Every MLB Team's Longest Winning Streak Ever

Ely SussmanCorrespondent IAugust 8, 2012

Every MLB Team's Longest Winning Streak Ever

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    MLB superstars can carry their flawed teams for considerable stretches of the summer.

    Winning streaks—the longest ones, at least—are different phenomena. Many players must simultaneously overachieve.

    All 30 franchises have enjoyed temporary invincibility during a past regular season. Some for days, others for weeks, and yes, one club did for an entire month.

    Here are stories of the most epic undefeated runs in Major League Baseball history.

    *Asterisk denotes World Series champion

Arizona Diamondbacks: 12 Games (June 18-30, 2003)

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    It was a midsummer run that could've ended much sooner, considering that nine of the games were decided by two runs or fewer. Five were won in the team's final at-bat.

    Randy Johnson was injured at the time, but Curt Schilling and star rookie Brandon Webb led the pitching staff in his absence.

    Luis Gonzalez slugged four home runs and did not strike out over 53 plate appearances.

    However, the Arizona Diamondbacks would finish with their fewest victories since joining the National League 1998.

    Top performers during streak: Luis Gonzalez (.422/.509/.1332), Brandon Webb (1-0, 1.23 ERA, 0.77 WHIP).

    Final 2003 record: 84-78

Atlanta Braves: 18 Games (Sept. 16-Oct. 2, 1891)

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    Hall of Famers John Clarkson and Kid Nichols did everything for the Boston Beaneaters in 1891. They combined to win 63 games and log almost 900 innings.

    Boston's offense caught fire as fall approached. It scored five-plus runs in 17 of the 18 wins. Totals also climbed into double digits a handful of times.

    The streak ended on the penultimate day of the season, though the club had already clinched the National League championship.

    Final 1891 record: 87-51-2

Baltimore Orioles: 14 Games (Aug. 12-27, 1973)

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    Helped by 14 straight August wins, the Baltimore Orioles rebounded from a 80-win campaign and returned to the postseason.

    The pitching staff had extraordinary depth. Starters Mike Cueller, Dave McNally and Jim Palmer were durable and effective. Grant Jackson and Bob Reynolds dominated out of the bullpen.

    Top performer during streak: Dave McNally (3-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.81 WHIP).

    Final 1973 record: 97-65

Boston Red Sox: 15 Games (April 25-May 10, 1946)

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    The 1946 Boston Red Sox remain the latest edition of the team to reach 100 wins.

    Ted Williams showed no rust in his first year back from military service. He homered in three straight contests during this hot streak and reached base more than 60 percent of the time!

    Shortstop Johnny Pesky was another key contributor. He scored six runs in one afternoon against the Chicago White Sox.

    As you probably suspected, the hated New York Yankees played spoiler on May 11.

    Top performers during streak: Johnny Pesky (.425/.455/.507), Ted Williams (.442/.608/.788).

    Final 1946 record: 104-50-2

Chicago Cubs: 21 Games (June 5-July 8, 1880)

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    Here it is—the only official MLB winning streak to span more than 30 days.

    In just their fifth season of existence, the Chicago White Stockings were an offensive juggernaut. Player/manager Cap Anson and outfielders Abner Dalrymple and George Gore were all terrific.

    Larry Corcoran pitched in practically every game of the perfect month (yeah, it was a different era).

    Final 1880 record: 67-17-2

Chicago White Sox: 19 Games (Aug. 2-23, 1906*)

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    For a contending team, the 1906 Chicago White Sox were especially inept at the plate. Not a single position player on the squad achieved a .700 OPS.

    They thrived, however, because every hurler on the roster attacked the strike zone with confidence.

    All-time ERA leader Ed Walsh emerged as an ace that season.

    White Sox pitchers tossed eight shutouts during the streak.

    Final 1906 record: 93-58-3

Cincinnati Reds: 12 Games (1939, 1957)

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    Reigning National League MVP Ernie Lombardi was at the heart of the Cincinnati Reds' fabulous finish to May.

    The veteran backstop caught every pitch of the 12 victories.

    The start of Cincinnati's run coincided with a lengthy homestand. All but two triumphs were wrapped up in front of the local fans.

    Top performers during streak: Ernie Lombardi (.469/.500/.796), Bucky Walters (3-0, 2.00 ERA, 1.30 WHIP).

    Final 1939 record: 97-57-2

     

    Looking totally poised in foreign environments, the Reds swept five road series in a row.

    Any folks who feared that Frank Robinson would suffer from a sophomore slump were resting easy after this tear. He split time between first base and left field during the trip.

    Top performer during streak: Frank Robinson (.453/.483/.755).

    Final 1957 record: 80-74

Cleveland Indians: 13 Games (1942, 1951)

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    This1942 club had most of its fun before the warm weather arrived.

    Whether it was via nail-biter or blowout, the Cleveland Indians prevailed each afternoon between April 18 and May 2.

    A late-season collapse would ultimately bump the Tribe out of the AL pennant race.

    Top performers during streak: Jim Bagby (4-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.08 WHIP), Jeff Heath (.404/.456/.692).

    Final 1942 record: 75-79-2

     

    Center fielder Larry Doby maintained a streak of his own while the Indians won 13 straight early August matchups. He steadily affected the outcomes with hits in every game.

    Top performers during streak: Larry Doby (.377/.507/.698), Bob Feller (3-0, 1.35 ERA, 1.16 WHIP).

    Final 1951 record: 93-61-1

Colorado Rockies: 11 Games (2007, 2009)

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    This one was unforgettable.

    Overwhelming three division rivals bolstered Matt Holliday's NL MVP case and propelled the Colorado Rockies into a tie for the wildcard lead.

    Cinderella was bested by the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 28 before riding another undefeated run all the way to the 2007 World Series.

    Top performers during streak: Jeff Francis (2-0, 1.84 ERA, 1.16 WHIP), Brad Hawpe (.447/.512/.842), Matt Holliday (.457/.558/.943).

    Final 2007 record: 90-73

     

    With Todd Helton rebounding from an injury-riddled campaign and Dexter Fowler establishing himself as an MLB regular, the Rox got their swagger back.

    They rallied behind newly-appointed interim manager Jim Tracy and excelled in every facet of the game.

    Top performers during streak: Ubaldo Jimenez (2-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.00 WHIP), Troy Tulowitzki (.385/.514/.808).

    Final 2009 record: 92-70

Detroit Tigers: 14 Games (1909, 1934)

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    A third straight American League pennant wouldn't have been possible without the brilliance of Ty Cobb. The Detroit Tigers followed his example and had essentially run away with first place by the date of their next loss (September 4).

    Final 1909 record: 98-54

     

    The team maintained an otherworldly .353 batting average and won three of the games by 11-plus runs.

    Top performers during streak: Mickey Cochrane (.521/.574/.688), Charlie Gehringer (.377/.441/.574).

    Final 1934 record: 101-53

Houston Astros: 12 Games (Aug. 27-Sept. 8, 2004)

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    Carlos Beltran turned out to be an amazing half-season rental. As the No. 2 batter in Houston's 2004 lineup, he ignited huge innings.

    Averaging nine runs per game against the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates allowed the club to leapfrog several playoff hopefuls.

    Though the starting rotation wasn't at full strength, all leads were safe with strikeout artist Brad Lidge.

    Top performers during streak: Carlos Beltran (.375/.545/.850), Lance Berkman (.362/.456/.936), Brad Lidge (4 SV, 1.42 ERA, 0.95 WHIP).

    Final 2004 record: 92-70

Kansas City Royals: 16 Games (Aug. 31-Sept. 15, 1977)

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    The Kansas City Royals worked their magic through a particularly exhausting chunk of the schedule.

    Their record stayed spotless despite a four-day visit to Seattle and three double-headers. Two contests even required extra innings.

    Top performers during streak: George Brett (.344/.403/.563), Dennis Leonard (3-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP).

    Final 1977 record: 102-60

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 11 Games (June 16-26, 1964)

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    Los Angeles Angels pitchers tallied three shutouts, but the lineup struggled enough to keep things interesting. Nobody expected to witness so many consecutive victories during a stretch when the offense was scratching across barely four runs per game.

    Top performers during streak: Dean Chance (1-0, 0.60 ERA, 0.87 WHIP), Bob Duliba (4 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.92 WHIP), Bob Lee (3-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.05 WHIP).

    Final 1964 record: 82-80

Los Angeles Dodgers: 15 Games (Aug. 25-Sept. 6, 1924)

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    MLB seasons of the 21st century are played at a relatively leisurely pace.

    Consider that the Brooklyn Robins endured a grueling six-day, 11-game road trip to compensate for previously cancelled matchups in 1924. They nearly got through it unscathed, too. The finale was lost in walk-off fashion.

    Top performers during streak: Dazzy Vance (2-0, 2.37 ERA, 1.16 WHIP), Zach Wheat (.406/.449/.750).

    Final 1924 record: 92-62

Miami Marlins: 9 Games (1996, 2004, 2006)

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    Every MLB franchise has experienced an invincible run of double-digit games...with the exception of the Miami Marlins. They've gotten awfully close on four separate occasions.

    Opposing pitchers were careful with Gary Sheffield throughout the '96 season, but No. 5 hitter Jeff Conine made them pay dearly between May 6-14. He drove in 12 runs with his 39 plate appearances.

    Top performer during streak: Jeff Conine (.290/.410/.581).

    Final 1996 record: 80-82

     

    A nine-game winning streak gave the 2004 Fish life entering the second week of September. In six outings, Armando Benitez put one baserunner aboard.

    Top performer during streak: Armando Benitez (5 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.17 WHIP).

    Final 2004 record: 83-79

     

    Outside of June and August surges, Miami was a punching bag in 2006. At least Miguel Cabrera was consistent throughout the summer, and stud rookies Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez broke out after the All-Star break.

    Top performer during June 10-20 streak: Miguel Cabrera (.367/.513/.500).

    Top performers during August 20-30 streak: Josh Johnson (1-0, 3.07 ERA, 0.95 WHIP), Hanley Ramirez (.436/.439/.872).

    Final 2006 record: 78-84

Milwaukee Brewers: 13 Games (April 6-20, 1987)

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    From the get-go, the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers flaunted their abundance of power.

    Their season-opening, two-week-long unbeaten streak was highlighted by 21 home runs and a .514 slugging percentage.

    Top performers during streak: Paul Molitor (.370/.443/.667), Dale Sveum (.383/.453/.638).

    Final 1987 record: 91-71

Minnesota Twins: 15 Games (June 1-16, 1991*)

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    Efficient starting pitching took pressure off of everybody else.

    The 1991 Minnesota Twins could depend on their top-of-the-rotation arms to last into the final stages of a ballgame, and get to that point without yielding much damage.

    Chili Davis helped the team battle back when necessary. He mashed five long balls to preserve the undefeated streak.

    Top performers during streak: Jack Morris (3-0, 1.17 ERA, 1.04 WHIP), Kevin Tapani (2-0, 1.59 ERA, 0.84 WHIP).

    Final 1991 record: 95-67

New York Mets: 11 Games (1969*, 1972, 1986*, 1990)

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    Helpless opponents could hardly put the ball in play against New York's young pitchers. The staff surrendered only 64 hits in 107 total innings.

    Top performers during streak: Jerry Koosman (2-0, 0.64 ERA, 0.75 WHIP), Tom Seaver (3-0, 2.74 ERA, 0.83 WHIP).

    Final 1969 record: 100-62

     

    The story was similar in May of 1972. Jon Matlack—en route to winning NL Rookie of the Year—further deepened the rotation.

    Top performers during streak: Jon Matlack (2-0, 1.56 ERA, 0.92 WHIP), Tug McGraw (3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP), Rusty Staub (.300/.383/.575).

    Final 1972 record: 83-73

     

    The Mets were definitively baseball's best team and they let the world know early on.

    Reserves like Howard Johnson and Kevin Mitchell were talented enough to play regularly on most other rosters. The Amazins' had so many weapons.

    Top performers during streak: Dwight Gooden (3-0, 0.69 ERA, 0.81 WHIP), Bob Ojeda (2-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.88 WHIP).

    Final 1986 record: 108-54

     

    It wasn't pretty, but being at home was a great advantage.

    Top performers during streak: David Cone (2-0, 1.06 ERA, 0.59 WHIP), Darryl Strawberry (.368/.442/.632).

    Final 1990 record: 91-71

New York Yankees: 19 Games (June 29-July 17, 1947*)

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    The Bronx Bombers pulverized all six of their foes, outscoring them 119-41.

    Top performers during streak: Joe DiMaggio (.375/.444/.653), Allie Reynolds (4-0, 2 SV, 1.77 ERA, 1.16 WHIP).

    Final 1947 record: 97-57-1

Oakland Athletics: 20 Games (Aug. 13-Sept. 6, 2002)

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    They shattered a 55-year-old record for longest AL winning streak, and did so despite a tiny payroll.

    Their secret? A .367 on-base percentage.

    Well deserving of a best-selling book and award-winning movie.

    Top performers during streak: Eric Chavez (.345/.402/.619), Tim Hudson (4-0, 2.15 ERA, 1.17 WHIP), Barry Zito (4-0, 1.87 ERA, 1.03 WHIP).

    Final 2002 record: 103-59

Philadelphia Phillies: 16 Games (Sept. 15-Oct. 8, 1887)

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    Outfielder George Wood was an extra-base hit machine. He was especially awesome against right-handed pitchers, and the Philadelphia Quakers crossed paths with many of them down the stretch.

    The final 16 men to challenge their lineup were annihilated.

    It was all for naught, unfortunately. Those darn Detroit Wolverines had the National League sewn up with weeks to spare.

    Had there been a postseason, the Quakers would have gone in with so much momentum.

    Final 1887 record: 75-48-5

Pittsburgh Pirates: 16 Games (Sept. 9-27, 1909*)

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    Even at age 35, Honus Wagner was an outstanding player.

    The pitching staff didn't have any weak links. Each contributor had a sub-3.00 ERA.

    Final 1909 record: 110-42

San Diego Padres: 14 Games (June 18-July 2, 1999)

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    Aside from this brief spell of excellence, the San Diego Padres were incomparable to the previous summer's pennant winners.

    Most of these midseason games were tight throughout, so Trevor Hoffman's services were very much in-demand.

    Top performers during streak: Trevor Hoffman (8 SV, 1.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP), Reggie Sanders (.375/.466/.708).

    Final 1999 record: 74-88

San Francisco Giants: 26 Games (Sept. 7-30, 1916)

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    The number above is mind-boggling, but keep calm—this was 26-0-1, not 26-0.

    The New York Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates never completed their September 18 meeting, agreeing instead to call it a 1-1 tie.

    Though this can't be considered a winning streak, it's still the greatest undefeated run of all time.

    Final 1916 record: 86-66-3

Seattle Mariners: 15 Games (May 23-June 8, 2001)

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    The Seattle Mariners did not spend much time mourning the loss of Alex Rodriguez to free agency. The AL West division was theirs by Memorial Day.

    Designated hitter extraordinaire Edgar Martinez could not be contained. This was just a segment of his impressive individual season at age 38.

    Top performers during streak: Edgar Martinez (.438/.517/.813), Arthur Rhodes (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP).

    Final 2001 record: 116-46

St. Louis Cardinals: 14 Games (July 2-18, 1935)

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    After grinding through 20 straight away games, the 1935 St. Louis Cardinals were awarded a much-needed off day. I don't know what those players did on July 1, but it fully recharged their batteries.

    The ensuing string of victories included sweeps of the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Braves.

    Top performers during streak: Bill Hallahan (4-0, 0.50 ERA, 0.58 WHIP), Joe Medwick (.393/.424/.679).

    Final 1935 record: 96-58

Tampa Bay Rays: 12 Games (June 9-22, 2004)

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    Surprising, isn't it? You would think that the longest stainless streak in Tampa Bay Rays history would have occurred over the past five years when the club has regularly finished with a winning record.

    Largely against interleague competition, the team overcame two blown saves from closer Danys Baez.

    Carl Crawford had an enormous impact with his legs. He collected four triples and six stolen bases.

    The Lou Piniella-led Devil Rays—nickname didn't change until 2008—got within a game of .500 before falling back to reality.

    Top performers during streak: Carl Crawford (.389/.404/.648), Mark Hendrickson (2-0, 1.27 ERA, 1.13 WHIP

    Final 2004 record: 70-91

Texas Rangers: 14 Games (May 12-27, 1991)

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    These Texas Rangers featured a 19-year-old Ivan Rodriguez and 44-year-old Nolan Ryan. It's a cool fact, but neither contributed much to this fleeting success.

    Team batting was simply unstoppable with a triple-slash line of .348/.420/.542.

    To make a 2012 comparison, everybody was swinging like Mike Trout (though not running quite as well)!

    Top performers during streak: Juan Gonzalez (.361/.429/.623), Ruben Sierra (.410/.471/.607).

    Final 1991 record: 85-77

Toronto Blue Jays: 11 Games (1987, 1998)

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    Toronto Blue Jays manager Jimy Williams was borderline abusive towards Mark Eichhorn in 1987. He used the reliever 89 times (127.2 IP) throughout the campaign.

    Eichhorn, not surprisingly, made seven appearances between June 2-13, the start and end dates of this streak.

    Top performers during streak: Tony Fernandez (.348/.412/.652), Dave Stieb (2-0, 1.42 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)

    Final 1987 record: 96-66

     

    Shortstop Tony Fernandez had several stints with U.S. teams while in the prime of his career. He re-signed north of the border in 1998 and had remarkable offensive value.

    Jose Canseco and Roger Clemens were other older guys holding up suspiciously well as the calendar turned to September. 

    Top performers during streak: Jose Canseco (.341/.438/.829), Roger Clemens (2-0, 1.06 ERA, 0.65 WHIP).

    Final 1998 record: 88-74

Washington Nationals: 10 Games (1979, 1980, 1997, 2005)

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    David Palmer didn't spend much of his rookie season as a starting pitcher.

    If he had been inserted into the rotation just a little while earlier, perhaps the Montreal Expos could have caught the division-leading Pittsburgh Pirates. They ultimately finished two games back.

    Top performer during streak: David Palmer (3-0, 0.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP).

    Final 1979 record: 95-65

     

    Again, the team fell devastatingly short of a playoff berth.

    Future Hall of Famer Andre Dawson was maturing into a superstar. He led the Expos on an encouraging streak June 4-13.

    Top performers during streak: Andre Dawson (.379/.500/.655), Steve Rogers (2-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.38 WHIP). 

    Final 1980 record: 90-72

     

    Pedro Martinez was clearly in no hurry to leave the National League. He toyed with inferior lineups all season, and pitched well June 6-16 when Montreal won 10 in a row.

    Top performer during streak: Pedro Martinez (1-0, 2.30 ERA, 0.89 WHIP).

    Final 1997 record: 78-84

     

    There was widespread excitement when the franchise relocated to Washington, D.C. in 2005. The fact that it was actually competing was too good to be true.

    Beyond the bullpen, the newly-created Nationals had plenty of weaknesses, all of which were exposed in the season's second half.

    Top performers during streak: Chad Cordero (6 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP), Nick Johnson (.406/.537/.636).

    Final 2005 record: 81-81