Here you’ll find the longest winning and losing streaks in MLB history, the longest winning streaks to begin a season, the longest winning streak at home to begin a season and the longest home and away streaks.
This is a time of polarization in Major League Baseball.
With the divide between the elite and bottom-feeders appearing to be as large as ever, teams loaded with All-Stars have been able to put together streaks of the impressive variety while other small-market or rebuilding clubs have suffered the more depressing kind.
With a 162-game schedule, every extreme run or collapse seems like it is the best or worst in baseball history. But how many recent streaks have actually been historic? And what are truly the greatest and worse streaks of all time?
Let’s look at some of the more dramatic, longest streaks that have occurred during the regular season in the modern era:
Longest Winning Streak: 26 New York Giants (1916)
The longest win streak since 1901 was established early in MLB history. The 1916 Giants won 26 games in a row despite only going 60-66 the rest of the season. The 2017 Cleveland Indians own the American League mark with 22 consecutive wins en route to 102 victories, but the Indians lost to the New York Yankees in five games in the ALDS. Rounding out the top five are the 1935 Chicago Cubs (21 straight wins), the 2002 Oakland Athletics of Moneyball fame (20) and the 1906 World Series champion Chicago White Sox (19).
Longest Losing Streak: 23 Philadelphia Phillies (1961)
The owners of this unfortunate streak are the 1961 Phillies, who lost 23 straight games in a season in which they finished 47-107. They finally beat the Milwaukee Braves 7-4 on Aug. 20, 1961 for their first win in nearly a month. The Cubs finished second-to-last in the National League standings that season, but still finished 17 games ahead of the Phillies. The 1988 Baltimore Orioles lost 21 straight games to start the season and are the only other team since 1901 to lose more than 20 in a row. The 1969 Expos, 1943 Philadelphia Athletics, 1916 Athletics and 1906 Boston Americans all lost 20 straight – a mark the 2021 Orioles narrowly avoided by ending their losing streak at 19.
Longest Winning Streak to Start a Season: 13 Tampa Bay Rays (2023), Milwaukee Brewers (1987) and Atlanta Braves (1982)
As far as we know, there’s no one alive from the 1884 St. Louis Maroons to argue this one. They started that season with 20 straight wins and finished 94-19, but rules are rules and that season was closer to the end of the Civil War than it was to the start of baseball’s modern era. Instead, it’s the 2023 Rays, the 1982 Braves and 1987 Brewers who are tied for the longest season-opening winning streaks in MLB’s modern era. That Braves team, managed by Joe Torre, finished the regular season atop the NL West (yes, the Braves were in the West) and were swept by the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS. That Brewers team won 91 games but finished seven games back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL East. Playoff baseball was hardly the guarantee it sometimes feels it’s since become.
Kevin Cash’s Rays were one of only seven teams dating to 1901 to have started a season with at least 10 wins when they opened 13-0 in 2023. And the 1884 Maroons aren’t the only ones turning in their graves for being left off that list. That same year, the New York Gothams started the season with 12 straight wins but went .500 from there and changed their name the next season to the New York Giants.
Longest Losing Streak to Start a Season: 21 Baltimore Orioles (1988)
The 1988 Orioles easily own this mark as the next longest skid was the Cubs’ 14-game drought to begin the 1997 season. It was the worst season since the franchise moved to Baltimore at 54-107 before the Orioles went 47-115 in 2018, 54-108 in 2019 and 52-110 in 2021.
Longest Winning Streak at Home: 26 New York Giants (1916)
The San Diego Padres lived up to the hype early in the 2021 season. They were seemingly a lock for an eventual postseason berth after running off a 12-game home win streak from May 5-June 4. That streak is well short of the record of 26 consecutive home wins, set by the 1916 Giants, and it’s been a long time since any team came close to challenging that record. In fact, of the 10 teams with a home winning streak of at least 18 games, only the 2004 Houston Astros has come since the turn of the century, and six of the 10 longest home winning streaks came before 1950.
Longest Winning Streak at Home to Start a Season: 14 Tampa Bay Rays (2023)
If we’re going all the way back to the birth of professional baseball, the Chicago White Stockings own this mark with 21 straight home wins to open the 1880 season. Then there was the long-forgotten St. Louis Maroons, who began the 1885 season with 14 straight victories at home. Two years later, the Detroit Wolverines took a run at the old record with 18 consecutive home wins in 1886. But in the modern era, the Dodgers ended the 1911 Detroit Tigers’ record of 12 straight home wins almost 100 years later in 2009. The 2023 Rays not only won their first 13 games of the season overall, they also broke the Dodgers’ record with an 8-3 win at Tropicana Field against the defending champion Houston Astros on April 24.
Longest Losing Streak at Home to Start a Season: 17 New York Yankees (1913)
Longest Losing Streak at Home: 20 St. Louis Browns (1953)
The 1953 Browns had such a bad time at home, they decided to pack up and move the next season. That year, the Browns lost a record 20 straight games at home, beating the Washington Senators on June 2 and not winning again until July 8 against Cleveland. At the end of the season, the team relocated to Baltimore and became the Orioles. The Browns broke the record of 19 straight home losses by the 1906 Boston Americans, whose home losing streak coincided with their overall losing streak of 20 games in a row. The 1913 Yankees and 1996 Tigers both lost 17 in a row at home, and the 1926 Red Sox have the fifth-worst streak at home with 16 straight losses.
Longest Winning Streak on the Road to Start a Season: 17 Detroit Tigers (1984)
The Tigers opened the season an unbelievable 17-0 on the road and 35-5 overall in 1984. They rolled all the way to a 104-58 record under Sparky Anderson and beat the San Diego Padres in the World Series. The 1941 St. Louis Cardinals are second on this all-time list with 12.
Longest Losing Streak on the Road to Start a Season: 21 Washington Senators (1894)
The Senators have this mark all to themselves with the next-closest teams (four) tied at 13 straight road losses. The most recent occurrences were the 1969 Houston Astros and those previously mentioned 1988 Orioles.
Longest Winning Streak on the Road: 17 Detroit Tigers (1984)/New York Giants (1916)
We mentioned the 1984 Tigers previously, but they only matched the Giants’ mark of 17 straight road wins during the 1916 season. Those Maroons that started 20-0 in 1884 and the 1912 Washington Senators are next on the list with 16 consecutive victories away from home.
Longest Losing Streak on the Road: 24 Arizona Diamondbacks (2021)
The Orioles are probably grateful that the Diamondbacks managed to set the record for most consecutive losses on the road during the exact same month that Baltimore couldn’t win a game away from home. The two streaks ended within one day of each other, as Baltimore ended its 20-game slide away from Camden Yards with a 6-5 win in 10 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 25 and the Diamondbacks snapped their 24-game road skid that began May 4 at the Miami Marlins in less dramatic fashion on June 26, blowing out the Padres 10-1. Along the way, they lost four each to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants. The 1985 Pittsburgh Pirates were the most recent team to lose at least 18 games on the road (19), while nine teams did it before 1964.
Research support provided by Tim Abel and Emory Brinkman.