Definitions

Consecutive games

MLB consecutive games played streaks

Listed below are the 15 longest consecutive games played streaks in Major League Baseball history.

Rank Name # First game Last game
1. Cal Ripken, Jr. 2632 May 30, 1982 September 19, 1998
2. Lou Gehrig 2130 June 1, 1925 April 30, 1939
3. Everett Scott 1307 June 20, 1916 May 5, 1925
4. Steve Garvey 1207 September 3, 1975 July 29, 1983
5. Miguel Tejada 1152 June 2, 2000 June 21, 2007
6. Billy Williams 1117 September 22, 1963 September 2, 1970
7. Joe Sewell 1103 September 13, 1922 April 30, 1930
8. Stan Musial 895 April 15, 1952 August 22, 1957
9. Eddie Yost 829 August 30, 1949 May 11, 1955
10. Gus Suhr 822 September 11, 1931 June 4, 1937
11. Nellie Fox 798 August 7, 1955 September 3, 1960
12. Pete Rose 745 September 1, 1978 August 23, 1983
13. Dale Murphy 740 September 26, 1981 July 8, 1986
14. Richie Ashburn 730 June 7, 1950 September 26, 1954
15. Ernie Banks 717 August 26, 1956 June 22, 1961

Notes

  • On June 20, 2007, Doug Brocail hit Miguel Tejada on the wrist with a pitch. During the game on June 21, Tejada took an at-bat in the top half of the first inning, making an unsuccessful attempt to bunt the ball resulting in a fielder's choice. He was removed from the game for a pinch runner, officially keeping the streak alive. Tejada was diagnosed with a broken wrist and went to the disabled list, ending his streak at 1,152 games.
  • Hideki Matsui assembled a professional baseball consecutive games streak of 1,768 games combined, between the Japanese league Yomiuri Giants and the Major league New York Yankees, playing 518 games consecutively in the majors. Matsui's 518 games represent a record for consecutive games to start a player's big-league career. The entire combined streak stretched from August 22, 1993- May 10, 2006 and was ended by a wrist injury in what would have been his 519th consecutive game. The major league portion of the streak extended from March 31, 2003 (opening day) until May 10, 2006. (For more on Matsui, see note below on MLB rule).
  • Ripken says that the closest he ever came to not playing during his streak was the day after he twisted his knee during a bench-clearing brawl against the Seattle Mariners in June 1993. From June 5, 1982 to September 14, 1987, Ripken played 8,243 consecutive innings, which is believed to be a record, although not one that is officially kept by MLB. When the 1994-95 baseball player's strike threatened to destroy Ripken's streak after baseball owners planned to use replacement players, Baltimore owner Peter Angelos announced that the Orioles would rather not field a team than see Ripken's streak snapped. The strike was eventually settled without using replacements, and Ripken broke the record on September 6, 1995. Ripken himself made the decision not to play on September 20, 1998, the Orioles' last home game of the season. Rookie Ryan Minor played third base for Ripken in a 5-4 loss to the Yankees.
  • Lou Gehrig's streak started as a pinch-hitter. The next day he started at first base in place of slumping Wally Pipp (contrary to legend, Pipp did not have a headache), and stayed there for fourteen years.
  • On July 14, 1934, Gehrig, suffering from an attack of lumbago, was listed in the Yankee lineup at shortstop. He batted in the top of the first inning to preserve the streak, singled, and was promptly removed from the game.
  • Gehrig's streak was ended by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the disease that would take his life. His physical abilities rapidly declining, Gehrig told manager Joe McCarthy to take him out of the lineup on May 2, 1939. He never played again, dying in 1941.
  • Garvey's all-time National League record is less than half the length of Ripken's. His streak was ended when he dislocated his thumb in a home plate collision against the Atlanta Braves.
  • Ripken, Gehrig, Williams, Sewell, Musial, Fox, Ashburn, and Banks are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • MLB's rule 10.23(c), defining consecutive game streaks, is as follows: "A consecutive game playing streak shall be extended if the player plays one half inning on defense, or if he completes a time at bat by reaching base or being put out. A pinch running appearance only shall not extend the streak. If a player is ejected from a game by an umpire before he can comply with the requirements of this rule, his streak shall continue." This peculiar rule means that a pinch-runner can come into a game, steal a base, get caught stealing, and even score a run, but still will not be credited with a (consecutive) game played if he does not stay in the game afterward. Similarly, a player can take the field and contribute to the game in many ways--field a ball in play, make a putout, make an assist, commit an error--but is not credited with a (consecutive) game played if he does not play an entire half inning. For example, Hideki Matsui's consecutive games streak (see above) was ended when he broke his wrist diving for a ball with two outs in the first inning of the Yankee game of May 11, 2006. That game would have been #519 and #1,769 in his MLB and MLB/Japan game streaks, but since Matsui did not play a full half inning on defense, that game is not counted in his streak. MLB and the Society for American Baseball Research both credit Matsui with having played 518 consecutive MLB games.
  • The player with the longest active streak was, as of August 16, 2008, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard with 237 games.

References

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