Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak is one of the most hallowed records in baseball history, even though most fans today weren’t alive to see him play.
But we live in an era with a greater appreciation for getting on base by any means necessary. So while an all-time on-base streak hasn’t built up the cachet of DiMaggio’s 56, it’s worth calling out who holds that record.
In the American League, the titan of touching first is Ted Williams, who reached base 84 straight games in 1949. In fact, Williams owns two of the top three streaks, with his 73-game streak in 1941-42 coming just behind the 74-gamer by DiMaggio that includes his hitting streak.
In the National League, this underrated record is held by none other than Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider of the Dodgers, who reached base in 58 consecutive games from May 13 through July 11, 1954.
Snider broke a record of 56 consecutive games held by two fellow Hall of Famers — Roger Bresnahan (1904) and Snider’s future Dodger teammate Arky Vaughan (1936).
At age 27, the 1954 season was arguably Snider’s best, with a career-high .423 on-base percentage, .647 slugging percentage, 1.071 OPS and 171 OPS+, including 39 doubles, 10 triples, 40 homers and 130 RBI. Snider finished fourth in the Most Valuable Player balloting, with 23-year-old Willie Mays of the pennant-winning Giants taking the trophy in his first year back from military service.
During his streak, Snider batted .368, on-based .448 and slugged .726, for a 1.174 OPS. The Dodgers went 38-20 while it was alive. He had hits in all but seven of the 58 games, and kept it going with a ninth-inning pinch-triple on July 2. On the day it ended, Snider failed to reach base in six plate appearances but still managed two RBI at Milwaukee on two sacrifice flies, including the game-winner in the top of the 12th inning off Lew Burdette, who went the distance for the Braves.
Snider went 0 for 4 the next day, then started a new streak that lasted 19 games. Overall, Snider reached base in 137 of the 149 games he played in 1954.
Snider’s 58-game mark has stood the test of time among NL players, including a little-noticed approach by Barry Bonds in 2003 that fell one game short. Another former Dodger, Shawn Green, got to 53 games in 2000 before faltering.
Flashing forward to 2020, the longest active streak of reaching base in the majors belongs to the Dodgers’ Justin Turner, who is at 26. He’ll have to more than double that this year and next to catch Snider.
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