As of Sunday, Paul Molitor was two thirds of the way there. With a single in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals in Milwaukee, the Brewers star had extended his consecutive-game hitting streak to 38, the fifth longest in baseball history. The signposts up ahead read TY COBB 40, GEORGE SISLER 41, PETE ROSE 44, JOE DIMAGGIO 56.
Actually Molitor did pass a DiMaggio—Dom, at 34—last week. With a third-inning bunt single on Monday (32), a sixth-inning infield hit on Tuesday (33), a fourth-inning homer on Wednesday (34) and a second-inning double on Thursday (35), Molitor made it through Cleveland, where Joe D's 1941 streak went aground. Interestingly enough, Brewers batboy Ken Keltner is the grandson of Ken Keltner, the Indian third baseman who personally stopped DiMaggio with two great plays.
Back home on Friday, Molitor hit a fourth-inning double for No. 36. With a first-inning single on his 31st birthday on Saturday, he tied Tommy Holmes, who had a 37-game streak for the '45 Boston Braves. After he passed Holmes on Sunday, Molitor said, "It's nicer the higher you go, naturally. But when you talk about 38 in comparison to what the record is, it's really not that significant."
Ah, but it is. Molitor has already mounted the second-best streak (behind Rose's in '78) since DiMaggio's. As reliever Dan Plesac tells Molitor after every game, "The beat goes on."