August 02, 2011
Craig Counsell(notes) doesn't have to worry with how he'll be remembered as a ballplayer. Not after his lasting legacy was secured the moment he ran home as a rookie with the winning run for the Florida Marlins over the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.
The Milwaukee Brewers utilityman is also the answer to a very cool trivia question as the only player to have been on base for two game-winning hits in Game 7 of the Series. (He was on first when Arizona's Luis Gonzalez blooped a single off New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera(notes) to end the 2001 Fall Classic.)
But as Aaron Gleeman notes on Hardball Talk, Counsell — who was also the 2001 NLCS MVP, by the way — will have a rather unfortunate footnote attached to his career file if he doesn't record a hit in his next at-bat. He's currently hitless in his last 45 at-bats and one more out would tie a record set in 1909 by Brooklyn's Bill Bergen for most consecutive at-bats without a hit by a position player.
Counsell's last hits came on June 10 when he was 3 for 3 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Since then, the 40-year-old has appeared in 30 games and started eight, only reaching base via a walk in a June 21 game against the Tampa Bay Rays. The above picture of him was taken at the last moment he was useful to the Brewers' offense — scoring on a Ryan Braun(notes) single after that walk.
So, will Counsell make the wrong kind of history the next time Ron Roenicke calls upon him? Perhaps, but hopefully he'll have a Big League Stew reverse jinx place on him.
Let me explain: You might remember that we wrote a similar post about Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez(notes) after his slump reached 0 for 34. That night, Ibanez broke his slump with a 2-for-4 night with two doubles and he has posted a respectable OPS of .821 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs ever since. Not a bad recovery.
Time will tell if Counsell can avoid joining or surpassing Bill Bergen, but his margin for error is down to nothing when it comes to avoiding the bad parts of the history books.