Thursday’s win was the most rare event in baseball history – Bucyrus Telegraph Forum
Jose Ramirez rounded third base Thursday and trotted his way across home plate and into history. More than 30,000 fans stood to roar at the historic sight, and I wish I had been there at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario with them.
Cleveland faithful will probably never again see something quite like Jay Bruce’s walk-off, RBI double to claim the longest streak of consecutive wins in the history of Major League Baseball. Sure, there will be more walk-off wins, there will be more winning streaks and hopefully there will be a World Series title, or two.
But the 2017 Cleveland Indians just gave the most loyal fans in sporting history something much more rare than a world championship. It was so rare that it’s only happened once in the entire history of baseball, and mankind.
And it happened for a group of supporters who are probably the most appreciative fans in the history of sports.
Life as an Indians fan started for me in 1995 in our showdown against Atlanta’s epic pitching rotation. They had their tomahawks, but we had Chief Wahoo. I never dreamed pitches from Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine would sneak by the bats of Thome, Belle and Murray. My 8-year-old heart was crushed after six games.
In 1997, it was the Marlins. The wildcard team. They were the bums of baseball, but they beat our veterans in seven games. It wasn’t supposed to happen.
We entered the dark ages. Our legends got old and retired. Players were traded. It was only in 2009 after the AAA Columbus Clippers, the team that fed the Yankee dynasty for so long, switched its affiliation to the Indians that things started to get good.
Then came June 2016. The Tribe won 14 straight. A few months later, with a team that was battered and bruised and with most of our pitching rotation out for the year, we limped our way to the bottom of the 10th inning in game seven of the World Series. We even scored a run, but it wasn’t enough. We dropped what some sports writers called the most thrilling game seven in World Series history to a team that hadn’t won a championship in 108 years.
Everyone knew 2017 would be Cleveland’s year to shine, but nobody was sure just how bright. It’s been bright.
The American League was formed in 1901, and it took 101 years for Oakland to become the first AL team to win 20 games straight. The National League is no better off — after being formed in 1876, the 1935 Cubs have that league’s record at 21 wins.
Sure, there was the 1916 New York Giants, who went 26 games without losing. But they didn’t win, either. They tied a game halfway through that streak.
There have been 112 World Series champions in the 141 years of professional baseball, but only one team has won 22 games in a row: the 2017 Cleveland Indians.
The way they won game 22 was a testament to the drive and resilience of Terry Francona’s squad. Just like in game seven of the 2016 World Series, they rallied in the bottom of 10th inning. This time, they scored enough runs.
Some are already talking about how the streak may or may not affect the Tribe’s 2017 playoff run — they say we’re using our wins up now and aren’t saving any for later. I think that’s preposterous. Winners like to win, and this team is loaded with winners who won’t get tired of winning any time soon.
I look forward to watching them win four games against the Dodgers in about six weeks — a fitting cap to the most historical season in baseball.