Welcome back to the Greatest Moments in Marlins History. On this list we have had our fair share of streaks. We wrote about Kevin Millar’s 25 game hitting streak; we also gave credit to Logan Morrison’s 42 games on base rookie team record; and how could we forget Ricky Nolasco’s 9 strikeout in a row? Today for moment 17 we talk about possibly the greatest streak in Marlins history. Today we bring you Luis Castillo’s 35 game hitting streak.
On May 8, 2002 against the San Diego Padres Luis came up to the plate in the bottom of the 5th inning. With the count at 1-2 Luis smacked the ball and pulled off an infield single. Little did he know that this would be the start of a great streak. In his 35 game hitting streak Luis came close several times to cutting it short, having on 4 different occasions getting a hit at his last at bat. During his 35 game hitting streak Luis had a .403 batting average, 62 hits, 14 RBIs (for a leadoff hitter that is pretty impressive), 24 runs, and an OBP of .436. These numbers helped Luis reach his second All-Star game. We all knew the streak would have to end sooner or later, even though we really didn’t want it to.
On June 22, 2002 at Joe Robbie Stadium (I know it was not called that at the time), the Marlins faced the Detroit Tigers. In his first at bat Luis flied out to left field. We didn’t worry, Luis would get at least 3 more at bats to keep the streak alive, right? In the 3rd inning Luis would go down swinging on a full count. It’s only the 3rd inning, there is still plenty of time for him to get that hit. Up Luis came in the 5th, but he grounded out to a fielder’s choice. So far Luis is 0-3, but it’s only the 6th and Luis could get a hit his next at bat. We entered the 8th inning and Luis is the first batter. He took the first pitch he saw and sent it to… the short stop for a 6-3 ground out. Luis is 0-4 after 8 innings. Wait, even though the Marlins are down 4-1 they could still make a comeback and send it into extras or Luis could still come up in the 9th and win the game.
We enter the 9th with the Marlins down. Cliff Floyd flies out to start the inning off. Next up is Derrek Lee, who triples. Preston Wilson gets the count to 3-2 before taking a ball four walk to 1st base. A wild pitch moves him to second during the at bat of Charles Johnson. Johnson then doubles down the right field line to score Lee and Wilson. The Marlins are now down 4-3. Andy Fox ties the game a with an E3 throwing error scoring Johnson and moves him to second base. That ties the game at 4-4. Up comes Tim Raines to pinch hit for the pitcher, which means that Luis is in the batters circle. If Tim can get to first without scoring Andy from 2nd… wild pitch Andy moves to 3rd… I mean 3rd, Luis can have a chance to continue his streak. It just needs to be a walk, not a single or a sac fly… Tim smacks the ball deep to center field for an out and Andy scores from 3rd on a sac fly… the Marlins win! It is a bitter sweet ending to Luis’ 35 game hitting streak.
35 games would be the MLB record for hitting streak for 2nd basemen until 2006 when Chase Utley would tie it. Still to this day it is one of the greatest streaks in Marlins history.