Nats Nightly: Nationals' OF Denard Span's Hit Streak's Place In D.C. Baseball History

Greg Fiume

Denard Span extended his hit streak to 26 games with a hit in this afternoon's 11-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. So where does the Washington Nationals' center fielder's hit streak rank in D.C. baseball history? It's actually the fifth-longest by a D.C.-based player.

Eugene Napoleon "Gene" DeMontreville is recognized by Major League Baseball as holding the 10th longest hit streak in baseball history. Over two seasons, at the end of 1896 and the start of the 1897 campaign, the then 23-24-year-old infielder connected for hits in 36 straight games. Only nine players in baseball history have longer hit streaks than the St. Paul, Minnesota-born DeMontreville.

"He's had a hitting streak, but his on-base percentage is off the charts." - Davey Johnson on Denard Span's hit streak

In the so-called "modern era" of the game (1900-present) the D.C.-based player with the longest hit streak is Heinie Manush, who collected hits in 33 straight games in 1933. The then 31-year-old Manush, in his third year with the Washington Senators following a June 1930 trade from the St. Louis Browns, started his streak with a 1 for 3 game against the Detroit Tigers on July 22nd and hit in 33 straight before going 0 for 5 in an August 26th game against Cleveland.

Over the course of his hit streak, Manush was 50 for 152 (.362/.413/.486) with three doubles, four triples and two home runs. The last two games of his streak lifted Manush over Sam Rice, whose 31-game hit streak in 1924 had been the modern era's longest by a Washington, D.C.-based player before 1933. Rice, who was 34 at the time and in his 10th MLB season, started his hit streak on August 23rd 1924 with a 2 for 4 game against the Chicago White Sox and ended it in a September 24th game against the same Sox. On September 25th he went 0 for 4 against the Boston Red Sox.

Over Rice's 31-game streak, he was 53 for 132 (.402/.448/.500) with 11 doubles and a triple in 148 PAs. Seven years passed before Manush beat Rice's modern era record, but it would be 76 years until another D.C.-based ballplayer got to 30 games. Ryan Zimmerman hit in 30 straight in 2009. The Nationals' '05 1st Round pick was 24 years old in 2009 when he started his streak in the third game of the season on April 8th. Over the next 30 games, the Nats' third baseman was 50 for 131 (.382/.427/.649) with 11 doubles and eight home runs in 143 PAs. Zimmerman's streak ended with an 0 for 3 game against the San Francisco Giants on May 13th.

Denard Span's 2 for 5 game Sunday afternoon in the nation's capital gave him hits in 26 straight games. He's still four games away from tying the record by the third Washington, D.C.-based team. Span's now 43 for 111 (.387 AVG) with five doubles, two triples and two home runs over the course of his 26-game hit streak.

We talked about Span's hit streak, the longest hit streak in D.C. baseball history and more in Sunday afternoon's edition of Nats Nightly with the District Sports Page's Dave Nichols and Federal Baseball's Doghouse:

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