A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Joey Votto. I never really thought I liked Votto; maybe it was because he plays for the Cincinnati Reds, who I really don’t care for. After writing that article — more importantly the research that went along with it — I realized I was a bigger fan of “Vottomatic” than I’d ever realized. A lot of what I ranted about was that the Reds’ brass didn’t have a clue as to just how awesome Votto is, in light of their desire for him to become a better power hitter. That entailed examining Votto’s exquisite ability for getting on base, the most important pillar in the Moneyball era. When that article went live, Votto had an OBP of .460 for the season. It now sits at .463, due in very large part to his current streak of games reaching base safely. That streak, as of 4:40 pm Pacific, this Thursday, October 1, sits at 47 consecutive games.
Here’s an example. Back on Tuesday, Votto drew a walk in the bottom of the ninth; the streak was at 46 games.
This game only really meant anything to the Chicago Cubs, sure, but Votto continues to excel far beyond his peers at getting on base. Just earlier this afternoon, Votto singled in the 7th inning to extend his streak to 47 games. As the announcers astutely noticed — possibly because they have quick, smart research interns — that if Votto reaches bases in two more consecutive games, he’ll break the franchise record set by Pete Rose back in 1978. As Cam Martin pointed out, these streaks are much less attractive than, say, Joe DiMaggio‘s 56-game hit streak, but they should get their proper due, as they could be more extraordinary.
My money is on Votto to catch and pass Rose by the time Saturday’s games end. Can he catch Ted Williams, though? The Splendid Splinter’s streak, if you read the linked article you already know, is 84! If Votto closes out the season with his streak intact, he’ll have a 50-game streak. That means Votto would have to reach base safely every game from the start of next season until mid-May (or thereabouts).
If Votto can catch and conquer Teddy Ballgame, will he garner the recognition he deserves for what he does on a baseball diamond?