CLEVELAND - This much is clear: With their 21st straight victory, the Cleveland Indians set the record for the longest winning streak by an American League team, breaking their previous tie with the 2002 Oakland A's.
But do the Indians now also have a claim to the longest winning streak in baseball history? It depends on who you ask.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the answer would be no. The 1916 New York Giants officially won 26 consecutive games, but played in what was ruled an unofficial tie following their 12th win. Nevertheless, Elias still considers 26 to be baseball's longest winning streak.
''A tie was never an acceptable result of a baseball game,'' Steve Hirdt, executive vice president at the Elias Sports Bureau, Major League Baseball's official record keeper, told The Associated Press. ''If one happened because of darkness or rain or some certain circumstance, the game was played over.
''Sports fans are used to the nuance in hockey and football of the difference between a winning streak and an unbeaten streak or consecutive games streak without a loss. Baseball has never had those two different records. They would replay the game until a legitimate won or loss result was achieved.''H
Hirdt would go on to explain, "a tie game breaks neither a winning streak or losing streak for a team because it always gets replayed unless the season ends first.''
That may be the case, but when it comes to uninterrupted winning streaks, the Indians -- and the 1935 Chicago Cubs, who also won 21 straight games -- reign supreme. Cleveland can separate itself from the Cubs with a 22nd consecutive win on Thursday, when the Indians will host the Kansas City Royals for a 7:10 p.m. first pitch.
If Cleveland can win that game, then it will solely lay claim to the longest uninterrupted winning streak in baseball history. One way or another, the 2017 Indians have already managed to make their own unique claim to baseball history.
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