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Mookie Betts Strikes Out; Dave Cash’s Streak Still MLB Record

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Mookie Betts’ impressive run of official at bats without striking out ended Wednesday night in Toronto.

Francisco Liriano struck out the Red Sox’ star and Betts’ strikeout-less streak was halted at 129. It dated back to September 12 of last season, and in case you’re keeping track, that’s MLB regular season at bats. Betts did whiff in last year’s playoffs.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies
CLEARWATER, FL – MARCH 6: Dave Cash throws out a ceremonial first pitch before the Philadelphia Phillies play against the Washington Nationals March 6, 2013 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Impressive as it is, it’s far shy of the modern era record, MLB.com reported:

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the longest streak in the Expansion Era (since 1961) for plate appearances without a strikeout is 223 plate appearances by Philadelphia’s Dave Cash in 1976.

That’s Utica, NY native and Proctor High School graduate Dave Cash.

Cash was a second baseman who played a dozen MLB seasons in the ’70s with the Pirates, Phillies, Expos and Padres. And he was a contact hitter to say the least. His aversion to the strikeout was remarkable, especially by today’s standards.

Cash had at least 650 at bats in the fives seasons between 1974 and 1978. He never struck out more than 34 times in any of those years.

In fact, his career high in strikeouts was just 36.

The year he set the record he only K’d 13 times…in 666 at bats!

And, Cash not only put it in play, he hit. A career .283 average who batted over .300 four times.

In today’s game, two of the most prolific contact hitters that popped into my head were Ichiro Suzuki and Juan Pierre.

Suzuki has struck out 60, 70 and more than 80 times in a season. Last year he had the fewest in his career – 42.  Pierre, now retired, averaged about 40 strikeouts per season over his 14-year career. He never had less than 29 in any season with a minimum of 660 at bats (per BaseballReference.com).

Ironcically, MLB.com also noted that Betts recent streak was the longest since Pierre’s (147 at bats) in 2004.

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