The Reuters global sports blog
Zimmerman streak sets statisticians scrambling
Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been wielding a hot bat that has him more than halfway to Major League Baseball’s 56-game hitting-streak record, set by Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees in 1941.
Zimmerman’s streak with a hit in each game reached 29 on Monday, and the pressure has not even begun to ratchet up on the young slugger, who signed a lucrative contract extension with the Nats last month.
He can rest easy about one thing, however. His hot streak has improved his odds versus those of being struck by lighting.
San Diego State University professor and statistician Jim Lackritz estimated Zimmerman’s chances from this point of tying the Yankee Clipper at 1 in 414, or .0024 for you math geeks. To break DiMaggio’s record, the odds are 1 in 517, or .0019.
According to the National Weather Service, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are 1 in 700,000.
Zimmerman has already improved his chances vastly as the odds before this streak began stood at 1 in almost 10 million, Lackritz said. “Basically, this is the toughest record in sports to break,” the professor said.
If Zimmerman can extend his streak to say 40 games, the odds are 1 in 35 to tie and 1 in 45 to set a new record, Lackritz said. However, that doesn’t even factor in the pressure the young hitter will be under with the media watching his every step. The longest hitting streak in National League history is 44 games by Peter Rose in 1978 and Wee Willie Keeler in 1897.
Good luck, Ryan! At least you don’t have to worry as much about ominous storm clouds now.