Can Dan Uggla keep his improbable streak going?

Dan Uggla is one of only 34 players in major league history to with a 31-game hitting streak.

Dan Uggla is one of only 35 players in major league history to hit in 31 straight games.

Headed to the Falcons’ exhibition opener against Miami tonight, not the Braves’ game at Turner Field against Chicago, so I can’t see up close whether Dan Uggla continues arguably the most improbable turnaround  in Atlanta sports history.

I know. That’s quite a statement. But think about this: Uggla was hitting .173 when he began his 31-game hitting streak on July 5. He had 55 hits in his first 86 games. He has 44 hits in the 31 since.

While we may have assumed that he would not hit .173 the rest of the season, to suddenly turn into DiMaggio, Cobb or Rose was neither expected nor logical.

At 31 games, Uggla is tied for the 25th longest hitting streak in baseball history. We’re talking about something only 34 other players have ever done. So when you think about other unexpected Atlanta sports story lines, most don’t compare. Consider a few:

♦ 1991: The Braves go to the World Series. This was big. But they were pretty good during the regular season. The worst-to-first thing certainly was huge but that’s something that took place over several months.

♦ 1998: The Falcons go to the Super Bowl. A remarkable achievement for a franchise that until recently never even had consecutive winning seasons. But the Falcons were 14-2 that season, tied for the second-best record in the NFL. So it’s not like they were 9-7 and barely snuck into the playoffs as a wild card.

♦ 1992: Francisco Cabrera’s two-out, ninth-inning pinch hit off Pittsburgh’s Stan Belinda knocks in David Justice and a sliding Sid Bream for the tying and winning runs in Game 7 of the NLCS. This is one of the single-most memorable moments in Atlanta sports history and the closest thing I could think of to Uggla’s achievement. (Cabrera was a career .254 hitter over five major league seasons, but he went 3-for-10 with the Braves during the 1992 season after being recalled from Richmond and was 3-for-7 in career postseason at-bats.)

Here’s the list of players Uggla has joined. And what other improbable turnarounds can you think of?

Via the Baseball Almanac:

Rank Year Name Team League Games

1.

1941

Joe DiMaggio (AL Record)

New York

AL 56

2.

1896-1897

Willie Keeler (NL Record)

Baltimore

NL 45

3.

1978

Pete Rose

Cincinnati

NL 44

4.

1894

Bill Dahlen

Chicago

NL 42

5.

1922

George Sisler

St. Louis

AL 41

6.

1911

Ty Cobb

Detroit

AL 40

7.

1987

Paul Molitor

Milwaukee

AL 39

8.

2005-2006

Jimmy Rollins

Philadelphia NL 38

9.

1945

Tommy Holmes

Boston

NL 37
10. 1896-1897 Gene DeMontreville Washington NL 36

11.

1895

Fred Clarke

Louisville

NL 35

1917

Ty Cobb

Detroit

AL 35
1924-1925 George Sisler St. Louis AL 35

2002

Luis Castillo

Florida

NL 35
2006 Chase Utley Philadelphia NL 35

16.

1938

George McQuinn

St. Louis

AL 34

1949

Dom DiMaggio

Boston

AL 34

1987

Benito Santiago

San Diego

NL 34

19.

1893

George Davis

New York

NL 33

1907

Hal Chase

New York

AL 33

1922

Rogers Hornsby

St. Louis

NL 33

1933

Heinie Manush

Washington

AL 33
23. 1922-1923 Harry Heilmann Detroit AL 32
1996-1997 Hal Morris Cincinnati NL 32
25. 1885-1886 Jimmy Wolf Louisville AA 31

1899

Ed Delahanty

Philadelphia

NL 31

1906

Nap Lajoie

Cleveland

AL 31

1924

Sam Rice

Washington

AL 31
1965-1966 Vada Pinson Cincinnati NL 31

1969

Willie Davis

Los Angeles

NL 31

1970

Rico Carty

Atlanta

NL 31
1975-1976 Ron LeFlore Detroit AL 31

1980

Ken Landreaux

Minnesota

AL 31
1999 Vladimir Guerrero Montreal NL 31

2011

Dan Uggla

Atlanta

NL 31

By Jeff Schultz

90 comments Add your comment

ansel

August 12th, 2011
10:59 am

jebbery

August 12th, 2011
11:08 am

@Jeff I was just reading an article on Yahoo.com about Atlanta fans being apathetic, because they don’t want to spend $50 a seat plus $20 parking plus $15 for a hot dog and a Coke to sit in the nosebleeds at Philips to watch a mediocre Hawks team halfass it up and down the court. The only sprinting Joe Johnson does is to his Lamborghini in the parking lot after the game..

Oops, wrong thread…It’s great to see Dan succeed in an Atlanta uniform! Let’s go Braves…

Chief Nocahoma

August 12th, 2011
11:11 am

Keep up the good work Dan! I believe in you.

ATL Fan

August 12th, 2011
11:12 am

Make that 33, Ty Cobb did it twice.

ATL Fan

August 12th, 2011
11:14 am

How about the turnaround the Falcons had after the Vick/Patrino debacle.

BlueDAr

August 12th, 2011
11:22 am

MORE IMPROBABLE STORY THAN BOBBY JONES???

Blangadanger

August 12th, 2011
11:23 am

I agree with ATL Fan. The 2007 Falcons were an absolute disaster, but somehow the franchise rose to prominence the very next season with a bunch of new faces. It was a turnaround no one expected, and it will be remembered in Atlanta for many years (like the 1991 Braves turnaround).

Jason

August 12th, 2011
11:25 am

How about Smoltz in 1991:

First half (18 starts): 2-11, 5.16 ERA, 1.467 WHIP
Second half (18 starts): 12-2, 2.63 ERA, 1.030 WHIP

Larry

August 12th, 2011
11:26 am

Perhaps the only thing more surprising is Vladimir Guerrero on this list!

Jeff Schultz

August 12th, 2011
11:28 am

Jason — had a few folks on Twitter bring up Smoltz. That is a great one.Of course, it turned out to be the start of what almost certainly will be a Hall of Fame career.

We're Going Streaking!

August 12th, 2011
11:34 am

Interesting note that IF (and obviously a HUGE if) Uggla is closing in on the record, hit 55,56,57 would happen against Philly.

Jeff Schultz

August 12th, 2011
11:35 am

Jebbery — When it comes to reading apathetic fan stories, I’m apathetic.

Jeff Schultz

August 12th, 2011
11:36 am

ATL Fan — “Make that 33, Ty Cobb did it twice.” …. That’s true, but Cobb had multiple personalities (none of them good).

Jeff Schultz

August 12th, 2011
11:36 am

BlueDAr — Bobby Jones? He play for the Flames?

Jeff Schultz

August 12th, 2011
11:37 am

Larry — Hah, yeah there was a time when Vlad was pretty good.

Joycee Banicheck

August 12th, 2011
11:38 am

No Jeffy, you are just pathetic…

A Hit..

August 12th, 2011
11:41 am

San Fran will sweep em in the wild card anyway…… Yawn….

Larry

August 12th, 2011
11:42 am

Jeff,

Oh certainly Vlad has been good–and often very good–but it is his swing at anything hitting style that I’m stunned could connect for 31 consecutive games!

A Hit..

August 12th, 2011
11:45 am

Why does the AJC keep CLOSING MC’s BLOGS DOWN..MEAN WHILE YOURS AND Bradley’s STAYS UP.

Are u part of some club that MC’s not? Probably……

Hey note to Bradley, yawn…….

Fols

August 12th, 2011
11:46 am

San Fran isn’t going to be in the WC game, they’ll be on their couch. Have you seen them lately? We have a 4 game sweep coming up next week. Their wives will be happy, they can start vacation plans earlier than last year.

retired

August 12th, 2011
11:46 am

way too early to think about Joe D’s record. Just enjoy the streak and when he hits in 40 straight start talkin’ Rose and Willie Keeler. then bring up Joe D. Just sayin’.

Heb11:1

August 12th, 2011
11:54 am

With all due respect, Jeff, Uggla is an accomplished big-league hitter. It’s not a surprise that he’s performing this well. He was known for streakiness before he got here.

Sonny Clusters

August 12th, 2011
11:55 am

We think so. Dan Uggla still is not caught up on all the balls he swung at and missed from earlier in the season. We think he still has good odds to get more hits. We just hope it doesn’t end all at once. We remember when he’d swing and miss and end up on the other side of the batter’s box. Right now, he looks a lot like us at the plate and that’s very good. We was state championship, remember.

Joey

August 12th, 2011
11:55 am

Streak notwithstanding, I’m just glad that the hardworking , team-oriented Uggla turned his season around.

I remember that pic of him on the bench, with his head in his hands, just agonizing, and I’m just glad I am one of the fans who didn’t trash him.

Go Braves.

Dennis Reynolds

August 12th, 2011
11:56 am

He really needed something like this to get the fans of Atlanta on his side. I knew he’d get out of his funk eventually, but I never expected a 30 gm hit streak..

Ted Striker

August 12th, 2011
12:01 pm

I invoke the name of Roy Hobbs.

John

August 12th, 2011
12:03 pm

How is Vladimir Guerrero surprising? He was a top 5 hitter in the league for nearly a decade. He even was solid last season for the Rangers at DH. Benito Santiago is more surprising than about anyone on the list.

John

August 12th, 2011
12:05 pm

I just went to look at his stats because I was curious. Guerrero has HOF numbers in my opinion. He had 115 RBIs last season.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/guerrvl01.shtml

John

August 12th, 2011
12:07 pm

Vlad — .317 BA, 445 HR, 1469 RBI, 2529 hits.

Marteen is a Ballplayer

August 12th, 2011
12:10 pm

I am not typically superstitious, but we better not have Bobby Cox night followed by the Cubs shutting us out 10 – 0 and Uggla’s hitting streak come to an end in front of what is sure to be a sell-out crowd. We need some of that old “good” Braves magic tonight.

Marteen is a Ballplayer

August 12th, 2011
12:13 pm

Schultzie I love ya, but I get goose-bumps whenever you or Mark bring up something like the hitting streak…it is like a no-hitter, you just pretend it isn’t happening. I think it was Joe Simpson last night discussing the Braves Big 3 not giving up a run in a combined 45 innings. Well, the next inning a ball went flying into left field and that streak ended. Don’t mess with the baseball gods!!!

bourntobeabrave

August 12th, 2011
12:17 pm

it’s either this story or the 1991 braves. if dan uggla gets up to 33 games, we are talking about some SERIOUS history folks…..look at those players.

but, the biggest story is this guy’s heart. keep in mind, he grew up in TN and has always wanted to be an Atlanta Brave. then he comes to atlanta, struggles, and starts hearing boos at turner field…fast forward to now where he is the toast of the city and loved by all. great story indeed.

keep it going dan!

chatt matt

August 12th, 2011
12:19 pm

Ty Cobb was a great american hero just like Pete Rose.

chatt matt

August 12th, 2011
12:21 pm

Just Joking.

gene

August 12th, 2011
12:23 pm

One of the most improbable, and dare I say, expensive turnarounds in sports history. In any event, I’m elated that Uggla has made such a come back from such a horrific start. Keep it up, Dan!

iTiSi

August 12th, 2011
12:24 pm

His new nickname is “H’UGGS” for obvious reasons and I think we need to start calling him that. I am beginning to get worried about him and FF. Those hugs are getting longer and longer and I swear I thought I saw a “cheek kiss” the other night. Anybody else catch that? You just know the other teams are gonna start talking!

JSS

August 12th, 2011
12:29 pm

@ John…
He’ll let the myth get in the way of the truth every time… Vladimir was the best bad pitch hitter since Clemente and Carty By the way, I was not pointing that statement at Jeff Schultz…

Hankie Aron

August 12th, 2011
12:38 pm

My afternoon is always better after reading Sonny Clusters posts

Puma

August 12th, 2011
12:39 pm

I don’t like those streaks that span 2 seasons, its just not the same thing, impressive, but just not the same. I think DiMaggio’s record really comes into focus when you see how hard its been for Uggs to get to 31. I think some else mentioned on another blog that DiMaggio ended up hitting in 72 of 73 games after his streak ended…amazing.

I am pulling for you Dan, but not sure you belong too high on that list given the names on there.

Hankie Aron

August 12th, 2011
12:41 pm

I remember all of the morons on here talking about trading Uggla, sending him to the minors. Remember Schultzie? Folks if you are a GM you have to be mindful of the big picture. Thank GOD Wren doesn’t read blog posts from people who call themself Ken Oberfell’s arm pit or Andres Thomas gerrycurl

Hankie Aron

August 12th, 2011
12:44 pm

BTW, I love that Martin Prado commercial with him doing all those jobs. A classy ad for a classy player

Hankie Aron

August 12th, 2011
12:47 pm

You have to be proud to be an Braves fan. If only we could get Halladay, Hamels, and Cliff Lee to cheat on their wives………..then we might catch the Fightins

Booyah

August 12th, 2011
12:55 pm

Booyah says don’t pull a Chip Caray and jinx Uggla dude… you should know better. It is on yoy if he ever goes hitless again…

DC Brave

August 12th, 2011
12:58 pm

Pretty impressive streak. Keep it going Dan.

On the question of surprising Atlanta sports story lines . . .

The ‘91 Braves were were 2 back of the Dodgers with 9 games to play, including, 6 on the road. They reeled off 8 straight wins–including beating the Reds 7-6 in Cincy after trailing 6-0 and then taking the first two from the Astros in Atlanta and won the division with a game to spare. Certainly, getting to the series in ‘91 was HUGE, but after the run of miserable seasons from ‘84 through ‘90, that late season charge to catch the Dodgers is one of my favorite and most unexpected events in Atlanta sports history.

Also, the Falcons winning IN Minnesota in ‘98 is right up there in terms of surprise.

Sid

August 12th, 2011
1:24 pm

“1992: Francisco Cabrera’s two-out, ninth-inning pinch hit off Pittsburgh’s Stan Belinda knocks in David Justice and a sliding Sid Bream for the tying and winning runs in Game 7 of the NLCS. This is one of the single-most memorable moments in Atlanta sports history and the closest thing I could think of to Uggla’s achievement”

Not even close………..Personal achievement vs team achievement! Can you spell Hank Aaron?
I love this streak by Uggla, the man is all ballplayer. But you know eventually shamefully some pitcher will not give him anything to hit and he will go hitless. Who knows, game 32, game 40, game 55…………but no pitcher will let him break JD’s record on him.

Ted M

August 12th, 2011
1:24 pm

Sid

August 12th, 2011
1:26 pm

And I am still pissed at the ump who called Gant out when Hrbek lifted him off first base. F’n Twin luvin’ umpire……………!!!

gcs

August 12th, 2011
1:29 pm

Worth noting: if you have been watching the Braves over the last 31 games, you will know that Uggla has been smashing the ball. There haven’t been any cheapies, no dribblers or “Rick Flairs”.

I saw this stat: during Uggla’s streak he has hit 12 home runs. During DiMaggio’s 56-game streak he hit 15 home runs.

Abnerish

August 12th, 2011
1:31 pm

Anyone know what DiMaggio’s next best hit streak was? Curious to see how freakish his 56 game truly was…

Mark's for the Braves

August 12th, 2011
1:32 pm

Great memories, DC Brave. I remember when the Braves caught LA after trailing them by 9 games at the All-Star break, too. Remember how Darrell Strawberry made snide remarks about “the Braves not having a chance to catch us, who are the Braves?” They showed him and Lasorda who was boss that year. Remember that Cincy 7-6 come from behind win, too. Justice had a huge hit in that game.

Should have won the WS that year had Hrbek not pulled Gant’s foot off the first base bag for a crucial rally killing out (plus Lonnie Smith’s being “deked” and not scoring the winning run in the top of the 9th against Jack Morris and the evil Twins.

Never forget that winning FG over the Vikings in the 98 playoffs too. Biggest win in Falcons history.