By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Thanks in part by “lanky righthander” Harlan Breitzman and his 14 pitching wins over the 1954 and 1955 seasons, Escanaba entered the spring of 1956 having won 43 straight games.
Statewide news at the time, that streak ended in the season opener with a 6-4 loss to rival Marquette. But it remains one of the longest in MHSAA baseball history – and certainly the longest in terms of seasons, stretching over six during the early decades of high school baseball, when many teams played far fewer games than at present and with the start of an MHSAA Tournament for the sport still two decades away.
Escanaba won 43 straight beginning with its third game of 1950 through the end of the 1955 season. The team played eight games at most during those seasons – but strung together five straight perfect runs. According to a Detroit Times story previewing the start of Escanaba’s 1956 campaign, five of the team’s eight 1955 wins were shutouts. The Times also reported that Breitzman, a graduate the previous spring, had signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
At the time, the Eskymos’ streak would’ve ranked behind only that of Muskegon’s 1941-45 teams that won 55 straight. Homer owns Michigan’s longest (and the nation’s third longest) baseball winning streak: 75 games from opening day 2004 until a 7-6 loss to Saginaw Nouvel in the 2005 Division 3 Final.
(Research courtesy of MHSAA historian Ron Pesch.)
PHOTO: An Ironwood Daily Globe headline announces the end of the Escanaba baseball team's winning streak at the start of the 1956 season.