09/06/2002 7:36 pm ET
MLBeat: A's say real record is 21
By Mychael Urban / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- As the A's prepared Friday to take on the Twins in search of their 21st consecutive victory, talk turned to the 1916 New York Giants, who are recognized in most quarters as having the longest winning streak in big-league history.
One of those quarters is not the Oakland clubhouse. The A's, who set the American League mark for consecutive celebrations Wednesday, consider New York's 26-game streak tainted by a tie.
Managed by Hall of Famer John McGraw, those Giants had won 12 in a row when on Sept. 18, a 1-1 deadlock with the Pirates was shut down by darkness. The game was never resumed or replayed, and New York went on to win 14 more.
"They say ties are like kissing your sister," said manager Art Howe. "They won 26 because they kissed their sister somewhere in there."
So what New York had is an unbeaten streak, a la the NHL?
"This isn't hockey," Howe said.
The next-longest winning streak in the bigs is 21 games, set by the 1935 Chicago Cubs. As far as the handful of A's polled are concerned, that's the real record.
"The way I see it, you can't have a winning streak if there's a tie mixed in," said third baseman Eric Chavez. "The streak ends when you tie."
"The record is 21," said pitcher Barry Zito. "At least that's what I think the record should be."
"As far as I'm concerned, if we win [Friday], we tie the record," said outfielder Terrence Long. "There's no ties in baseball."
Insert your All-Star Game joke here and move on.
Adding to the case against New York is that all 26 -- ahem, 27 -- of their games during the streak came at home.
"Are you kidding me?" said pitcher Tim Hudson. "Come on. No travel, no stadiums full of fans rooting against you? No wonder they did that."
That Giants team also had a 17-game winning streak that season, so exactly half of their 86 wins came in the two streaks. They finished in fourth place.
"If that's what 26 in a row gets you, I don't want it," cracked Howe.
Lilly update: Left-hander Ted Lilly, out since early August with an inflamed throwing shoulder, reported no unusual day-after soreness from throwing in a simulated game Wednesday in Oakland.
He said he held back only slightly in the session and expects to make his scheduled return to the rotation Tuesday at Anaheim. So does Howe. Sort of.
"As of now, that's looking like a possibility," said Howe, who said Aaron Harang or Mike Fyhrie would get the call if Lilly is held back.
Terrence Long was batting .305 (18-for-59) over his past 16 games going into Friday's contest. He batted .138 (9-for-65) over the 17 games prior to the hot stretch.
Mychael Urban covers the Oakland A's for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This report was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.