Biggest baseball story of 2014 that no one's talking about…yet
Push on for 65-year-old record set by Ted Williams
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (July 14, 2014) - A quick-twitch, 19-year-old athlete who plays shortstop with high marks for hitting, glove-work and base-stealing has broken the minor-league record for getting on-base in consecutive games. Now the push for Ted Williams' major-league record.
Andrew Velazquez of the South Bend Silver Hawks in South Bend, Indiana broke the old record of 71 consecutive games on-base shared by former Red Sox teammates Kevin Millar (1997) and Kevin Youkilis (2003), both of whom accomplished the feat for Double-A Portland. Velazquez established the new record of 72 with a single against the Fort Wayne TinCaps of Fort Wayne, Indiana on Sunday, July 13, 2014.
"It's good to have it done," Velazquez told The [Fort Wayne] Journal Gazette. "Whatever happens, if it keeps going, it keeps going.
"Coming down the last couple of games, it was definitely nerve-racking. Last night, that last at-bat, I was definitely sweating."
A Bronx native from Fordham Prep, Velazquez now sets his sights on a major league record that was established three years after World War II ended. That streak was made in 1949 by one of the greatest hitters of all time-Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams. Williams' record of 84 consecutive games has never been matched.
Velazquez's on-base streak began on April 22, 2014 when he tripled and walked against the Dayton Dragons of Dayton, Ohio. He's currently batting .311 with a .860 OPS. He also leads the Midwest League with 170 total bases and 13 triples while ranking second with 40 stolen bases.
The South Bend Silver Hawks appeared on national television on July 10th in a no-hitter victory over the same Dayton Dragons on the CBS Sports cable channel.
"You have to really throw quality pitches to him to make him swing out of the zone," says Team Manager Mark Haley. "And at that young age, when you've got an idea of the strike zone and the ability to take that and implement a plan like he does, that makes you a special kid."
"It's a blessing to be in the history books and be in the company of guys like Millar and Youkilis," added Velazquez. "Those guys are awesome. It's a blessing."
The South Bend Silver Hawks are a Class A minor-league team affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team is owned and operated by Swing-Batter-Swing, LLC. whose sole shareholder is Andrew T. Berlin of Chicago.