I've been hearing about Hernandez's streak for a few weeks, as I often tune into the Mariners' radio broadcasts. But I hadn't been keeping close tabe, and damned if this isn't incredibly impressive:
In case you didn't click, here's the list:
Felix Hernandez (16)
Gaylord Perry (15)
Randy Johnson (14)
Tom Seaver (13)
Tom Seaver (13)
Johnny Niggeling (13)
Mort Cooper (13)
Perry, Johnson, and Seaver twice ... and yet none of them -- or for that matter, Greg Maddux or Lefty Grove or Warren Spahn or Bob Gibson or Sandy Koufax or any of the other immortals -- has done what King Felix has done.
Niggeling's a special sort of case. His streak actually stretches across two seasons, as the Browns traded him to the Senators after the '43 season. In '44, Niggeling was one of four knuckleballers who anchored a rotation that nearly got the Nats into the World Series (we're still waiting).
Niggeling got some help from the wartime batters, but Cooper's streak came in 1942, when most of the best (white) hitters were still in the majors.
I'd have a tough time saying which streak was the most impressive. Hernandez obviously has the length, while Perry -- who went 14-0 in the 15 games -- has the wins and the innings. And Randy Johnson, whose streak came with the Diamondbacks rather than the Mariners, has the strikeouts.
This season, though, Hernandez is in a class of his own. And as Jeff Sullivan reported a few weeks ago, he's got his ever-improving changeup to thank. And, of course, himself for working so hard.