The Cubs roared to the pennant in September of 1935 by winning 21 consecutive games -- still the National League record.
Only 1 AL team has won more: Cleveland, 22, in 2017.
The first 18 of the Cubs' victories came at home.
That tied the NL mark for such wins, set by the Cardinals just a few month earlier, from May 29 through July 18. St. Louis' run included 3 triumphs over the Cubs, Nos. 4-6, by 5-4 and 6-5 in a doubleheader on June 8, then by 13-2 the next day.
The Cubs and Cards fell 3 short of the Major League record, as the Athletics had won 21 straight at home in July and August of 1931.
But after 1935, no NL team came closer than 3 wins of the Cubs and Cards' 18 until 1963, when St. Louis reeled off 16 from mid-August through mid-September. Then it lost 5 in a row before prevailing in its season finale!
The Phillies matched the Cards in 1977. Following the loss that ended the streak, they won 4 more.
YO HO HO!
The NL record finally was broken the following season, by the Pirates.
On Aug. 16, they routed the Reds, 13-2.
Aug. 17-20, they won 6 games against the Astros, starting and ending with doubleheader sweeps.
After a 3-city road, they returned to sweep the Braves in a Friday doubleheader on Sept. 1, then in 2 weekend games.
Two wins over the Mets on Labor Day, the second a shutout, and another blanking the next day increased their streak to 14 in a row.
Another road trip came next. When they came back home, the Pirates beat the Cardinals twice then took the opener of a series against the Expos.
On Sept. 16, they rolled past Montreal, 12-5, to tie the NL record of 18 straight wins at home.
The next day, they won again, 5-3.
In their final road trip, the Pirates took 2 of 3 at Wrigley Field and lost twice at Montreal. Then they closed out the season with 7 games at home, starting with 3 against the Cubs.
RALLY TIES RECORD
In the first, on Monday, Sept. 25, they raced to a 5-0 lead after 3 innings and coasted to a 7-4 win that made them the first team to win 20 consecutive home games.
The next night, the Pirates were up by 5-0 after the sixth and won, 5-2.
Midway through the sixth inning of the series finale, they trailed, 2-3.
A 1-out walk and a double prompted an intentional walk. Cubs pitcher Ray Burris hit the next batter, forcing home the tying run, then walked in the go-ahead tally.
Lynn McGlothen took over and served up a 3-run triple. An RBI single made the score 8-3, and that is how it ended.
With 22 in a row, the Pirates had equaled the MLB high set by the Athletics in 1931.
WALK-OFF AND BALK-OFF
Following a day of rest, the Pirates claimed the record in dramatic fashion.
Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Phillies on the final Friday of the season was tied at 4 going to the bottom of the ninth.
Ed Ott, leading off, smacked a drive to deep center field. As he headed for third, center fielder Garry Maddox's throw skipped past the base, allowing Ott to score the winning run.
Game 2 was knotted at 1 when Dave Parker doubled off Steve Carlton and reached third on an error by the Maddox. Carlton issued 2 intentional walks, then was replaced by Warren Brusstar -- who committed a game-ending balk.
The 2 victories boosted the Pirates' home winning streak to 24 games, one third more than any team had enjoyed before.
NOT THIS TIME
On Saturday, the Pirates spotted the Phillies a run in the top of the first, then scored 4 in the bottom.
Single runs in the second and fourth brought Philadelphia to within 3-4. Greg Luzinski's 2-out, 3-run homer in the sixth put the visitors in front again, 6-4. A 3-run double by Richie Hebner and a sacrifice fly by Mike Schmidt made the score 10-4.
The first 3 Pirates singled in the ninth, loading the bases. Could they mount a remarkable comeback and win again?
A run scored on a forceout: 5-10.
A stolen base and a single by Parker produced 2 more: 7-10.
That led to a pitching change, then an RBI single: 8-10, with the tying run at the plate in the imposing presence of Willie Stargell.
But the future Hall of Famer struck out, and the next batter grounded out to short.
The streak was over.
WINNING STREAK DATA
During it, the Pirates outscored their 8 opponents by 90 runs, 3.75 per game, 148-58.
They scored at least 4 runs in 21 of the 24, and allowed more than 4 in just 2. Three of the wins were shutouts.
They won 8 times by at least 5 runs and 5 times by 1.
In comparison, during the Cubs' 18-game home streak in 1935, they faced 5 teams and outscored them by 74 runs, 4.11 per game, 117-43.
The Cubs won 14 games with at least 4 runs and gave up more than 4 just once, in an 18-14 slugfest. They had 3 shutouts.
6 of the Cubs' wins were by 5 or more runs; 4, by 1 run.
The Cubs had won the pennant in 1935. So had the Athletics in 1931, when they won 20 in a row at home.
The Pirates did not.
When their streak began, they were in fourth place in the NL East, 10 games out of first.
Their 24th win had lifted them to within 1.5 games of the front-running Phillies, with 2 to play, but streak-ending loss dashed their faint title hopes. They won the next day, to wind up 1.5 back, at 88-73, including 55-26 at home.
RED HOT SOX
Boston captured the AL East in 1988 by finishing 89-73 overall and 53-28 at Fenway Park.
One of its losses was to the Orioles, on June 24. The Red Sox won their next 5 before embarking on 10-day road trip that preceded the All-Star Game break.
They went 11-0 in a post-break home stand, made a quick trip to Texas, then returned to take 4 straight from the Brewers and 2 from the Rangers, extending their streak to 22 games.
The Sox were just 2-7 on the road after that, but kept cooking at home on Aug. 12, beating the Tigers, 9-4.
The next afternoon, Boston led, 3-1 after 5 innings, only to fall behind, 3-4, in the top of the sixth.
A 2-run homer by Dwight Evans with 2 out in the bottom put the Sox in front again. Mike Greenwell greeted a reliever with another homer, then the Sox tacked on 3 runs in the seventh and 7 more in the eighth, including a bases-loaded triple by Evans.
The 16-4 victory was the most lopsided of their record-tying 24 in a row.
ENDED WITH A THUD
Any hopes the Sox had of claiming the record with another win the next day ended in a hurry.
After ace Roger Clemens retired the first batter, he gave up a single, a double and a sacrifice fly.
A wild pitch and a walk brought up Chet Lemon, who slammed a 3-0 pitch over the Green Monster in left field: 4-0.
Two walks by Clemens and a single loaded the bases with nobody out in the second. The next batter struck out, but Alan Trammell singled home 2 runs, knocking out Clemens: 6-0.
A reliever surrendered 3 more runs, on 3 hits and a fly ball: 9-0.
And 5 more runs paraded across the plate in the Tigers' third: 14-0.
The score was 18-2 before the Sox produced a 3-run homer in the eighth and a 2-out run in the ninth that made the final count 18-6.
The Red Sox tallied 90 more runs than their rivals during their streak, just as the Pirates had 10 years earlier: 167-77.
They scored at least 4 runs in 21 games, including 5 of at least 10 and 3 more of 9.
They gave up more than 4 in 6 games. They recorded 2 shutouts and yielded only 1 run 5 times.
They won 10 games by at least 5 runs and 7 by just 1.
ASTROS MAKE IT 3
There hasn't been a serious challenge to the single-season record for home wins in the more than third of a century since the Red Sox won their 2 dozen in a row.
The 2004 Astros were just 30-33 at home after a 6-11 loss to the Cubs on Aug. 22 in the rubber game of a series.
Houston did not lose at home again, winning 18 straight to tie the NL record set by the Cardinals and Cubs in 1935.
It outscored 6 opponents by 51 runs, 2.83 per game, 111-60.
They scored at least 4 runs in 15 games, reaching double digits in 3 and 9 in 2 others.
They allowed more than 4 in 5, had 1 shutout and gave up 1 run twice.
4 of their wins were by at least 5 runs; 5, by 1.
In 2001, the Athletics lost 4 straight at home, Aug. 21-24, then won each of their final 17. They also won their first 3 of 2002.
The Dodgers also had a 2-season stretch of 20 in a row, the last 15 of 2021 and first 5 of 2022.
The Phillies won 16 consecutively in 1991.
The 2011 Diamondbacks and 2022 Yankees both captured 15 straight.
CUBS' OTHER STREAKS
The Cubs' longest string of home wins after their 18 in 1935 is 14 games, accomplished 6 times.
The first 4 of those came before their record run, in 1906, 1910, 1928 and 1932.
The fifth was in 1936, the year after they won the 18.
The only 1 since was in 2008.
It began on May 18, with a 4-3 win over the Pirates in the finale of a 3-game series.
After going 2-4 at Houston and Pittsburgh, the Cubs returned home to sweep 3 games from the Dodgers (3-1, 3-1 and 2-1) and 4 from the Rockies (8-4, 10-9, 5-4 and 5-3).
The Cubs spent the next week on the West Coast, at San Diego and Los Angeles, came back to Chicago to sweep the Braves (10-5, 7-2, 3-2) and then journeyed to Toronto and Tampa, where they were a combined 2-4.
On June 20-22, they hosted the White Sox in the first of the year's inter-city series. Wins by 4-3, 11-7 and 7-1 extended the streak to 14.
It came to an end 2 days later, when they fell behind the Orioles, 1-7, by the sixth inning and lost, 5-7.
The Cubs have had 17 total home winning streaks of at least 10 games during a season. Here is how many of each length, with the years they took place in parentheses:
18: 1 (1935)
14: 6 (1906, 1910, 1928, 1932, 1936, 2008)
13: 1 (2001)
11: 1 (1910)
10: 7 (1909, 1929, 1935, 1953, 1969, 1978, 1998)
They also had an 11-game streak spanning 1969-70 and a 10-game streaking spanning 1938-39.
TOMORROW: Winning streaks on the road