By Cliff Corcoran
The Cleveland Indians won their 16th consecutive game on Friday night, besting the franchise record set last year and becoming just the third team in modern Major League history to have winning streaks of 14 or more games in consecutive years (joining the 1935-36 Cubs and 1912-13 Giants). They're also the first club since the 2002 A's to win at least 15 straight.
Since 1900, there have been just 27 winning streaks of 15 or more games in the Majors. Seventeen of them occurred between 1903 and 1936. Here are the other 10, in chronological order.
1946 Red Sox, 15 games
Future Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr, shortstop Johnny Pesky, center fielder Dom DiMaggio and ace Tex Hughson were all enlisted men the previous year. In 1946, they all returned to action and the Red Sox won their first pennant since 1918, aided by a 21-3 start that included this 15-game winning streak, as well as a 12-game streak from late May into June. The 1946's team's 104 wins remains the second most in franchise history (behind 105 in 1912). They finished 12 games ahead of second-place Detroit but lost the World Series to the Cardinals on Enos Slaughter's "mad dash" home with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 7.
1947 Yankees, 19 games
This streak -- from June 29 through July 17 -- tied the Yanks with the 1906 White Sox for what was then the third-longest winning streak in modern Major League history. It has since been surpassed just once, leaving the '47 Yankees and '06 White Sox tied for fourth all-time. The Yankees added seven games to their lead over the course of that streak, won the pennant by 12 games over the Tigers and beat the Dodgers in the World Series thanks in part to five scoreless innings of relief from Fireman Joe Page in Game 7.
1951 Giants, 16 games
The Giants were 13 games behind the first-place Dodgers the morning before this streak began with a doubleheader sweep of the Phillies on Aug. 12. When it was over, they had climbed to within five games of Brooklyn. New York finished its schedule by winning 12 of 13 to force a three-game playoff against the Dodgers, which concluded with Bobby Thompson's pennant-winning "shot heard around the world" home run off Ralph Branca. The Cinderella story ended there, however, as the Yankees beat the Giants in the World Series in six games.
1953 Yankees, 18 games
This Yankees' streak tied the 1904 Giants' for the fifth-longest in the modern era, and those two remain tied for sixth. Over the course of this streak, which lasted from May 27 through a doubleheader on June 14, the Yankees added eight games to their AL lead, which arguably made it the difference in the pennant race that year, as New York edged Cleveland by 8 1/2 games, leaving three scheduled games unplayed at year's end. The Yanks then beat the Dodgers in six games in the World Series to become the only team to win five consecutive championships.
1960 Yankees, 15 games
On the morning of Sept. 16, the Yankees and Orioles were tied for first place in the American League. The Yanks then won every game remaining on their schedule, 15 in all, to win the pennant by eight games. They lost both the first game of the World Series and the first game of the 1961 season, so their streak ended there, but the World Series didn't end until Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 gave the Pirates an upset win over the mighty Bronx Bombers.
1977 Royals, 16 games
The Royals were in fourth place in a tight AL West race on the morning of Aug. 17. They then won 10 in a row through Aug. 26 to take a three-game lead in the division, and won 24 of 25 from Aug. 31 through a Sept. 25 doubleheader to open up a 10 1/2-game lead. Altogether, Kansas City went 35-4 over a 39-game span on its way to what remains a franchise-record 102 wins. However, for the second straight year, the Yankees beat them in a five-game AL Championship Series to claim the pennant.
1991 Twins, 15 games
The '91 Twins finished May in fifth place in the AL West with a 23-25 record, but peeled off this 15-game to open the month of June, which propelled them all the way to the top of the division by June 16. They would own at least a share of first place for the remainder of the season, trounce the Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series, then win one of the greatest World Series of all time over the Braves behind Jack Morris' 10-inning shutout in Game 7. They are the most recent (and just one of three teams on this list) to win 15 or more consecutive regular-season games and a championship in the same season.
2000 Braves, 15 games
The defending National League champions started their streak on the second Sunday of the regular season. During its course, they moved into their customary place atop the NL East standings on their way to the ninth of their record 14 straight division titles (not counting the strike-shortened 1994, which froze them in second place). However, the Braves stumbled in August, briefly falling out of first as the calendar flipped to September, eked out the division title by a single game after a 1-4 finish to the season, then were swept by the Cardinals in the Division Series, losing the final two games by a combined score of 17-5.
2001 Mariners, 15 games
On their way to a record-tying 116 wins, the Mariners already had enjoyed winning streaks of eight and nine games and opened up a 10-game lead in the AL West before this streak began on May 23. By the end of the streak, on June 8, they were up by 17 games. However, like the 1951 Giants and 1977 Royals, they met their end when they faced the Yankees in the postseason, winning just one game against New York in the ALCS.
2002 A's, 20 games
The last team to win 15 or more games did so in such a dramatic fashion that their streak served as the climax to an Oscar-nominated film about the team. These are the "Moneyball" A's, whose 20-game winning streak, the third-longest since the 1880s, culminated in three walk-off wins, the last on Scott Hatteberg's now-famous home run (recreated on film by a pre-mega-stardom Chris Pratt) in the 20th game. The streak started on Aug. 13 with the A's in third place, 4 1/2 games behind the Mariners in the AL West. When it was over, the A's were in first place, 3 1/2 games up with just 23 games left to play in the season. Oakland won 103 games and the division, but ran aground against the Twins in the postseason, blowing a 2-1 lead in the Division Series with a blowout loss in Game 4 and a ninth-inning rally in Game 5 that fell one run short (not reenacted in the movie).