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Starlin Castro Looks to Tie Riggs Stephenson’s Chicago Cubs On-Base Record: Fan’s Perspective
On Sunday, April 8, Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro collected two hits, two runs, two stolen bases and an RBI in the team's 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals. Amazingly Castro has now reached base in 43 consecutive games and is potentially one game away from tying the team's on-base streak record.
Castro has passed Gabby Hartnett's 1937 streak (42 games) and is now tied with Jerome Walton, who also achieved a 43-game streak in 1989. The team's franchise record of reaching base in 44 straight games dates back to 1928 and was accomplished by the great Riggs Stephenson. Hopefully Castro's achievements will shine a new light on Stephenson's career and help a new generation of Cubs fans learn a bit about the team's past.
Riggs Stephenson played left field for the Cubs from 1926-34. Receiving MVP consideration in three of those seasons, Stephenson totaled 1,167 hits with a .336 batting average while playing for Chicago. He holds the highest batting average in team history among players with at least 2,000 at-bats. He was even better in the postseason, hitting .378 in nine World Series games against the Philadelphia Athletics (1929) and New York Yankees (1932).
In 1928, the year he accomplished the team-record on-base streak, Stephenson hit .324 with 36 doubles and 90 RBIs. His on-base percentage (OBP) for the season was .407, which was also his career OBP.
According to John Snyder's Cubs Journal, since 1900, Stephenson holds the highest batting average among all players who have not been elected to the Hall of Fame. Snyder believes that Stephenson's career has been overlooked due to his low totals in home runs (63) and games played (1,310).
While Stephenson may not be a member of the Hall of Fame, his accomplishments should be recognized and remembered by all Cubs fans. As we cheer for Castro to tie the team record by reaching base safely against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 9, we will also be celebrating one of team's great players in Riggs Stephenson.
More importantly, it is great to hear Castro's name mentioned in conversations about the best players in Cubs history and is hopefully something that will happen more throughout his career.
Snyder, John. Cubs Journal. Emmis Books, 2005. Print.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.
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