19th Century Streaks (The B-Side to 20th Century Boy)
The A's won again today, teasing the Twins by allowing them to take a lead and then taking it away. The A's were leading 2-0 until the top of sixth when the Twins tied it up on a Torii Hunter home run. The A's scored two in the bottom of the sixth. The Twins scored three in the top of the ninth on three solo home runs to take a 5-4 lead. The A's won the game in the bottom of the ninth a 3-run Miguel Tejada home run, his second of the game.
Their streak is now at 18 wins in a row. By all reports that would make them one of only 7 teams to accomplish this, the last being the 1953 Yankees. Right? Hold the phone. None of the media will ever acknowledge the 19th century game as if it never existed. My trusty 1977 TSN Baseball Record Book (sporting a spiffy-looking, be-afroed Randy Jones on the cover, by the way) lists all of the winning streaks 13 games and over. And there are a few 19th-century teams that get overlooked:
- 1880 Chicago White Stockings (NL), 21 straight, 67-17 overall, 1st place, +15 games in the standings
- 1884 Providence Grays (NL), 20, 84-28, 1st, +10.5 (Swept the NY Metropolitans in the Temple Cup, an early World Series between the NL and AA champs, the 1916 Giants thought that they established the record when they surpassed this team's streak-they were unaware of the 1880 record that was one game longer.)
- 1884 St. Louis Maroons (UA), 20, 94-19, 1st, +21 (this is the only team to survive the Union Assoc., moving into the NL in 1885 for two years.)
- 1885 Chicago White Stockings (NL), 18, 87-25, 1st, +2 (Cap Anson's White Stockings tied with Charles Commiskey's St. Louis Brown Stockings of the American Assoc. for the Temple Cup 3-3-1. St. Louis would soon join the NL and are now known as the Cardinals.)
- 1894 Baltimore Orioles (NL), 18, 89-39, 1st, +3 (The beginning of a three-dynasty for Ned Hanlon and the O's. They will be contracted 5 years later after falling to fourth and "only" 24 games over .500)
By the way, they are correct that the Mets have established a new NL consecutive home-game losing record. Next up are the Boston Pilgrims (AL), 19 straight in 1906 (49-105 overall, in last place) and the St. Louis Browns, 20 straight in 1953 (54-100 overall, in last place), their last season in St. Louis before becoming the Baltimore Orioles, both pretty dismal company. It's odd that the last time anyone matched either of these feats was 1953. What are the odds? By the way 46.5 games separated the New York Yankees and St. Louis Browns that year. Their two streaks only account for 38 of those.