OCTOBER 23—Forget about the Subway Series. This week’s true once-in-a-lifetime event is the Yankees’ astonishing 14-game World Series winning streak, another record for the Boys in the Bronx. The Bombers, you will recall, haven’t lost a game in the Fall Classic since Greg Maddux shut them out in Game 2 of the 1996 World Series. How incredible is this streak? A little perspective: During April and May this year, the Atlanta Braves won 15 games in a row. That was the longest regular-season winning streak in the majors since the Minnesota Twins also won 15 in a row in 1991. The last team to win 16 in a row? The Kansas City Royals way back in 1977. (The modern regular-season mark, for the record, belongs to the 1935 Chicago Cubs, who won 21 in a row.) And the Yankees haven’t been beating up on the Florida Marlins each October. They’ve been running roughshod over the National League’s best, knocking around Cy Young types like Maddux, Kevin Brown, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Mike Hampton.
What gives here? According to Denny Neagle, who has been on both sides of the slaughter, the Bombers’ World Series secret is the lack of one. “I’d like to be able to say, ‘Here’s how we did it,’ but I can’t,” said the lefty, who is arguably the team’s most voluble player. “But mostly you don’t sway from what got you here. You just play your game as if it were a regular-season game, don’t panic, and don’t make it more difficult on yourself. That’s how this team won 14 World Series games in a row.”
Actually, since 1996, the team has strayed from their regular-season ways in one significant manner: Under Torre, the Yanks have never won more than 10 games in a row (a feat they accomplished twice in 1998). They’ve abandonded that tact in a historic way during the Series.