Rollins has eye on history
Shortstop enters 2006 season with 36-game hitting streak
PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins shopped and shopped for his mother's birthday and finally decided on the ideal present.Gigi Rollins celebrates her big day April 26, and her son hopes to give her the ultimate gift, breaking Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak. Rollins closed the 2005 season a with a hit in 36 consecutive contests. "That would be real nice," he said. "I'd like to get it done, especially with that added factor. But I have to get a hit on the first day, then the next day, until I get close. Hopefully, I'll never stop." If he succeeds, Rollins will be recognized as the holder of the longest hitting streak in Major League history, though DiMaggio will keep the single-season mark. Much has been written about Rollins' streak during the hibernating months: It's the ninth-longest in history, sixth-longest since 1900, longest ever by a shortstop, second-longest by a switch-hitter. It's impressive no matter how you look at it, but it has to continue for another 21 games for it to be really, really impressive. "I know. I don't even think about it. It's too big of a number," Rollins said. "It really is. You feel different from day-to-day, pitch-by-pitch. You have to find out what's working for you that day because sometimes you have to get away from what you want to do to what the pitchers are allowing you to do." From doubling off Brian Cooper on Aug. 23 to singling off Hector Carrasco on Oct. 2, Rollins has found something that's worked for 36 straight games. His chase has brought him a lot of media attention and much debate about which streak would be more impressive -- doing it over one season or two? It doesn't matter to Rollins, who's had some fun with the attention. He recently re-created a DiMaggio photograph from 1941. The Yankee Clipper is pictured among bats that form the number 45, taken when he broke the previous single-season streak, set by Willie Keeler in 1897. Rollins stood with bats that formed the number 36. "It was fun," Rollins said. "It's a Hall of Fame photo, and that's where I want to be." While hitting in 56 straight games would help Rollins get there, St. Louis' Chris Carpenter and his 1.01 Grapefruit League ERA aren't going to make that easy. Neither will Rollins' .227 batting average over the past two Aprils.
All-time Consecutive Game Hitting Streaks
|Jimmy Rollins enters the 2006 season chasing history.|
|56||Joe DiMaggio||NY Yankees||1941|
|52||Denny Lyons||Philadelphia A's||1887|
|44||Pete Rose||Cincinnati Reds||1978|
|44||Willie Keeler||Baltimore Orioles||1897|
|42||Bill Dahlen||Chicago Cubs||1894|
|41||George Sisler||St. Louis Browns||1922|
|40||Ty Cobb||Detroit Tigers||1911|
|39||Paul Molitor||Milwaukee Brewers||1987|
|37||Tommy Holmes||Boston Braves||1945|
|36||Jimmy Rollins||Philadelphia Phillies||2005|
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.