Most say, “Records are meant to be broken.” While this is true, many circumstances when it comes to the number of individual baseball statistics complied over its long history, there are those records that will not. With most stats focusing on players’ achievements, there is one teams aim for: the 26-game winning streak set by the 1916 New York Giants.
When John McGraw‘s Giants set this record one hundred years ago, there have only been two teams to make it to twenty games since the National and American Leagues came together in 1903. Both the 1935 Chicago Cubs (21) and Oakland A’s (20) have come the closest, with each finishing the regular season with a hundred wins. Ironically, three teams with the longest winning streaks in Major League Baseball, also did not win a World Series Championship.
While the Cubs and A’s were strong teams who made it into the postseason, the 1916 New York Giants roller coaster season was marked by poor play, losing streaks, Christy Mathewson‘s trade to the Cincinnati Reds, and two winning streaks. Along with the 26 games, the Giants had also put together a 17-game winning streak that were all won on the road in May, but for the next three months,New York played uninspired baseball, posting a 40-47 record and falling behind the first place Philadelphia Athletics by 13.5 games.
However, it was on September 7th the Giants’ Ferdie Schupp beat the Brooklyn Robins’ Nap Rucker‚ 4-1‚ to launch New York’s record 26-game winning streak. Over the course of the next month, the Giants’ offense and hitting came together to dominate the league. They swept a six game series with Honus Wagner‘s Pirates, and at the same time, Schupp was putting together a 27 consecutive-inning scoreless streak. However, the streak ended in the second game of a doubleheader against the Boston Braves on September 30, 1916.
Despite this incredible record, the Giants still finished five games back of Brooklyn in fourth place, but how should this winning streak and this team, measure up in comparison with other records? At best, the New York Giants’ were an average team who had managed to put their talents together for one month, but a team is always remembered for championships. Each of these three teams have etched their place in the record books, but their legacy is that of a number instead of a championship banner.