Everyone knows the Chicago Cubs own the most embarrassing streak in pro sports — 104 years without a championship and counting. But it is not until nights like Tuesday that we are reminded the Cubs also own the coolest streak in pro sports — 7,441 consecutive games with a hit and counting.
That streak looked to be in jeopardy as Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett took a no-hitter two outs into the eighth inning Tuesday night, but rookie pinch hitter Adrian Cardenas broke it up with a hit to right field.
It’s not the first time an unknown rookie kept the streak going. Jimmy Qualls’ one-out single in the top of the ninth on July 9, 1969 broke up Tom Seaver’s attempt at a perfect game, and it was not until this year that the Mets finally picked up their first no-hitter in the form of Johan Santana.
The Cubs haven’t gone hitless since Sept. 9, 1965 when Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game. Perhaps the only thing better than the streak is the fact the greatest lefty in baseball history is the last person to do it, which adds a hell of a lot more allure than getting no-hit by, say, Phil Humber.
Oddly enough, had Burnett finished off the no-no — which was actually a much better-pitched performance than his 2001 no-hitter with the Marlins in which he walked nine — it would have given the Pirates the longest current hitting streak in baseball. Despite having some woeful teams in the last two decades, Pittsburgh has not been no-hit since Bob Gibson did it on Aug. 14, 1971.
These are the kinds of things that make me understand why Tim Kurkijan is always flipping out about how great baseball is. Somehow the two teams that have gone the longest without getting no-hit are the one that’s gone a century without a World Series and the one that has finished under .500 for 20 years straight.
Let’s see you pull that one off, Yankees.