One of the valid criticisms of Starlin Castro since he came to the Cubs has been his lack of defensive prowess. Sure, he'd make the occasional spectacular throw from deep in the hole, but more often, he'd botch routine ground balls, fail to concentrate on popups, or throw a ball over Anthony Rizzo's head.
Now, though, Castro is on a defensive streak that you might not have been aware of. Castro has not committed an error since June 17 -- that's 38 consecutive errorless games and 148 chances handled in that span.
That got me wondering what the Cubs' team record is for such things, and the always-helpful Ed Hartig sent me the facts:
According to the 1970 Cubs media guide, Don Kessinger's 54 consecutive errorless games in 1969 set a major-league record. Kessinger played errorless from 4/14/1969 to 6/15/1969 handling 281 consecutive chances at shortstop. Kessinger's Cubs mark for consecutive games was broken by Mick Kelleher with 60 from 9/7/1976 to 7/23/1979 -- yes, over four years with many of the games being as a defensive replacement ... so Kess' 281 chances wasn't challenged. One clarification on the Kessinger streak ... 54 errorless games, 281 chances. Dates of his 54-game streak: 4/14/1969 through 6/15/1969-gm 1. Dates of his 281 chances: 4/13/1969 through 6/15/1969-gm 2. He had a couple chances after committing an error on 4/13 and before making an error in game 2 on 6/15. Other streaks of significant length ... Ryan Theriot had a 46-game streak from 4/28/2007 to 7/25/2007 but handled over 100 fewer chances than Kessinger. And Manny Alexander had a 49-game streak between 7/11/1998 to 7/8/1999 -- again often serving as a late inning replacement.
Kessinger's major-league record was broken long ago; the MLB record for consecutive errorless games at shortstop is now 110, set by Orioles shortstop Mike Bordick in 2002. Bordick handled 543 consecutive chances during that streak without an error; that's also a record.
Castro's pretty far from Bordick's marks, but he could approach Kelleher's team record for games by the end of August (and maybe Kessinger's record for errorless chances) if he keeps up the good work. Well done, Starlin.