We take a look back at Willy Taveras’ 30-game hit streak for the Houston Astros.
If you asked a random Houston Astros fan who holds the longest hitting streak in team history, some might say Jose Altuve or Craig Biggio. But for those who have good memories and paid attention in the mid-2000s, they’ll know it was center fielder Willy Taveras.
The slap-hitting speedster logged a 30-game hit streak during the 2006 season, eclipsing the previous franchise record set by Jeff Kent in 2004 with his 25-game streak. Taveras wasn’t having a great season when he started his streak, and it came to a somewhat unceremonious end. But it got everyone’s attention for a while.
This would also be his final season in Houston. The Astros traded Taveras to Colorado in the Jason Jennings deal prior to the 2007 season, and he would go on to lead the league in stolen bases in 2008. But this was a way of ending his tenure on a high note. Here are some interesting facts and figures from that notable 30-game streak.
Facts and Figures
The hit streak actually started with a pinch-hit appearance. Taveras notched an RBI single in an 8-4 loss to Cincinnati on July 27. That was the fourth time he’d been used as a pinch hitter in his last five games, as he’d been slumping at the plate and wasn’t starting every day. But July 27 was the last time he was used as a pinch hitter for the rest of the season.
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For the duration of the streak, he was 45-for-128, or a .352 batting average. Of those 45 hits, only seven went for extra bases (five doubles, one triple and one homer). He stole 14 bases in that span, meaning he had twice as many steals as he did extra-base hits. He had only one hit in 18 of those 30 games.
Taveras went hitless in 11 consecutive at-bats during the streak, but still managed to keep it going. On Aug. 15, he singled in his first at-bat, but that was his only hit in an 18-inning affair. He was 1-for-9 on the day. He then went hitless in his first three at-bats the next day before reaching with a bunt single.
The Astros were 48-53 prior to the streak beginning. After the streak’s final game, they were 63-68, meaning they played exactly .500 baseball over those 30 games. Taveras was hitting .258/.307/.312 coming into the streak’s first game. After its final day, he was up to .284/.335/.345 for the season.
The streak ended in controversial fashion. Taveras went 0-for-3 against the Brewers on Aug. 29, but he went to the plate five times. Milwaukee’s starter, Tomo Ohka, plunked Taveras twice, once to lead off the game and again to end his outing in the seventh. The fans at Minute Maid Park were not pleased.
Nonetheless, the streak was impressive. Taveras’ streak is one of 57 hitting streaks of 30 games or longer in major league history, and he’s the only one to do it in a Houston uniform. It might not have been the most impressive of the streaks, but a hit’s a hit.