Nationals center fielder Denard Span extended his hitting streak to 28 games Tuesday night, breaking a tie with the Rockies’ Michael Cuddyer for the longest streak of the season. What’s remarkable about Span’s mark is where he was when it began: He was batting .258 and on pace for the worst statistical season of his career. Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Braves, his average had improved to .283 (thanks to his batting .378 during the streak). The Nationals acquired Span in the offseason to be the reliable leadoff hitter the club had missed in recent years. Over the past month, he has lived up to that role, with 45 hits and 19 runs. Joe DiMaggio has the longest hitting streak in baseball history at 56 games and no one has even gotten within 10 of that mark. Thus, reaching 30 consecutive games is considered quite an accomplishment. This feat has been reached by four Washington ball players in baseball history. Here’s how those streaks compare to Span’s.
Ryan Zimmerman – 2009 (30 games)
Zimmerman became the seventh hitter in the majors to reach the 30-game threshold in the 2000s. His run began with the third game of the 2009 season and stretched over the next 30 days. The Nationals went 11-19 during Zimmerman’s streak, which ended on May 13, 2009, in a 6-3 win over the Giants.
Sam Rice- 1924 (31 games); 1929-30 (30 games)
Rice, an outfielder for the Washington Senators, had a 31-game streak that came late in the 1924 season. He reached the 30-game mark again in 1930, with a streak that began with the last two games of the 1929 season. Rice, Ty Cobb and George Sisler are the only players with multiple 30-game hitting streaks.
Heinie Manush – 1933 (33 games)
Manush had two lengthy hitting streaks for the Senators in the 1933 season. The first was a 26-game one during the middle of the season. The second saw Manush record a hit in 33 consecutive games, beginning on July 22 against the Detroit Tigers. The streak ended against the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 26.
Gene DeMontreville – 1896-97 (36 games)
DeMontreville holds the record for longest hitting streak by anyone who’s played baseball in Washington. DeMontreville, a second baseman and shortstop for the Senators, began his hitting streak at the end of the 1896 season and carried it over into 1897 for a total of 36 consecutive games. This mark ranks 10th-best in MLB history.