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Is Chris Davis’ Hitless Streak The Worst Individual Record Ever?

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In 2016, at the age of 30 and coming off an impressive season, Chris Davis signed a monster contract with the Baltimore Orioles worth $161 million over the course of seven years.  This season, the first baseman is scheduled to earn $17 million, making his current streak that much more frustrating for Baltimore fans.

Early Monday night, Davis broke Major League Baseball’s record for most consecutive at-bats without a hit, going 0-for-47 dating back to September 14, 2018.  That record had stood for nearly eight years, when position player Eugenio Velez went a terrible 0-for-46 during the 2010 and 2011 campaigns. Davis is now at 56 plate appearances during this hitless stretch, just one shy of tying the record of 57 which was set by Tony Bernazard of the Cleveland Indians back in 1984. At the end of the night, Davis finished 0-for-5 and has a chance to make history against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.

Rather than letting Davis hear an onslaught of boos, the 6,585 fans in attendance at Camden Yards – the lowest for an open-admission game in the park’s 27-year history – cheered him on last night, hoping the streak would end, so it might actually help draw more fans to the park for an already struggling team.

It’s almost unbelievable to think that a professional hitter at the sport’s highest level couldn’t practically stumble into a hit at some point over the stretch of close to 60 at-bats but is it the worst streak of any of the four major North American sports leagues?

A similar streak is that from former National Hockey League player Gord Strate.

Strate, a defenseman who spent spent portions of nine seasons with the Detroit Red Wings until 1962, holds the record for most consecutive games without a point.  He played 61 games at hockey’s elite level, never tallying a single point and that record has stood for well over five decades – though several players have gotten close.  Think about that, the current season is 82 games, meaning a player would have to not get a point through almost two-thirds of the season. While ice time and other contributors factor in, the sheer accident of touching the puck prior to a goal seems more likely than not.

When it comes to the National Basketball Association, a similar streak would have to be foul shots.  Here’s an opportunity for players to take an untested shot 15 feet from the basket – it’s literally a free bucket.  Sure, there’s just a little more pressure, as opposed to an at-bat, simply because the crowd is often coerced into jeering the player at the line.

There have been some awful free throw shooters in NBA history – Shaquille O’Neal immediately comes to mind –  but the most consecutive missed free throws goes to former center Chris Dudley, who spent time with six different teams during the 1990s and early 2000s.  In 1990, as a member of the New Jersey Nets, Dudley missed 13 straight foul shots – a record that still holds up today. Dudley was a notoriously terrible free throw shooter during his career, hitting 45.8 percent from the line but missing that many is certainly no easy feat.

As for the National Football League, it’s a team sport and tough to gauge an individual statistic in this regard.  There are just so many contributing factors. The closest thing would have to be the field goal kicker. In the same vein as a free throw or an at-bat, kicking field goals is a one-on-one challenge – kicker versus goal post.

There are two kickers who have missed five field goals in a game and both played in the 1960s: Paul Hornung and Roger LeClerc.  Hornung, who spent his career with the Green Bay Packers, was a versatile athlete who played halfback, quarterback and placekicker.  Cut from the same mold, LeClerc, who spent the majority of his career with the Chicago Bears, played center linebacker and placekicker.  At several positions, it’s no wonder why these two missed so many kicks and now, all of these years later, their record still stands. Having said that, Packers kicker Mason Crosby did miss four field goals and an extra point in a game against the Detroit Lions in 2018.  That’s a little worse than Hornung and LeClerc, simply because Crosby is paid for just that one job.

Are these other records as bad the one Davis is suffering through right now? Given the amount of money, it might certainly be – but we will let you be the judge.