My favorite e-mail came with the subject line, “Yo Poophead.”
It then went on to say, “I know why your article on DiMaggio’s streak was on page five. It stunk! . . . I challenge you to try and get a hit everyday . . . I will drag my 60 year old ass out to pitch to you.”
That was one of the responses to the first By the Numbers column of the year, one in which I argued that Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak is overrated. You can read it here.
As to the e-mail: I didn’t say I could get a hit in 56 straight major-league games. I said it’s not as big a deal as it’s made out to be. Whether or not I can do it is beside the point, don’t you think? I can’t play baseball as well as Willie Bloomquist, but he’s still a lousy major-league player.
Some other responses, either by e-mail or comments on the story, along with my thinking in italics:
“Your assertion that his record is overrated?? If it was so, it would have been broken and rewritten many times over in the 70 years since. 70 years!”
Well, Earl Webb hit a record 67 doubles in 1931. Nobody has approached that mark for 80 years. 80 years! Clearly it’s 14 percent more impressive than DiMaggio’s hit streak. Or how about Owen Wilson? He hit 36 triples in 1912. Nobody has approached that for 99 years. 99 years!
“Didn’t Joe lead off, followed by Gehrig and Ruth?”
Well, no. No he didn’t. He didn’t lead off, he never played with Ruth, and Gehrig was dead by the time DiMaggio’s streak ended.
“No matter how you or anyone wants to slight DiMaggio’s feat, the undeniable fact is the record still stands after 70 years and THOUSANDS of players who have been in the game.”
Yes, that is undeniable. It’s also undeniable that Hugh Duffy batted .440 in 1894. Why isn’t that record more revered?
“I challenge you to even come close in anything in life you do.”
I accept that challenge. And for my first feat I will write coherent sentences.
“Jolting Joe did it without DRUGS, yes he was very much for JOE, but Ted Williams was also.”
I’m sure JOE was proud to know that Ted Williams was also for JOE.
“joltin joe’s streak is one of the greatest records in all of sport . . . you assertation that it is over-rated is hilarious . . . what’s next brett favre’s and cal ripken’s consecutive games played streaks are over-rated too? eugene journalism at it’s finest”
That would be a ridiculous assertation. Fortunately, it was simply as assertion. As for this eugene to which you refer, my name is Greg. But I’m sure eugene is honored by the comparison.
There also were plenty of responses agreeing with the column. But these ones were more fun.