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A brief history: Cleveland Indians hitting streaks

Francisco Mejia is tearing it up in the minors, and Carlos Santana sits at 14 games. What are some of the other memorable hitting streaks in Indians history?

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Francisco Mejia notched a hit in last night's game between the Lynchburg Hillcats and the Wilmington Blue Rocks. For 36 consecutive games, Mejia has hit safely. According to Baseball Reference this ties him for the 22nd-longest hitting streak in Minor League History. This may or may not be true — box scores from the minors haven't always been well-reported, and the data from, say, 1919 might not be the most accurate. Regardless, Mejia's streak is a major accomplishment, and it is the longest hitting streak by a player in the Indians system in years.

What are some of the more recent or memorable hitting streaks by Indians players?

Right now - Carlos Santana, 14 games

It's still quite early to start calling this a serious hitting streak, but by the end of the week Santana could be the owner of one of the longest hitting streaks in a decade for the Indians. Since the streak began on June 30th, Santana has hit .350/.418/.650 with four homers and 21 total hits. Compare that to his season line — .257/.350/.493 — and it's clearly shaping up to be a tremendous July for the slugger. It's difficult for one player to carry an offense, however. Since the streak began the Indians are 7-7.

May-June 2012 - Michael Brantley, 22 games

While patrolling center field for the 2012 Indians, Brantley put up the longest hitting streak that the Indians have seen in the last ten years. This particular Indians team did not play baseball well. They finished at 68-94, and during the streak they stumbled to a 10-12 record. The offense isn't necessarily to blame for the team's performance, as Zach McAllister posted the best WHIP out of all the starters that season at 1.364. The worst belonged to Derek Lowe: 1.689, and only Justin Masterson posted a positive WAR. It would have taken a few more 20-game hit streaks from the offense in order to overcome that pitching staff.

May-June 2007 - Casey Blake, 26 games

Casey Blake played a number of different positions for the 2007 ballclub, but the end of the Andy Marte experiment at 3rd base turned him into a fixture at the hot corner. Blake took advantage of the opportunity and swatted .317/.413/.606 while leading the Tribe to 15 wins in that stretch. 2007 also marks the last time the Indians reached the ALCS.

May-July 1997 - Sandy Alomar Jr, 30 games

Alomar rode his hitting streak into the all-star game, conveniently hosted at Jacob's Field. During the streak Alomar hit .422/.455/.595, and he even pulled down the MVP award for the All-Star game by crushing a 2-run homer in the 7th inning. This season constitutes some of my earliest baseball memories; I can distinctly remember Alomar's streak and overall incredible season being the talk of baseball at the midway point. He failed to pick up a hit in the first game back from the break, but it wound up being Alomar's best season, anyway. He and the Tribe cruised to the World Series and, well, let's not talk about it.

1906 - Nap Lajoie, 31 (?!) games

This one is a little bit trickier to pin down. The statistics available for season prior to 1914 are a bit wonky, and often incomplete. It is now generally accepted that Najoie's 31 game streak is the record for the Indians, although for a time it was believed that Bill Bradley held the record at 29 games. Lajoie is one of the first great Cleveland Indians baseball players. He joined the team in 1902 while it was still named the Bronchos, but he became so popular that fans elected to rename the team the Cleveland Napoleons after him. Lajoie racked up 214 hits over the course of the 1906 season, leading the way for the American League.

2015 - Giovanny Urshela, 13 games

On the face of it, this streak might not look like much. However, as Jason Lukehart pointed out last year, Urshela picked up exactly one hit in each game. This gave him the longest streak in franchise history since at least 1914. Underlining how weird hitting streaks can be, Urshela only mashed 3 RBI during the stretch, all coming from a home run on June 30th. He slashed .295/.326/.364, not quite the level of production you would expect from a hitting streak. Even Dan Uggla slashed 377/.438/.762 during his 33 game streak in 2011, elevating his average on the season from .178 to .232.

There have been other notable streaks by Indians players. Matt Williams hit safely in 24 straight games in 1997. Ray Fosse hit 23 times in a row during his first full season in 1970. Hitting streaks might be nothing more than a statistical curiosity, but it's the curiosities that make baseball the sport it is today.