1. this is the first time I have ever seen this thread
2.boogerlips, this is really brilliant, my compliments
3. hitting .400 AND hitting in a LOT of consecutive games are both hard to do. Neither has been done since. I think they must be hard to do.
4. Dimaggio could not deal with having a wife who was more famous than he was. And he was REALLY famous
5. Give them back the war years - and in Williams' case also the Korean War years and I think Ted stays in till he breaks 714, even if it means hitting .286 a couple times, and Dimaggio probably another 150 or so homers and raises his lifetime average which is already quite high. How high would Williams' lifetime average have been - at first much higher than .344 but 714 would be more within reach than .367 so he would have shot for that record and ended up a little below his real life lifetime average.
6. If Dimaggio had not called Mickey Mantle off that hit by Willie Mays in the Series, leading to that knee injury Mantle breaks Ted Williams' record for lifetime homers.
7. If it had not been for segregation none of this would have happened: Satchel Paige stops Dimaggio's streak well before 56, and Williams hits in George Brett territory. Josh Gibson breaks 714.
8. Take 20-25% of the best pitchers and fielders out of the major leagues and I think George Brett, Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn (yes I know this is self-contradictory), Rod Carew, Don Mattingly and Wade Boggs hit .400 or maybe hit for 56 games. Do this for racist reasons and you have 1941.
9. As a corollary, all achievements before the end of segregation in any given field should be taken with a grain of salt. Babe Ruth probably has Willie Mays' numbers lifetime, Ty Cobb hits 30 points lower lifetime.
Ruth may still be greater than Mays, despite Mays' enormous advantage in fielding and baserunning cause Ruth also pitched. As batters they then come out even. But this is true in all fields: 20% of all white folks before segregation was ended practically (meaning at the point where one could say that at least a realistic chance of a person of color making it into the same profession without externally-imposed prohibitions existed - this may not yet exist in many fields of life) were in their professional levels thanks to artificially and unjustly lowered competition.
Thus 8 or 9 Presidents of the United States should have never made it (among the African American Presidents we did not have but should have: Frederick Douglass, WEB DuBois, Septima Clark,Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King Jr.,). But it is true of the lawyers, judges, business executives, and yes, even college professors. Some us are where we would not be had we had to face fair competition from women and people of other "racial" backgrounds. Maybe even me (born 1960). Who knows ? We should ask ourselves. And we should view baseball records as a learning tool. The best of their times were among the best, and their records are inflated by pitching to or batting against 20% minor leaguers masquerading as big leaguers, camoflauged by their "whiteness".
This has been a public service announcement.