It was a streak that seemed like it might never end. The Indians were firing on all cylinders, cruising to victory night in and night out.
Cleveland's pitching staff completed seven shutouts and the offense scored double digits six times as the club dominated during the 22-game stretch, outscoring its opponents 142-37.
Finally, on Friday, Sept. 15, the Indians' winning streak came to an end with a 4-3 defeat to the Royals at Progressive Field. The Cleveland players and coaches remained on the field following the loss, receiving a rousing standing ovation from the sold-out crowd for their accomplishments. The streak is the second-longest in baseball history and the longest in American League history, besting the 20-game record previously held by the 2002 Athletics.
"They've been so supportive," manager Terry Francona said, acknowledging the crowd. "It's just been pretty incredible how they've reacted and we just wanted to show our appreciation, because we don't take it for granted."
The streak, a national phenomenon as the wins piled up, has been honored with an Esurance MLB Award for the Best Trending Topic category. Umpire John Tumpane, who helped save a woman's life on the Roberto Clemente Bridge prior to calling the Rays vs. Pirates game on June 28 at PNC Park, was also honored.
Few stories from the season matched the special nature of Tumpane's heroics. Going about his day, the 34-year-old was in the midst of walking back to his hotel from lunch in downtown Pittsburgh when he saw a woman climb over the railing of the bridge. She told him she was trying to get "a better look" from the side of the rail closest to the water.
Tumpane realized the woman was attempting to jump into the Allegheny River below, but he was able to hold onto her long enough for the local police to arrive and help get her to safety.
"In the right place at the right time," Tumpane told reporters before the game on June 28. "I just happened to be there. I think I've been a caring person in my life. I saw somebody in need, and it looked like a situation to obviously insert myself and help out."
The woman was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, following the incident.
"Not too many times you call your wife and say you helped save somebody's life," he said. "Kind of a lot of emotions, then it came time to focus. It's also hard when you stand back behind home plate and look and you see the bridge in the distance, in between innings and whatnot, just thinking of how things could have maybe been. Glad it was this way."
The Pirates honored Tumpane's efforts with a moment prior to the game the following evening. Fans showered him with a lengthy applause as he tipped his cap to the crowd.
The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor MLB's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five groups, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at MLB.com and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members.
The MLB Awards are an all-inclusive program, encompassing the top players and performances from both the American and National Leagues from Opening Day through the end of the postseason.
Voting led off with seven categories (Personality of the Year; Best Defensive Player; Best Play, Offense; Best Play, Defense; Best Performance; Best Fan Catch; Best Player-Fan Interaction) on Sept. 18 at mlb.com/awards, serving as the grand entrance of a program that unveiled nominees for Best Call, TV/Radio; Best Major Leaguer, Postseason; and Best Postseason Moment following the Fall Classic's final out.
The ninth inning of voting began around BBWAA Awards week, giving fans the opportunity to help determine the Best Major Leaguer, Pitcher, Rookie, Manager and Executive. Winners will be announced on MLB Network and MLB.com tonight at 8 ET.