Few storylines are more compelling than a long winning streak, with the excitement growing higher day by day. They can’t go on forever, but they’re fun while they last.
The 2021 season has brought its fair share of long winning streaks, including a franchise record. The Astros, Brewers and Rays all put together 11 wins in a row, the A’s and Yankees got to 13, and the Cardinals are rolling on franchise record 16-game winning streak after Sunday's victory against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
How does St. Louis' run stack up next to every other franchise's record? Below is a look at the longest winning streaks within a single season for each of the 30 Major League clubs in the Modern Era (since 1900). (All-time franchise records are also noted, if different).
June 16-26, 1964
The expansion Angels strung this streak together in only their fourth season of existence, and they haven’t matched it since. The Halos were just 24-37 when the run began, and they just snuck over the .500 mark overall (82-80).
Astros: 12 (three times)
Most recent: June 6-18, 2018
Houston also reached 12 straight in 1999 and 2004, and they equaled that record in 2018, as part of a 103-59 season -- the club’s second of three straight campaigns with 100-plus victories. Most impressively, the 2018 streak included 10 road wins.
Aug. 13 - Sept. 4, 2002
If you’ve seen the movie version of “Moneyball,” then you can probably visualize this one, even if you weren't watching at the time. Billy Beane’s feisty Oakland underdogs began the streak in third place in the AL West, 4 1/2 games out, and finished it with a 3 1/2-game lead, going on to win the division. Each of the final three victories during this stretch were walk-offs, culminating in a wild 12-11 victory over the Royals in which the A’s blew an early 11-0 lead before winning in the bottom of the ninth.
Blue Jays: 11 (five times)
Most recent: Aug. 2-13, 2015
The 2015 season was a special one in Toronto. Buoyed by sluggers José Bautista, Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnación -- plus Trade Deadline additions David Price and Troy Tulowitzki -- the Blue Jays reeled off not one but two 11-game winning streaks (the first was in June), won the AL East and made it to the ALCS in their first playoff appearance since 1993.
April 16-May 2, 2000
It makes sense that the Braves’ longest streak would have come between 1991-2005, when they won 14 straight division titles (not counting the 1994 strike year). The 2000 club, which went 95-67, did not allow more than four runs in any of these 15 games.
All-time record: 18 (Sept. 16-Oct. 2, 1891)
April 6-20, 1987
If you count the end of the 1986 season, this streak actually went on for 16 games in all, with the ‘87 club starting 13-0. Unfortunately for Milwaukee, after moving to 20-3, it embarked upon a 12-game losing streak, which is tied for the second longest in franchise history. The Brew crew still won 91 games but missed the playoffs.
Sept. 11-26, 2021
St. Louis set a new franchise-record win streak with Saturday's victory at Wrigley Field. The Cardinals sat three games back (and behind two clubs) for the NL’s second Wild Card spot and held postseason odds of just 8%, per FanGraphs, when they beat the Reds on Sept. 11 to begin the streak, which gave them a firm grasp on that final playoff spot entering the regular season’s final week. Player-manager Frankie Frisch’s 1935 Redbirds, the just-eclipsed group that won 14 straight games, were no slouches, either. The “Gashouse Gang” Cards went 96-58 behind the pitching of the Dean Brothers (Dizzy and Paul), who combined to win half of the club’s games during the streak.
All-time record: 17 (May 5-June 1, 1885*)
* The Cardinals played in the American Association until joining the NL in 1892.
Aug. 24-Sept. 14, 2017
This is the longest win streak in AL history and tied with the 1935 Cubs for the longest AL/NL win streak that wasn’t interrupted by a tie. Cleveland, who had just lost a seven-game World Series heartbreaker to the Cubs the year prior, was loaded with a talented pitching staff headed by AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer alongside offensive stars Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez. The club’s final win of the streak was arguably its most thrilling, coming on a 10th-inning, walk-off double by Jay Bruce with the entire baseball world watching.
Sept. 4-27, 1935
This was the AL/NL record for the longest win streak uninterrupted by ties until Cleveland surpassed it in 2017. It was held by an excellent 100-win Cubs team led by Hall of Famers Gabby Hartnett, Billy Herman, Chuck Klein and Freddie Lindstrom and began with the Cubs 2 1/2 games behind the “Gashouse Gang” Cardinals before it propelled them to the NL pennant. Chicago lost the 1935 World Series to the Tigers, and it would not win 100 games in any season again until the 2016 team finally snapped the franchise’s title drought.
All-time record: 21 (June 2-July 8, 1880)
Aug. 24-Sept. 6, 2017
This streak wasn’t nearly enough to help the D-backs catch the dominant Dodgers in the NL West, as Arizona trailed Los Angeles by 21 games when it picked up its first win on Aug. 24. It did help propel the D-backs into the NL Wild Card Game, however, where they defeated the division rival Rockies before falling to the Dodgers in an NLDS sweep. J.D. Martinez provided the streak’s biggest highlight when he homered four times at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 4.
Aug. 25-Sept. 6, 1924
The Dodgers have trotted out numerous dominant teams, especially in the 2010s and early 2020s, but the franchise record win streak still belongs to manager Wilbert Robinson’s 1924 Brooklyn Robins. The club’s longest streak since moving to Los Angeles is 13, set twice by the Sandy Koufax-era Dodgers and most recently in ’65.
Sept. 7-30, 1916
This remains the record for the longest win streak in Modern Era AL/NL history, though it did include a tie against the Pirates in the second game of a doubleheader on Sept. 18. New York had also reeled off a 17-game win streak (with no ties) in May of that season, but the club went 43-66-2 outside of those two streaks to somehow only finish fourth in the NL.
May 23-June 8, 2001
Of course 2001 would contain the high-water mark for the Mariners, considering that year’s club tied the all-time AL/NL regular season wins record at 116. Seattle had already built an 11-game lead in the AL West when it began this 15-game win streak, effectively putting the division title out of reach before Memorial Day.
Marlins: 9 (five times)
Most recent: Sept. 9-19, 2008
The Marlins are the only current franchise to have never enjoyed a win streak of at least 10 games, though they have come close on five separate occasions. In fact, the 2006 Marlins posted two different nine-game win streaks in June and August before finishing 78-84 in manager Joe Girardi’s lone year at the helm.
Mets: 11 (five times)
Most recent: April 12-23, 2015
This 2015 win streak came before the Mets acquired Yoenis Céspedes at the July 31 Trade Deadline, as New York fell to second place over the summer before Céspedes’ electric addition helped it catch and surpass the Nationals for the division title. The Mets wound up winning the NL pennant in ’15, and they also put up 11-game win streaks during their World Series-winning campaigns in 1969 and ‘86.
Nationals: 10 (five times)
Most recent: Aug. 12-21, 2014
The 2014 Nationals used this streak to seal a division title and the NL’s best overall record before the Giants upset them in the NLDS. The Nationals also reeled off 10 straight wins in their debut season in Washington, D.C., in 2005, with the Expos having achieved that same streak three times in 1979, ‘80 and ‘97.
Orioles: 14 (twice)
Most recent: Aug. 12-27, 1973
This was during a period of dominance in which manager Earl Weaver’s Orioles claimed five AL East division titles in a span of six years between 1969-74, with the ‘73 club led by the likes of Don Baylor, Paul Blair, Mike Cuellar, Bobby Grich, Dave McNally, Boog Powell and Jim Palmer, who took home the first of his three career AL Cy Young Awards. The 14 straight wins collected by that group tied the original franchise record set in 1916 when the team was known as the St. Louis Browns.
Another streak that warrants mention: Weaver’s Orioles reeled off 11 straight wins (three of the last four in walk-off fashion) to roll into the 1970 postseason, swept the Twins in the ALCS and built a 3-0 lead in the World Series before finally dropping Game 4 to the Reds. They won the title the next day, and then won their first three games of their title defense in ‘71.
June 18-July 2, 1999
The 1999 Padres still had key pieces from the club that captured the prior year’s NL pennant, including Andy Ashby, Tony Gwynn, Sterling Hitchock, Trevor Hoffman and Wally Joyner. That winning DNA revealed itself in midsummer when a 14-game win streak lifted the Friars from fifth to third place in the NL West, but the previous winter’s losses of stars like Kevin Brown, Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley were felt the rest of the way as San Diego finished 74-88.
Phillies: 13 (twice)
Most recent: July 30-Aug. 12, 1991
The 1991 Phillies finished below .500 but the club already had major contributors that would lead them to the NL pennant two years later, including Darren Daulton, Lenny Dykstra, Jon Kruk, Mickey Morandini, Terry Mulholland and Mitch Williams. Philadelphia also reeled off 13 straight wins in Aug. 1977, a year in which it won 101 contests before falling to the Dodgers in the NLCS.
All-time record: 16 (Sept. 15-Oct. 8, 1887)
Sept. 9-27, 1909
This was Pittsburgh’s first World Series champion club led by Hall of Famers Fred Clarke, Honus Wagner and Vic Willis. The Pirates met the Tigers in a Fall Classic that pitted Wagner against Ty Cobb -- widely considered at the time to be a showdown between the Major's two best players.
May 12-27, 1991
Manager Bobby Valentine’s Rangers snapped a four-game losing streak that had dropped them to sixth place in the AL West with a win against the Red Sox on May 12, and then they kept on winning for a two-week stretch that briefly set them in first. Texas was unable to keep that momentum, however, starting a roller-coaster stretch in which it immediately lost 11 of its next 12 contests before ripping off another seven-game win streak. Things evened out to an 85-77 record at season’s end.
June 9-22, 2004
This streak stands out as an odd one from a period when the then-Devil Rays were not a winning ballclub. Manager Lou Piniella’s team was languishing in last place in the AL East when it began this 12-game win streak, which briefly moved Tampa Bay up to third in the division before it finished fourth with a 70-91 record.
Red Sox: 15
April 25-May 10, 1946
Boston famously went 86 years between winning World Series championships from 1908-2004, but the ‘46 season represented one of its closest drought-snapping attempts. Ted Williams had just returned from serving as a fighter pilot in World War II and captured that year’s AL MVP Award with an incredible .342/.497/.667 slash line and 38 home runs.
The first win of this streak moved the Red Sox into first place and they never looked back the rest of the season before ultimately losing a heartbreaker to the Cardinals on Enos Slaughter’s “Mad Dash” home in Game 7 of the World Series.
Reds: 12 (twice)
Most recent: April 30-May 12, 1957
The 1957 Reds used this early season streak to surge to the top of the NL standings, but they relinquished that lead by mid-June and, save a brief few days in early July, were unable to stay up there before finishing the season in fourth place. Cincinnati also won 12 straight in May 1939, a pennant-winning season that culminated in a World Series loss to the Yankees. The Reds also reeled off 13 straight wins between their last six games of the 1918 season and the first seven of ‘19 -- the year they defeated the Black Sox in the Fall Classic.
All-time record: 14 (July 26-Aug. 12, 1899)
Rockies: 11 (twice)
Most recent: June 4-14, 2009
Colorado’s more famous 11-game win streak occurred two years prior in 2007, when the Rockies got white-hot in September to force a Game 163 tiebreaker with the Padres (which they won) before sweeping through the NLDS and NLCS in what became affectionately known in Denver as “Rocktober.” The Red Sox finally cooled the Rockies off with a four-game sweep in the World Series.
Aug. 31-Sept. 15, 1977
The late 1970s represented the first period of glory for a Royals franchise that entered as an expansion club in ‘69. Kansas City had just made its first postseason appearance in ‘76 before reloading for another October in ‘77 thanks to stars like George Brett, Al Cowens, Dennis Leonard, Hal McRae and Darrel Porter. The Royals fell to the Yankees in the ‘76, ‘77 and ‘78 ALCS before finally vanquishing their bitter rivals en route to the ‘80 pennant.
Tigers: 14 (twice)
Most recent: July 31-Aug. 14, 1934
The 1934 Tigers won a then-franchise record 101 games thanks to a stacked roster that included Hall of Famers Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer, Goose Goslin and Hank Greenberg. The club lost a tight seven-game World Series to the “Gashouse Gang” Cardinals before finishing the job in the ‘35 Fall Classic against the Cubs. Detroit also won 14 straight in 1909 when the club was led by Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford.
Twins: 15 games
June 1-16, 1991
All but five of these wins came in the Metrodome, hardly surprising considering that the 1991 Twins dominated at home (.630 win percentage) and used their “dome-field advantage” to claim all four of their victories over the Braves in that year’s World Series.
All-time record (as Senators): 17 (May 30-June 18, 1912)
White Sox: 19
Aug. 2-23, 1906
The 1906 Sox were known as the “Hitless Wonders,” but they sure did a lot of winning. This streak included a tie against the New York Highlanders on Aug. 13, meaning Chicago went 20 straight games without a loss. The South Siders went on to upset the 116-win Cubs in the World Series.
June 29-July 17, 1947
This was during a time when it really seemed to fans like the Yankees never lost. This 1947 pinstripes club featuring stars like Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Allie Reynolds and a 22-year-old rookie named Yogi Berra went on to defeat the Dodgers in a seven-game World Series, finished third in ’48 and then reeled off five straight World Series titles from 1949-53 -- part of an incredible stretch that saw the Bronx Bombers win 16 Fall Classics in a 26-year span.