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Ferguson: Jays streak impressive, but nowhere near the best

Scott Ferguson
6/24/2013 12:40:16 PM
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Winning 11 straight games is no doubt an impressive feat and has the Toronto Blue Jays back into the Wild Card race in the American League, if not the race for the AL East division title.

However, the thing that really surprised me was where this streak fits in, historically. The Blue Jays also won 11 in a row in 1987 and 1998. They have tied a franchise record, but it is actually tied for the lowest franchise record win streak in American League history.
 
The Angels also won 11 in a row, once back in 1964, but every other team in the American League has a longer franchise record win streak. The 2002 Oakland A's, the team Michael Lewis wrote about that led to the movie 'Moneyball', set the all-time American League record with 20 straight victories. The A's finished at 103-59 that season and had the streak broken by the MInnesota Twins on September 6. It was also the Twins who eliminated Oakland in the American League Division Series that year.
 
The longest win streak of all time is generally credited to the 1935 Chicago Cubs, who won 21 in a row. The oddity of that streak was the first 19 games were played at Wrigley Field. The winning roll finally ended on September 28 at St. Louis. The Cubs finished the year at 100-54 and made it to the World Series, where they ultimately lost to the Detroit Tigers.
 
Before you start thinking streaking teams never end up winning big, let me give you the flip side. The 1947 Yankees won 19 in a row from June 29-July 18. They finished the year at 97-57 and stopped Brooklyn in the 'Fall Classic' in seven games.
 
The 1906 Chicago Cubs, the so-called 'Hitless Wonders', won 19 straight and wound up with a sterling record of 116-36, and ended up with a .763 win percentage, the highest in Major League history. Then they went on to upset their cross-town rival, the Cubs in the World Series.
 
The strangest win streak I could find in the modern era belonged to the 1916 New York Giants of John McGraw. They actually won 26 in a row. However after the 14th game, they played a 1-1 tie with Pittsburgh in a game that was called after nine innings, likely because of darkness as it was the second game of a double-header. So technically, it doesn't count as a 26-game streak. It was 14, then a tie, then 12 more wins, but they weren't beaten in 26 games.
 
There were some real oddities in this streak. All 26 games from September 7-30 were played at home by the Giants at the Polo Grounds. The Boston Braves finally ended the streak in the second game of a twinbill. It was the 'deadball' era, so maybe this shouldn't be too surprising, but the Giants racked up 10 shutout victories in those 26 wins.
 
The Giants were an extremely streaky team in 1916. They also won 17 in a row at one point, and had losing streaks of eight and six games. Also during the 26 game streak, they beat every one of the other clubs in the 8-team National League at least once.
 
You would think after all of that the Giants must have had a great season. Wrong! They finished 86-66 and wound up in fourth place in an 8-team league.
 
The first two times the Blue Jays put together 11 game win streaks didn't exactly have happy endings either. In 1987, Jimy Williams' team lost the division title to Detroit in that heart-breaking final weekend, three-game sweep at old Tiger Stadium.
 
In 1998, Tim Johnson's only year at the helm, the Jays streak ran from August 27-September 7. It actually looked as though the Blue Jays might catch the Yankees for the division lead. However, their final road trip brought them down. After winning three out of four in New York, they lost two straight at Cleveland, two in a row at Detroit and two out of three at Tampa Bay to finish the journey at 4-7. After that, they were done.
 
This year's Blue Jays have won 15 of their 18 games, are showing strengths in all facets of the game and they only figure to get stronger when Jose Reyes returns from rehab later in the week. This might actually turn out to be a year when a lengthy win streak actually translates into post-season success.
 
For those who were wondering, the Montreal Expos never had an 11-game win streak. Their best was 10 and they accomplished that three times. Their offspring, the Washington Nationals have had one 10-game win streak.

Of all the other National League clubs, the lowest franchise record win streak is nine by the Florida/Miami Marlins, who have done it four times. Colorado had two 11-game win streaks, and the New York Mets have had four 11-gamers. All the other teams in the Senior Circuit have exceeded that 11-game total as their franchise records for winning streaks.




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