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Looking back on the longest winning streaks in Yankees history

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It’s been quite some time since the Yankees last went on a run like this one.

Spring Training - New York Yankees Photo by: Diamond Images/Getty Images

Earlier in 2021, the A’s went on a 13-game winning streak that inspired me to take a look back in Yankees history at the longest runs of their own. I had a feeling that it’d been awhile since the Yankees had even remotely approached their franchise record from 1947 of 19, which had also been the American League record for decades. However, I definitely hadn’t realized just how scarce winning streaks longer than 10 had been since the ‘47 champions.

Aside from the historic 19-gamer, such streaks aren’t typically associated with the Bronx Bombers. As Bob Costas noted in a clip from “Moneyball,” even all-time great teams sometimes just don’t have lengthy runs like that since they’re so inherently random.

Sure enough, the 1927, 1932, and 1998 Yankees combined for 331 wins and World Series sweeps in each season. None of them won more than 10 in a row.

Yet the 2021 Yankees have managed to get the job done. They took their winning streak to double-digits by snapping the Braves’ own run on August 23rd, the first matchup of two teams of nine-game winning streaks since 1901. Ten-game winning streaks in the Bronx have occurred three times this century and as recently as a year ago, but taking it to 11 as the Bombers did in a Tuesday nailbiter? That hadn’t happened in 36 years. Once they brought it to 12 on August 26th (at the hands of the A’s themselves), that took them somewhere they hadn’t been since the legendary 1961 Yankees of Mantle and Maris.

In tribute to the memorable run and with an assist from the ever-useful Stathead tool at Baseball Reference, I’ve run through all the winning streaks in Yankees history and compiled a list of every single one that ran double-digits, for reference. I’m not going to write extensively about all of them since we’d be here all day, but I might remark on some notable aspects of a few here and there. Without further ado ...

The Double-Digit Club

In Yankees history, 30 teams have put together at least one 10-game winning streak. It’s not exactly common, but it does happen every now and then, including as recently as last year.

2020: September 9 - September 19
Note: Winning streak highlight reel:

2012: June 8 - June 18
Note: Win No. 10 highlight clip

2005: May 7 - May 17
Note: Immediately followed 11-19 start; led by Tino Martinez’s resurgence

1998: June 30 - July 12
Note: Longest winning streak in the winningest season in team history (114)

1994: May 6 - May 15

1987: April 13 - April 23

1968: September 7 - September 15
Note: Team immediately lost 10 of the next 11 games. CBS Era Yankees, baby!

1958: May 13 - May 23

1957: June 13 - June 23

1954: August 10 - August 19
Note: Second of two 10-game winning streaks for ‘54 Yankees, who did not win pennant

1939: August 20 - August 28
Note: Also the second of two 10-game winning streaks in a single season

1932: August 6 - August 17

1931: September 13 - September 20

1920: May 25 - June 2
Note: Babe Ruth during this winning streak: .412/.545/1.176, 8 homers, lol

11-Game Winning Streaks

1985: August 31 - September 10
Note: The Yankees’ longest winning streak in the last 55 years; was almost enough to swipe the AL East title from the 99-win Blue Jays (radio call)

1964: September 16 - September 26
Note: Kicked off come-from-behind stretch to win last Mantle Era pennant not long after infamous Yogi Berra/Phil Linz “Harmonica Incident”

1956: July 4 - July 17

1942: July 12 - July 22

1926: July 21 - August 1
Note: Second of two 11-game winning streaks in ‘26. Babe Ruth only had a 1.123 OPS in this one. Lazy.

1906: May 22 - June 2
Note: First of two 11-game winning streaks for a very odd 1906 club

12-Game Winning Streaks

1939: May 9 - May 23
Note: Second of two 10-game winning streaks in ‘39, began just a week after Lou Gehrig ended his then-record streak of consecutive games player (2,130) — and his career. After this 12-gamer was snapped, they won six in a row and their season record was 33-7. That will play.

1905: July 23 - August 7
Note: The first double-digit winning streak in team history

13-Game Winning Streaks

2021: August 14 - August 27
Note: The current run, which has surged the Yankees from a few games back of Boston and Oakland in the AL Wild Card hunt to the front of the pack. If this was the cost of doing business with the baseball gods in exchange for dropping the Field of Dreams Game in memorable fashion, then I’ll take this trade every time. As previously mentioned, it’s the Yankees’ longest winning streak in 60 years.

1961: September 1 - September 12
Note: Mantle and Maris each went deep five times as part of their home run race; Elston Howard had a big walk-off shot in this run, too. What a team.

1954: July 3 - July 18
Note: First of two 10-game winning streaks in ‘54. Again, this team did not win the pennant. Blame Cleveland.

14-Game Winning Streaks

1941: June 28 - July 13
Note: Coincided with games No. 40 through No. 53 of Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game hitting streak; the Hall of Famer had them all playing hot, and Red Ruffing threw an 11-inning, three-hit shutout to win 1-0 and secure victory No. 14

15-Game Winning Streaks

1960: September 16 - October 2
Note: Last of seven 10-game winning streaks under Casey Stengel. Stretched to regular season finale, when Dale Long hit a two-run, walk-off homer to come from behind and beat the Red Sox in 10 innings, 8-7. This was the incredible momentum that the Yankees were riding when they were heavily favored against the underdog Pirates in the World Series. Blame Stengel for Game 1.

1906: August 29 - September 8
Note: The second of two 11-game winning streaks for the weird 1906 Highlanders. They’d come just short of their first pennant in 1904 and threatened the White Sox this time thanks to the two streaks. They needed all the help they could get, as Chicago had just won 19 in a row themselves. Just as he did in 1904, spitballing ace Jack Chesbro went into overdrive and won 6 of the 15 games during this streak all by himself. They led Chicago by 1.5 games after play on September 8th, but they played like a .500 team all year long outside of the two winning streaks. Sure enough, a 13-13 finish fell short and the White Sox won the pennant.

16-Game Winning Streaks

1926: May 10 - May 26
Note: Second of two 11-game winning streaks for 1926 club. As Matt recounted, when this streak began, they were half a game back of the Tigers. When the dust cleared and they’d captured 16 games in a row, they were 8.5 games ahead and never looked back, rolling to the AL pennant. Babe Ruth had a 1.356 OPS and nine homers in this run. An absurd human who may not have actually existed if you ask me.

18-Game Winning Streaks

1953: May 27 - June 14
Note: Stengel’s pièce de résistance streak and one of the most dominant stretches of baseball ever seen. They simply bludgeoned opponents on this incredible run, outscoring them 129-44 with a team-wide .845 OPS and 2.32 ERA, building up a 10.5-game lead in the AL with a 41-11 record en route to their fifth World Series title in a row.

19-Game Winning Streaks

1947: June 29 - July 17

Considering the fact that this is the most famous winning streak in franchise history, it deserves more than a blurb. Bucky Harris’s club was tied with the 1906 White Sox for the American League record for 55 years until the A’s broke it in 2002. I’ve written about this run before (many years ago), but some facts are still worth repeating:

  • This was no home cooking, as 13 of the Yankees’ 19 wins came on the road, spread all around the league — Washington, Boston, St. Louis, Chicago, and Cleveland
  • Buried in those 13 road contests, the Yankees had to play four doubleheaders in three cities across a six-day span. They swept them all, including two in Cleveland on July 17th to stretch to 19 wins. That’s some work.
  • The Yankees’ pitching staff notched an ERA of 2.00 across the streak, and led by Joe DiMaggio’s 1.097 OPS, the team had an .804 OPS
  • The Yankees went from 39-26 to 58-26 in the blink of an eye, increasing a modest 4.5-game lead to 11.5 in just a few weeks; the American League race was never close again