for 15 years or more. That's incredibly rare. 

Wakefield's gotten the better of the matchups lately. Last night's fifth-inning double was the first hit Jeter recorded against Wakefield in 13 plate appearances, with one walk, dating back to the beginning of 2009.

General Red Sox History

Four of a Kind

Adrian Gonzalez is red hot right now, and yesterday he became just the 15th Red Sox player to homer in four straight games. 

Hitting home runs in four consecutive games is a fairly rare feat — just 25 times has a Red Sox player done it since 1919. If Gonzalez goes deep tonight, he'll join a five-way tie for the Sox record, shared by Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Dick Stuart, George Scott and Jose Canseco.

Foxx homered in at least four straight games three times, as did Carl Yastrzemski. Jim Rice did it twice, and so did Canseco. Otherwise, the list of players to accomplish the feat is a history of the franchise's most feared (or most notorious) sluggers: Foxx, Williams, Jackie Jensen, Stuart, Yaz, Scott, Rice, Mo Vaughn, Carl Everett, Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Bay and now Gonzalez. Only David Ortiz (who had 11 three-game homer streaks) seems to have missed the fun.

Over the four games, Gonzalez has put up a .389/.400/1.278 line. His 1.678 OPS is on the low side among his peers. He has "just" seven hits over the four games, although six went for extra bases, and one walk. 

The king of home run streaks — both in quality and duration — was Ted Williams, who homered in four or more consecutive games five times. When he hit home runs in five straight games in 1957, Williams walked seven times, meaning he hit his five home runs in just 11 official at bats, putting up a five-game line of .727/.833/2.364. He only made three outs in the five games. 

Williams almost had another string of four straight home run games in September of 1957, but even so, it was a remarkable string:

  • On Sept. 17, Williams came in as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and hit a solo home run against Kansas City to tie the game.
  • On Sept. 18, he again came in as an eighth-inning pinch hitter and walked.
  • On Sept. 20, he pinch hit against the Yankees in the ninth and bashed another homer.
  • The next day, he started the game and came to the plate four times, walking three times and hitting a second-inning grand slam.
  • And, finally, on Sept. 22, he again came to the plate four times, walking twice, homering in the fourth and singling in the sixth.

His line for the five games: an incredible 1.000/1.000/3.400, that single in the sixth inning of the fifth game his only blemish. 

But Williams wasn't done. He walked three times, was hit by a pitch and hit a single on Sept. 23, went 1 for 3 with a home run and a walk on Sept. 24 and went 2 for 3 with two walks on Sept. 25. All told, from Sept. 17-25, Williams had 25 plate appearances and reached base in 22 of them. With only 12 official at bats, he recorded nine hits, including five home runs. His line for the week was .750/.880/2.000.

Now that's being on fire.

General Red Sox History

Best In Baseball

Teams in 2011 with the most games in which the starter qualifies for a win and allows zero runs:

  • Boston Red Sox, 8 (Lester 2, Beckett 2, Matsuzaka 2, Buchholz 1, Lackey 1)
  • Milwaukee Brewers, 8 (Gallardo 2, Marcum 2, Wolf 2, Narveson 2)
  • Philadelphia Phillies, 7 (Hamels 2, Halladay 1, Lee 1, Oswalt 1, Worley 1, Kendrick 1)
  • Atlanta Braves, 7 (Lowe 2, Hanson 2, Hudson 1, Beachy 1, Jurrjens 1)
  • St. Louis Cardinals, 6 (Lohse 2, Garcia 2, Carpenter 1, Westbrook 1)
  • Oakland Athletics, 6 (Gonzalez 2, Anderson 1, McCarthy 1, Ross 1, Cahill 1)

Red Sox teams with at least eight such starts in their first 35 games since 1919:

  • 2002 (Pedro 2, Lowe 2, Darren Oliver 2, John Burkett 1, Frank Castillo 1).

The Padres had 11 such starts through 35 games last year, second all-time only to the 1968 Indians, who had 12. The Royals had eight such starts at this point in 2009, as did the 2003 Expos, the '02 Sox and the 2001 Braves. 

Not that it means anything. Of all those teams, only the '01 Braves went to the playoffs, losing in the NLCS to the eventual World Champion Diamondbacks (who had some good pitching of their own). And of the six teams represented on the top of the 2011 list, only the Cardinals and Phillies are in first place.

General Baseball History Miscellany Weblogs

One Man Wolf Pack


Ben Henry and Mike Kenny, proprietors of the Baseball Card Blog (and authors of the great “Casey at the Bat” project) have hit the genius well once again and we can’t wait to see more of these (thumbnail above – be sure to surf through though, the site is fantastic).

General Red Sox History

An Historic Run

The Boston Red Sox' starters are smokin'.

With a 1.02 ERA in eight games, each a quality start (by game score), each allowing no more than two runs, each at least working into the sixth inning, the Sox are experiencing a run of starting pitching we haven't seen in decades.

In last night's game thread, Devine said:

It feels like this rotation's stretch of really good starts is starting to verge on historically good.

I would agree. The problem, as we'll see, is defining how we research these starts. While every Sox starter except one has allowed zero or one run in this stretch, Josh Beckett did allow two. Of course, Beckett went eight innings in that start, which makes it more impressive. Meanwhile, Clay Buchholz went only 5.1 innings in his — but allowed only one run and so it also felt more impressive than it otherwise might have been. That means we're reduced to looking for strings of starts with a minimum line of 5.1 innings, 2 runs allowed. That's nice, but not particularly impressive. Still, I'm not sure what else we can do. Game score isn't much of a help; Buchholz's start scored just 50, the bare minimum for a quality start.

So we have to concede the possibility that this stretch isn't as impressive as we think it is. But if it isn't, that should become clear soon enough, as we should find lots of eight-game stretches without too much trouble. And, as you'll see, it's been quite a long time since a Red Sox ballclub saw the kind of consecutive starting performances we've seen over the last eight games.

General Baseball History The Media

Manny, Being Manny Until the End


We haven't commented all that much here about the sudden, perplexing retirement of Manny Ramirez, which is pretty remarkable given how much time we've spent discussing the enigmatic slugger over the years. Starting in 2005, Manny has been the source of near-constant conversation. We've defended him, and we've criticized him. And we grew tired of doing both.

Manny Ramirez in a Boston Red Sox uniform entailed incredible highs and stupefying lows. Aside from the two World Championships, one of those highs was the play described in the beautiful chart above from Beyond the Box Score's Justin Bopp, his catch-and-high-five-and-throw double play just two months before the Sox severed their relationship with him. It was the exclamation point near the end of a Boston career that ultimately ended with ellipses.

In the end, however, the relationship with Manny was too strained, too broken to survive, as I described three days before the deadline-day trade that sent him to Los Angeles and brought aboard Jason Bay:

Yes, I'm tired of defending Manny Ramirez, but I'd be more than willing to do it — if it were worth doing. Now, I'm not sure. Now, I feel not so much fatigue at the idea of defending Manny. I feel fatigue at the idea of Manny himself, and all that entails.

It entails more rounds of bizarre and maddening comments — allegations that the Sox' front office lies to its players, expressions that he's "tired" of Boston, failing to communicate about injuries right before a key series with the Yankees. It entails more rounds of self-righteous columns from sports writers inexplicably angry about various slights, real and imagined, Ramirez has perpetrated against the game of baseball. And, worst of all, it entails inexcusable actions — as relatively unimportant as staring at a home run that winds up hitting the wall and being held to a single or failing to run out a ground ball that gets booted, or as serious as shoving a team employee or hitting a teammate.

After he left, Ramirez drifted from Los Angeles to Chicago to Tampa. His name was reported to have appeared on a list of players who failed at least one drug test in 2003, though the exact nature and relevance of the list remain sketchy at best. He then was suspended for 50 games after he failed a drug test, and now he's retired rather than be suspended for 100 more.

It's a sad end to a great career, yet it makes perfect sense: Manny going out on his own rules, flouting the conventions, making head-scratching decisions. Manny doing whatever it takes to compete, to succeed, to be the best at his job. As it's usually been with Manny Ramirez, those two formulations are uneasily married, different sides of the same coin.

Now come the debates about his inclusion in the Hall of Fame. The sportswriters obviously will keep him out. If their sanctimony can extend to the likes of Jeff Bagwell, whose only known tie to PEDs is hitting home runs before (and after) the implementation of testing, it will certainly cover the twice-failed Ramirez, despite the ratings, single-copy sales and Web hits he provided with his antics on and off the field. 

Sanctimony, however, has yet to cover the huge numbers of amphetamine users, sign stealers, bat corkers and ball scuffers from the 1900s-1970s, many of whom hold (or held) some of baseball's most cherished records and were inducted with nary a peep into the Hall. As with many other facets of the sportswriters' conflicted relationship with Ramirez, this one also will be drenched in hypocrisy.

General Baseball History

Triple Threat

The season is young, but David Ortiz has quite the distinction right now:

No other player in baseball has a longer active streak of seasons with at least one triple.

Since 2000, Ortiz has hit 16 triples in 12 seasons, never legging out more than three (2004) and only three times hitting more than one (2003, 2004, 2006). The chances are, however, that he will be eclipsed. 

As it is, Ortiz entered the season tied for 13th on the list. That means several players with longer streaks are simply waiting for the inevitable three-bagger to reclaim their spot. 

At the head of the class is Ivan Rodriguez, who has a 19-year streak entering the season. Rodriguez has never hit more than five triples in a season, but only four times has he been limited to just one. One of those times was last year, and I-Rod is now 39. This streak might be snapped.

Ditto Omar Vizquel, who has a 15-year streak entering this season. If not for a triple drought in 1995, Vizquel would have a 22-year streak going. Vizquel only had one triple last season, however, so it's not a sure thing the 44-year-old will keep it alive either.

Johnny Damon is much more likely to eclipse Ortiz's accomplishment. He's had two or more triples every year since 1995, a 16-year streak that he continued with five three-baggers last season.

Scott Rolen, Vlad Guerrero, Bobby Abreu, Edgar Renteria (all 14 years) and Todd Helton (13 years) have all managed to extend their streaks despite advancing age and declining speed. The chances are good one or two of these guys will leg one out in 2011.

And the chances are probably better than 50/50 that J.D. Drew and Carlos Beltran, who both have 13-year streaks going, will continue them this year. Of course, you never know: Mike Cameron, a speedy guy with some pop, had a 13-year streak snapped last year when he was beset by injuries.

It's not unthinkable that by the end of 2011, Ortiz could be joining the much faster Damon, Drew and Beltran as the only players with active triple streaks of 12 years or longer. That's why we love baseball.

(h/t to IH, who heard this nugget on the ESPN telecast last night)