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Red Sox set record with Series win10/27/2004 10:05 PM ET
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- This wouldn't have meant much to Babe Ruth or even a later player like Willie Stargell, but the Boston Red Sox just became the first team in Major League Baseball to finish a postseason with eight consecutive victories.
The fact is relevant only in tracing baseball history back to 1985, when the League Championship Series was expanded to a best-of-seven format. Teams only could win as many as seven postseason games from 1969-84, and the postseason consisted only of a World Series from 1903-68.
The Red Sox began their never-to-be-forgotten 2004 streak when facing a 3-0 deficit against the rival Yankees in the American League Championship Series. They became the first team in Major League history to come back from such a deficit and win a series, and then they proceeded to sweep four games from a Cardinals club that had led baseball with 105 victories in this regular season.
Maybe these Red Sox were not the best team in Major League history. But one certainly can't find another finish like the one baseball just saw.
In 1999, the Yankees were 11-1 in the postseason, winning their last six games of the playoffs. They swept Atlanta in the World Series, and they had won the last two games on the way to a 4-1 ALCS victory against Boston. The Yankees swept Texas in the three-game ALDS.
In 1998, the Yankees were 11-2 in the postseason and won it all with a team that many baseball experts consider among the greatest of all time. The two blips were back-to-back losses that gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead in that ALCS, but the Yankees proceeded to win the next three and then sweep the Padres -- finishing with a seven-game streak.
The previous World Series sweep was in 1990, when Cincinnati routed Oakland. The Reds, known for their "Nasty Boys" bullpen, won their final five games of the postseason. That included the clincher in a 4-2 NLCS victory over Pittsburgh.
In 1989, those same A's won their final six games. That included the sweep of the Giants in that earthquake-marred World Series, and the final two games of a 4-1 ALCS victory over the Blue Jays.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.