Miggy, Kinsler reflect on DiMaggio's hit streak

Miggy, Kinsler reflect on DiMaggio's hit streak

DETROIT -- On the 75th anniversary of the end of Joe DiMaggio's record hitting streak, the man with the Majors' most recent hitting feat doesn't believe anyone will ever be able to match it.

"Fifty-six games? No," Triple Crown winner and four-time batting champion Miguel Cabrera said, shaking his head.

When asked about the chances of another .400 season, also last accomplished 75 years ago by Ted Williams, Cabrera was slightly more optimistic.

"Maybe somebody like [Houston's Jose] Altuve could do that," Cabrera said. "He can run fast, he always puts the ball in [play]. And this year, he's hitting like .340 and he doesn't have too many infield hits. Think about it."

Cabrera wasn't the only one pondering it. It was an interesting debate in a generally quiet Tigers clubhouse Sunday morning.

Ian Kinsler sees DiMaggio's streak as the record that will survive the test of time.

Kinsler's two-run home run

"Hitting streak [is tougher], just because of all the pitching changes and matchups and all that," Kinsler said. "I think the real difficulty is just seeing three pitchers in a game, and Interleague Play, not knowing the pitchers as well as the guys that you play against in your division or in your league. I think that just makes it more difficult, and I really don't see it happening.

"... I think [DiMaggio] probably had a couple more days off than we have now, but it was still pretty much a grind for him and what those guys were doing at that time. I just think there's too many uncontrollable things now in a game. Guys are more athletic. Defenses are better. There's obviously more velocity. You're facing a guy coming in throwing 98 now, or 95-plus now, and you might face two of those guys in two of your at-bats. And if you draw a walk, you're basically looking at one at-bat that you possibly could have a chance to get a hit, if you want to look at it from a statistical standpoint. It's just difficult to hit. And for 56 games, I think, is really tough.

"I think we'll see a guy like Ichiro -- not necessarily like Ichiro, because there will never be another one of him -- but a guy from the left side with speed that's got a good eye that could possibly flirt with .400. I think both of them are extremely difficult, but if I had to pick one [tougher], I'd probably say 56 games."

Bullpen specializations, defensive shifts and travel demands have changed the game, without question. But interestingly, Cabrera thinks that wouldn't stop guys like DiMaggio and Williams. Talent then, he believes, is talent now.

"I think if [DiMaggio] played in this era, he'd do it," Cabrera said. "He was so good. DiMaggio and Ted Williams, I always think all the greats, they could play in that era or this era, no problem. Doesn't matter. That's what I think."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.