From SABR member Bill Felber at The National Pastime Museum on March 1, 2017:
Early in 2016, when Jake Arrieta stretched his string of consecutive victories to 20, the feat stirred memories of Carl Hubbell’s record of 24 straight wins set during the 1936–37 seasons. The odd thing was that even as Hubbell rolled through opponents that summer, experts debated whether his performance merited inclusion among the game’s records at all.
“To say that Hubbell won 21 straight . . . is poppycock,” contended Dan Daniel, a veteran sports reporter for the New York Telegram, after the Giants left-hander surpassed Rube Marquard’s record of 19 straight in 1912. Asserting that other experts, including Damon Runyon of the American and Rud Rennie of the Herald-Tribune held the same view, Daniel said there were records for performance in a game, season, or career, and Hubbell had broken none of them. “Records are not carried over from one season to another,” he wrote.
This was by no means a unanimously held view at the time. When Hubbell finally lost—to Brooklyn in front of more than 61,000 fans at the Polo Grounds on May 31, 1937—the New York Times’ John Kieran treated the event as the termination of a record. The Sporting News editorially heralded Hubbell’s achievement as surpassing Marquard’s two-season standard of 20 straight. “It wasn’t his fault that the 1936 season ended before he had an opportunity to launch a longer string,” TSN editors opined.
Originally published: March 1, 2017. Last Updated: March 1, 2017.