Notable streak-busting games in MLB history

September 6th, 2020

They say that all good things must end, and the same goes for amazing streaks in baseball. With that in mind, here’s a look at how some of baseball's most famous streaks ended.

Note: These streaks are still the record in their respective category.

Cal Ripken Jr.’s consecutive-games streak
Lou Gehrig earned the nickname The Iron Horse for playing in 2,130 straight games from May 30, 1982, until May 2, 1939. And that record stood until Ripken appeared in an incredible 2,632 games from May 30, 1982, to Sept. 19, 1998. This isn’t a streak that was ended by an opposing pitcher. Instead the notable name here is who played in Ripken’s place. The Orioles’ third baseman that day was Ryan Minor, who started in the team’s final home game of the year. Minor -- who is perhaps more famous for being an All-American basketball player at Oklahoma -- appeared in 142 Major League games across four seasons from 1998 through 2001. He was manager of the Frederick Keys, the Orioles' Class A Advanced affiliate, in two separate stints, the second running from 2018-19.

Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak
In the summer of 1941, DiMaggio famously got a base hit in 56 straight games, but on July 17 he wasn’t able to push that to 57. A combination of Al Smith, the Indians’ starter that day at Cleveland Stadium, and Jim Bagby, who threw 1 2/3 innings in relief, limited DiMaggio to 0-for-3 with a walk that day. The two pitchers combined to allow eight hits to Yankees batters. DiMaggio got a hit in the next 16 games after that streak-ender, and his overall on-base streak lasted 74 games.

Most consecutive games with a HR, individual
This record is held by three individuals, all of whom went deep in eight straight games. The first such streak was Dale Long’s in 1956. His streak ended on May 29 in a game against the Dodgers. Don Newcombe pitched a complete game against Long and the Pirates, allowing a run, but no homers.

Then there was Don Mattingly’s streak in 1987. He homered in eight straight before a July 19 contest in Texas in which Greg Harris and Jeff Russell combined to keep him in the yard. The Yankees did homer that day, but it came from Mike Easler.

And most recently, Ken Griffey Jr. homered in eight straight games for Seattle in 1993. His streak ended on July 29, against the Twins. Scott Erickson, Larry Casian and Carl Willis kept Griffey and his teammates in the yard, though the Mariners won the game.

Most consecutive games with a home run, team
Prior to the Yankees setting a new standard in 2019, the previous record was held by the 2002 Rangers, led by Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro. Texas homered in 27 straight games, from Aug. 11 to Sept. 9. The Yankees' streak ended at 31 games on July 2, after reaching all the way across the pond to the London Series for games 30 and 31 of the streak. Mets' pitchers held the Yankees in the park at Citi Field in the first of a two-game set between the crosstown rivals.

Most consecutive postseason games with a HR, individual
Daniel Murphy carried the Mets to the World Series in 2015, homering in six straight games from Game 4 of the National League Division Series through Game 4 of the NL Championship Series to break Carlos Beltran’s record from 2004. But in Game 1 of the World Series, Edinson Volquez, Kelvin Herrera, Luke Hochevar and Chris Young combined to keep Murphy 2-for-7 without an extra-base hit. In his 16 postseason games since the final game of the streak in the 2015 NLCS, Murphy has one home run.

Most consecutive postseason games with a home run, team
The Astros were dominant in the 2017 postseason and got off to a similar such start in the 2018 postseason. They homered in 15 straight postseason games from Game 6 of the 2017 ALCS through Game 2 of the ALCS in the following year. But in Game 3 against the Red Sox, they got just one extra-base hit, a double from Alex Bregman, and were otherwise held in check by a combination of Nathan Eovaldi, Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Longest winning streak in MLB history
The New York Giants won an MLB-record 26 straight games in 1916. It is widely known that the streak did include a tie -- but per the Elias Sports Bureau, a tie is not a decision in baseball, and it therefore is skipped over and does not count. The streak ended on Sept. 30, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Boston Braves. The Giants lost 8-3, and lost their next two games, too.

Longest winning streak to start a season
The record for consecutive wins to start a season is shared by two teams -- the 1982 Braves and 1987 Brewers. Both teams won 13 straight games. The Braves notched win number 13 in walk-off fashion, when Claudell Washington singled to beat the Reds in the bottom of the ninth. But there was no similar outcome the next day, despite a close score. The Braves went up 1-0 in the second inning, but gave up two runs in the top of the fifth -- with the go-ahead run scoring on a single from Reds pitcher Bruce Berenyi. The Braves weren’t able to come back, and lost, 2-1.

The Brewers’ streak-ending game wasn’t nearly as close. After winning 13 straight, they faced the White Sox in Chicago in game number 14. The White Sox scored in each of the first three innings against the Brewers to go up 5-0, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Most consecutive games without being shut out
The Yankees went 308 consecutive games without being shut out over a stretch from 1931 through 1933. But the streak ended when they ran into Lefty Grove on Aug. 3 at Yankee Stadium. Grove had already faced the Yankees twice before that season, allowing five runs and 11 hits in a complete-game effort on June 10. But that early August start was another story. Earle Combs was 3-for-4 and Tony Lazzeri and Bill Dickey had one hit each -- but that was it. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, among the others in the Yankees’ lineup, were held hitless, and the team wasn’t able to manufacture even a run. It was the only time they were shut out that season, and they weren’t shut out again until May 30, 1934.

Longest losing streak in modern era (since 1900)
From July 29 through Aug. 20 in 1961, the Phillies lost 23 straight games, the most consecutive losses any team has had in a season in the modern era. But in the second game of a doubleheader on Aug. 20 in Milwaukee against the Braves, Philadelphia finally broke through for a win. The Phillies trailed 1-0 after the bottom of the third, but came back to score two runs in the top of the fourth to grab a lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Phillies won 7-4 to stop the losing streak, and start another streak -- they'd win four in a row total before losing again on Aug. 25 in the second game of a doubleheader also against the Braves, but at home.

Longest losing streak to start a season in modern era (since 1900)
The Orioles' start in 1988 pretty much couldn't have gone worse. Baltimore lost 12-0 on Opening Day, and the losing didn't stop there. The O's went on to lose 21 straight games total, the longest losing streak to start a season in the modern era. At long last, they broke through on April 29, in the 10th game of a 12-game road trip. Visiting the White Sox at Comiskey Park, the Orioles won 9-0 to record their first win of the season -- on April 29. Entering that day, every other team in the Majors had won at least three games and 14 teams had 10 or more wins. The Orioles won behind an offensive output that included homers from both Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.