Posted by Raphy on January 31, 2010
In 2009, Xavier Nady had a short, but interesting season. Due a major elbow injury, Nady only appeared in 7 games. However, Nady recorded a hit in every game he played. Here is Nady's gamelog for the season:
|4||5 (1)||Apr 11||NYY||@||KCR||W,6-1||GS-8||4||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
Of course, this made me wonder about the uniqueness Nady's season. Has a player ever had a longer season-long hitting streak? Please note that I am not using the official definition of hitting streak. To qualify for this list, a player must have hit in every game that he appeared, regardless of whether or not he came to bat.
To answer this question (since 1954), we need to compare the results of two PI searches and see where they overlap. Since 1954 there have been 701 occasions in which a player started a season with a hit in his first 7 games. The longest such streak belongs to Edgar Renteria, who hit in his first 23 games in 2006. Obviously, sifting through this list would be extremely time consuming. However, if we can figure out which of these player's streaks represent their entire season, we would have our answer. From 1954-2009, 10,908 players played between 7 and 23 games in a season, but only 182 of those players had at least as many hits as games played. With a little help from Excel, we can compare the 701 streaks with the 182 seasons and find that there were four players whose season starting hitting streaks were as many games as their entire season. Nady was one, here are the others (with links to their gamelogs):
Glenn Williams 2005 (13 games): The only 13 games of Williams's career all included a hit. As mentioned in his BR- bullpen page and easily confirmed with PI, Williams's has the most AB of any player with career BA of at least .400.
John Castino 1984 (8 games): The last 8 games in the career of the 1979 AL Rookie of the Year. Castino, whose career ended prematurely due to chronic back pain, has the 8th highest OPS+ (or 7th, depending if Mike Hessman plays again) among players with at least 30 PA in their final season.