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Marlins Flashback: Luis Castillo's 35-game hitting streak

In 2002, the speedy second baseman became the first foreign-born MLB player to achieve a hitting streak of 35 games.

Major League Baseball

Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak of 56 games may be baseball’s most unbreakable record, but Luis Castillo made an interesting run at it in 2002. The Marlins second baseman began a streak of his own on May 8, 2002 and preserved it for 35 straight contests. It was the longest such streak that Major League Baseball had seen since Hall of Famer Paul Molitor in 1987 (39 straight for Milwaukee).

Castillo’s 35th game with a hit came on June 21 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami against the Detroit Tigers. In the bottom of the third, Castillo came up to bat and smashed a line drive right at the pitcher, Steve Sparks, for a ground ball base hit.

Castillo would go on to record one more hit in the game. However, he took an 0-for-4 the next day, ironically with future teammate Mark Redman tossing a gem for the Tigers.

Castillo’s streak still stands a Marlins team record to this day. Only two other MLB players have tied or surpassed it since then. Philadelphia’s Chase Utley had a 35-game streak in 2006, while double play partner Jimmy Rollins maintained a 38-game streak over the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Some other notable hitting streaks include former Marlin and Brave Dan Uggla, who made it 33 straight, and most recently, 31 games by Royals infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield in 2018-19.

Castillo, who was born in the Dominican Republic, became the first (and remains the only) foreign-born baseball player to achieve a hitting streak of 35-plus games in Major League Baseball. His 2002 season was one to remember as he was selected to the first All-Star game of his career, led the league with 48 stolen bases, and was named the Marlins Most Valuable Player by the South Florida Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.