While the Red Wings amazing home winning streak rests at 23 for a couple of days, it gives us a chance to figure out where this streak fits in the history of great Detroit sports numbers. Wojo and I discussed this topic on the show on Friday and I’ll admit that there were many that I never even considered to be among the greats. The callers and the texters did a phenomenal job of “refreshing” my memory about a couple of things.
The magic numbers are the numbers that need no explanation. You walk up to the average Detroit sports fan and say the number and they know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. These aren’t jersey numbers, which is a debate in and of itself. These are years or stats or streaks or records that stand on their own number. They don’t even need the sport or the name or the accomplishment.
There are a couple of numbers at the tippy top of the list. These are the first ballot Hall of Famers. The magic numbers of Detroit sports…
35-5. Enough said.
0.07. Any questions?
Game 163. Simply the most dramatic baseball game that I’ve EVER watched.
0-16. Sorry, but it’s true.
1968. 1984. The two magic Tiger summers.
1997. Yzerman carries the Cup. The end of the curse.
And that’s the list.
Now – there are many, many others that deserve consideration. But I doubt that any of them have the same recognition factor. If someone walks up to you and says “31” – do you automatically think of Denny McLain’s win total in 1968? If you bring up the number 6, do you think of the six straight trips that the Pistons took to the Eastern Conference Finals? You might. But it wouldn’t be unanimous. People remember that Barry Sanders rolled over 2000 yards in 1997, but they may not universally remember that he finished that game against the Jets with 2053.
Will the Wings streak ever stand on its own? I doubt it. Hockey is all about Cups. Although if the Wings were to win out for the rest of the regular season, they’d finish with 35 straight wins which is pretty symmetric with the Tigers 35-5. They’d also finish with a home record of 38-2-1 for the regular season, which would be ridiculous. Then of course, they’d lose Game 1 of the playoffs at home against the Coyotes or something and the entire city would forget about the streak in one night. But if they were to get to 35 and follow that up with a Cup, then perhaps 35 would take its rightful place alongside 35-5, 007, 163 and 0-16.
What are your magic numbers?