Readers, I ask for some help with this one.
Reader jackfish and I have been having a conversation about Orel Hershiser's record 59-inning scoreless streak, and neither of us can come up with the answer.
First, over on my comments page, Jack posted the following:
"I have been having a hard time following this & thought maybe you could help me. I have recently been reading about Orel Hershier & his 59 game streak of pitching scoreless baseball. I have read a number of books and web articles stating that the record stands at 59 consecutive scoreless innings. A number of sources all agree on this. No matter how I add it up I get 60 consecutive innings not 59. The last time he gave up a run was on 8-30. It was in the bottom of the 5th with two men out (which starts him off with 4 1/3 innings). Then he pitched five consecutive nine inning shutouts & finally ten innings of scoreless ball on 9-28. Thats 4 1/3 + 45 + 10 = 59 1/3. Then on April 5, 1989, he got two men out before giving up a run in the first inning to the Reds. Thats another 2/3 of an inning. shouldn’t his streak stand at 60 innings & not 59? Is this something that has been overlooked for nearly 20 years or is my math incorrect?"
Let me point PI subscribers to Hershiser's Game Logs for 1988. The streak started on August 30th. Also, let me remind you that Hershiser pitched some scoreless innings in the 1988 postseason that don't count for this streak.
Now, also posted on my comments page, here is my answer for Jack:
"It took some effort, but I figured it out. Hershiser’s streak is, for some reason, counted by full innings only. In other words, he is credit with 4 innings (not 4.1) in the Aug 30 1988 game, then 55 more innings in 1988. Then, his 1989 debut game gets credited as 0 innings since he gave up a run in the first.
Given that, I don’t know why Drysdale’s streak included partial innings. I don’t know if baseball made a new ruling about it or what.
To me, none of the streaks should include partial innings, given that outs in those innings may have contributed to run-scoring by advancing runners or even scoring runners."
I am of course making reference to Don Drysdale's streak, which was the previous record. In most places, I see it credited as 58 2/3 innings, which is why I wondered above about the distinction of partial innings vs. full innings. However, I have seen one or two places that say Drysdale's streak was 58 innings which, if the official record prior to Hershiser's streak, I think would give a consistent explanation.
Today Jack came back at me with this:
"I have been researching the Orel Hershiser streak for the last few days and I still can not find any rule change that would suggest partial innings pitched not being counted towards the streak."
To me, this is one of the problems with the internet. If you search about Hershiser's streak or Drysdale's streak, you can find lots of information. Little of it, however, is necessarily correct in view of MLB rules for scoreless streaks.
Somebody out there must know, though, the official MLB rules, what the official streak numbers are for Hershiser and Drysdale, and whether there was ever a rule change. Let's hear it.
This entry was posted on Thursday, November 29th, 2007 at 9:03 pm and is filed under Gamelogs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.