Monday, June 18, 2007

Minor Masterpiece

I was excited when I drove into work today, which is odd because it's Monday, the first day of a five-day work week. But there was a story that I had been following for a few weeks now and it finally culminated last night in Ottawa, of all places. The story is about a 25-year old Columbus Clipper (International League, AAA-affiliate of the Washington Nationals, which, as I've remarked previously, is a tad redundant) named Brandon Watson, who hit safely in his 43rd straight game last night, a 9-8 loss against the Ottawa Lynx. 43 may seem like an arbitrary number but in the IL, it has been the gold standard 95 years. The last time a player hit in that many consecutive games was 1912, by long Jack Lelivelt, who played in the IL for the Rochester Hustlers.

The major league record, as we're all aware, is 56-games set in 1941 by Joe DiMaggio who, coincidentally, holds the Pacific Coast League (PCL) record at 61 games. The all-time minor league record is an astounding 69 (chuckles) game streak hit in 1919 by Joe Wilhoit in the Western League. So Mr. Watson does have some distance to travel before the big comparisons can be made to these big streaks, but think about this for a second: it took 95 years for someone to hit in one extra game and get to 43 consecutive. The only other player in the IL that is close was Bill Sweeney in 1935 with a 36-game streak. In 95 years, only one other player has come within 5 games of the record before Watson broke it yesterday. That's pretty astounding stuff.

Naturally the major media outlets are going nuts over this (the 11-line AP blurb has is just wonderful and the hometown Columbus Dispatch also covered it) but I think it deserves more credit than it is getting. And on a slow news day, breaking a 95-year old record is absolutely worth mentioning, if not celebrating.

Congrats to Columbus Clipper Brandon Watson. Keep up the good work.

(GOCM: Dan Shanoff mentioned this first, so I'll give him credit for the scoop. Which is pathetic, since I live in Columbus and the Clippers hardly keep the attention of the fans in the stadium, never mind anyone outside of our sordid little burgh.)

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