September 05, 2002
The Amazing A's

Good grief! Twenty straight wins for the Oakland A's, the last one coming on a walk-off homer after coughing up an 11-run lead. They've got the best record in the American League, the best starting rotation anywhere, and speaking as a Yankees fan, they scare the bejeezus out of me. All this after a second straight year of being written off after a slow start. They may not win any individual awards, but don't go betting against them in the playoffs.

Two notes about the long streak: One, while the teams that won 19 in a row (the 1947 Yankees and the 1906 White Sox) also won the World Series, the teams with longer winning streaks (the 1935 Cubs, who won 21 straight, and the 1916 Giants, who won 26 including a tie) did not. The '35 Cubs did win their pennant, but the '16 Giants, amazingly enough, finished in fourth place at 86-66.

Two, a long winning streak isn't always this much fun. In Peter Golenbock's book Dynasty, about the Yankees from 1949 to 1964, he writes that manager Casey Stengel became a real hardass as the team put together an 18-game winning streak. Many players were actually relieved when the streak finally ended and Stengel returned to his normal temperament. Fortunately for the A's, Art Howe hasn't imitated this behavior.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 05, 2002 to Baseball