April 17, 2008

Top 10 Unbreakable Sports Records: Whenever the inevitable debate arises among sports fans concerning the record that is the least likely to ever be broken, many people are quick to cite Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak. But there are many others...

posted by BoKnows to general at 06:59 PM - 35 comments

I like these lists - as you all can probably tell, I post them alot - but there have been some statistical errors in the past. I found another error regarding the Gretzky highlight. The 2005-2006 scoring leader had 125 points, the article said 55. Anyway, let the debate begin...

posted by BoKnows at 07:05 PM on April 17, 2008

The 2005-2006 scoring leader had 125 points, the article said 55. I'm guessing he got confused by the goal totals and the point totals. But even then, he was wrong because Cheechoo scored 56 times. Of all the records, the only ones that seem absolutely unbreakable are Cy Youngs 511 wins, John Wooden's 88 wins and Ty Cobb's .366 batting average. In the Young and Cobb case, the game has changed so much that those kind of numbers just aren't attainable. With Wooden's case, you will be hard pressed to find college teams that can maintain a dominant streak with turn over to the NBA by their best players. Missing from that list is Glen Hall's record of 502 complete games as an NHL goaltender. With the money invested in NHL goalies nowadays, no team would be that moronic to play one exclusively for the entire 82 game season, for more than 6 consecutive seasons.

posted by grum@work at 07:15 PM on April 17, 2008

Not listed in read, Walter Johnson 110 shutouts. How that could be omitted is inconceivable.

posted by giveuptheghost at 07:26 PM on April 17, 2008

And outside North America: Cricket - Don Bradman's career batting average of 99.94. Other cricket records based on aggregates might be broken because more Test matches are played these days*, but Bradman's average still stands way above the next best, and will continue to stand for the same reasons that no modern baseball hitter will average .400. Thank you, Stephen Jay Gould. * Such as most Test runs (Sachin Tendulkar) and most Test wickets (Muriah Muralitharan)

posted by owlhouse at 07:30 PM on April 17, 2008

One record that comes to mind after this NBA season is the Laker's 33 straight wins...I don't see that record being broken anytime soon. Not even the most dominant teams in recent years have come close (i.e. The Bulls 70+ win team).

posted by docshredder at 07:30 PM on April 17, 2008

Ripken doesn't impress me enough to be #1. Where's Favre's consecutive starts record????? Cy Young's 511 wins will never be broken. Marciano's 49 wins were against lame and over the hill opponents.

posted by ggermanctl at 07:38 PM on April 17, 2008

The record that is the most deceiving is Nolan Ryan's 7 no-hitters in a career. How can a record with such a small number be so out of reach? But look at how many MLB seasons there have been and how many pitchers there have been in that whole time, but there that 7 sits. Of those that have multiple no-hitters and that are still playing, Hideo Nomo and Randy Johnson, have only 2 each.

posted by NoMich at 07:39 PM on April 17, 2008

Ryan's 7 no hitters gets me to thinking, what if Koufax had a full career. Impressive record and probably will never be broken, but one I think is vulnerable if exceptional pitcher comes along in the future.

posted by giveuptheghost at 07:47 PM on April 17, 2008

>In the Young and Cobb case, the game has changed so much that those kind of numbers just aren't attainable. Yes. That is a huge factor in a lot of these, such as Glenn Hall's mark or Nolan Ryan's. Similar change: no one will play in the NHL finals ten years in a row again, like Bert Olmstead, Bernie Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, and Tom Johnson did in the 1950s. I don't think anyone will beat Larry Robinson's career +730, Bill Mosienko's three goals in 21 seconds, Doug Jarvis' 964 consecutive games, or Bobby Orr's +124 in a season. My favourite (unofficial) record. Most knockouts by an NHL superstar in one game when Maurice Richard had 2 knock outs in MSG.

posted by Philfromhavelock at 09:07 PM on April 17, 2008

Where is Richard Petty and his 200 career wins in NASCAR. Never, never be broken..

posted by Ironhead at 11:35 PM on April 17, 2008

My boy Chase Utley is going to make a few of these records seem silly. Steve Carlton, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Budweiser, Busch, Pabst Blue Ribbon, .......+124? Damn thats good. Dave "The Hammer" Shultz no way I am gonna let him make a record on me.

posted by GoBirds at 11:36 PM on April 17, 2008

Robert Tyre "Bobby" Jones Jr. In 13 US Amateur starts, he won 5, was runner-up twice, made the semi-finals twice and the quarter-finals twice, including in his first outing in 1916 when he was just 14 years old. In 3 Amateur Championship starts, he won one and lost in the final of another. In 11 US Open starts, he won 4, was runner four times and only finished outside the top ten once, finishing 11th in 1927. He played in the Open Championship three times and won them all. In 1926, he won the Open Championship and the US Open Championship and was runner up in both the US Amateur and the Amateur Championship. In 1930, he won all four - the impregnable quadrilateral - and then retired at the age of 28. Then he invented the Masters. No one will ever do that again. Any of it. Byron Nelson won 11 straight PGA Tour titles. Despite the hype that surrounds Tiger every time he wins two in a row, he will never get to 11. Neither will anyone else. Martina has 341 career titles (singles and doubles). Chris Evert is second with 189. Margaret Smith Court won 62 Grand Slam titles (24 singles, 19 doubles and 19 mixed). Her homophobia might be hard to surpass too. Lance Armstrong - 7 Tours de France. Sir Steve Redgrave - 5 consecutive Olympic gold medals for rowing.

posted by JJ at 06:34 AM on April 18, 2008

I wonder what list of records the author started with. Seems to me he didn't consider quite a few while compiling his list. Byron Nelson's 11 PGA tour victories and Martina Navratilova's 341 could challenge several of his choices, and there are certainly many others. I think Wilt's 50.4 single season scoring average is more impressive than 100 points. And how about Oscar Robertson's "triple double" average for a whole SEASON? And then there are some more obscure records. Anybody remember Alexander Karelin? That scary Russian Roman-Greco wrestler back in the 80s who body slammed heavyweights? He went some long period of time without even being scored on! Lists are always subjective, but this one isn't even close.

posted by mitchigan at 07:22 AM on April 18, 2008

To follow up with my reasoning behind posting this, I must say that SportsFilter's members can probably compile the best of the best as far as Top 10 lists are concerned. Yeah the author missed some, and as Owlhouse pointed out, it can be USA-centric, but keep the records coming! There is plenty of room for debate.

posted by BoKnows at 08:56 AM on April 18, 2008

Picabo Street won seven World Cup downhills in the '94-'95 season, a record that will probably never be broken (for various reasons).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:00 AM on April 18, 2008

A guy that always gets left out in these 'greatest' lists: Eric Heiden. Five gold medals in one Olympics setting 4 Olympic records and one world record while skating every race from 500meters to 10,000meters. That is the equivalent of a track runner winning the 100meter, marathon, and every race in between. Not only will no one ever do it again, but I doubt any athlete will even attempt it.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 09:49 AM on April 18, 2008

We've put together a way better list already than that thing, and most of the logic in this thread looks sound. (The Ripken and Marciano records are quite breakable if someone decides to commit to breaking them. And Heiden's 5 golds? Someone tries that every once in a while, just like Spitz's 7 swimming golds. It wouldn't surprise me if someone managed that feat again someday.) You want an unbreakable Olympic record? How about Al Oerter's 4 consecutive golds in the Olympic Discus throw?

posted by chicobangs at 10:02 AM on April 18, 2008

Nothing comes close or ever will to Byron Nelson's 11 wins in a row and 18 in a single season. By the way, an actual individual record rather than team sport environment.

posted by jaygolf at 10:27 AM on April 18, 2008

Ripken's record "quite breakable"? The guy played every day for more than 16 years, no rest days, no injuries, no bereavement leave, etc. The next longest streak after Ripken and Gehrig's is Everett Scott, a player from the 1910s and 1920s whose streak is only half as long as Ripken's. Miguel Tejada recently tried to break the record, and only came up 1480 games short. GoBirds, Utley is a terrific player, but what records is he going to make look silly exactly? How about this for an unbreakable record: 72. I know, I know, it was just broken recently, and just a few years before that Big Mac hit 70 and Sosa 66, but in the post-steriod era, can anyone come anywhere close to that mark?

posted by Chargdres at 10:34 AM on April 18, 2008

Dixie Dean's 60 league goals in a season?

posted by salmacis at 11:28 AM on April 18, 2008

I never said breaking Ripken's record would be easy. But if someone put their mind to it to break the record, and had the good fortune to not suffer too bad an injury at any point in their career, then I'm saying it's within reach. It's only 16 years. Compared to Cy Young's 511 wins (let alone Bradman's 99.94 average or Martina's 341 titles), hell, that's nothing. And Chase Utley's got a shot at being the greatest hitter whose last name starts with U. At this point, he's only got Bob Uecker to catch.

posted by chicobangs at 11:42 AM on April 18, 2008

I love achievement that's out of proportion--numbers that loom like mountains no one will ever climb. Good stuff, here. My favorite unmentioned record? Cael Sanderson's collegiate record of 159 wins, ZERO losses. He wrestled at Iowa State, and I'm a Hawkeye fan, but this one doesn't hurt. It's so huge and impressive. Anyone with an inkling of what elite wrestling requires knows what that number means.

posted by Uncle Toby at 01:26 PM on April 18, 2008

Three of the greatest achievements in sports history: Secretariat wins the 1973 Kentucky Derby. He ran each quarter-mile leg of the race FASTER than the one before -- meaning the horse was still accelerating as he crossed the finish line. It was the fastest Derby ever run (1:59 2/5), and only one horse (Monarchos in 2001) has since finished the race in under 2 minutes -- two horses did it that day in 1973: Secretariat, and his rival, Sham. Secretariat wins the 1973 Preakness. And, of course, the thrilling, amazing, jaw-dropping, never-will-we-see-it-again performance of Secretariat at the 1973 Belmont Stakes. The horse won by 31 lengths. Thirty-one lengths! It was the fastest mile-and-a-half ever run (2:24), beating the old record by 2 seconds. To this day, no horse has ever run that distance in less than 2:25. Whenever I want to see pure athletic excellence in action, I watch replays of the 1973 Belmont Stakes, possibly the greatest non-human athletic achievement ever captured on film. Most racehorses' hearts weigh between 8 and 10 pounds. At autopsy, Sham's heart was found to weigh 19 pounds. Secretariat's heart (which was never formally weighed as the horse's owners wished him to be buried intact) was estimated to have weighed about 22 pounds. We may someday see a horse like that again, but we will never, ever see a performance like the 1973 Belmont Stakes. I wanted to make this a FPP, but figured I'd just put it here.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 02:02 PM on April 18, 2008

Nice work, BOP.

posted by yerfatma at 02:35 PM on April 18, 2008

I think Orel Hershiser's 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched in 1988 is going to be tough to beat. But even harder to beat is Bob Gibson's 1968 ERA of 1.12. That same year, in World Series Game 1, Gibson struck out 17 Tigers, another record.

posted by Shotput at 05:01 PM on April 18, 2008

One last thought. Let's not forget about Pat Summit's 983 wins and 8 NCAA Women's Basketball titles and still going. And Eddie Robinson's 408 wins at Grambling University in football at a time when the college football season was only 10-11 games. That's 40+ consecutive 10 win seasons. Joe Paterno would need 36 more wins to tie. If he coaches until he's 90, he might make it.

posted by Shotput at 05:54 PM on April 18, 2008

No love for Edwin Moses? The man won every 400M hurdle race he ran for almost 10 straight years.

posted by dersins at 06:12 PM on April 18, 2008

Ripken's record is so overrated that it annoys me. Baseball is not physical enough for that record to be so highly touted. Its great that he showed up everyday for work, 6 months out of the year, for 16 years, but it ain't that great. I liked the suggestion about Cael Sanderson, 159-0 is a very impressive feat.

posted by ggermanctl at 07:47 PM on April 18, 2008

Maddux' record of 116 decapitated hookers in one season will surely not be broken in a post-steroids world. Edwin Moses definitely belongs. How about Larsen's World Series perfect game? I guess not so much a record as a feat. Although in that case the Secretariat thing is more of a feat, albeit an amazing one (several).

posted by bobfoot at 09:46 PM on April 18, 2008

I think Gretzky's 92 goals in the 81-82 season is more unsurpassable (new awesome word) than his 215 points.

posted by HATER 187 at 10:54 PM on April 18, 2008

Maddux' record of 116 decapitated hookers in one season will surely not be broken in a post-steroids world. That made beer come out my nose. AND IM NOT DRINKING BEER

posted by BitterOldPunk at 02:31 AM on April 19, 2008

In 1971, Australian swimmer Shane Gould held all freestyle world records from 100 m to 1500 m simultaneously. Given the way swimming has changed, I'm not sure this will ever be equalled, for men or women.

posted by owlhouse at 08:59 AM on April 19, 2008

Australian swimmer Shane Gould held all freestyle world records from 100 m to 1500 m simultaneously. For the water-hater in me, what'd be the track equivalent? Would it just be the same?

posted by jmd82 at 09:24 AM on April 19, 2008

Just because the snooker's started again, no one's ever going to make a maximum 147 break as quickly as this again. Unless Ronnie does it himself of course.

posted by JJ at 02:08 PM on April 19, 2008

For the water-hater in me, what'd be the track equivalent? Would it just be the same? I'm not sure but I think in the late 1970s Kenya's Henry Rono once held all the track world records from 3,000 m to 10,000 m. That is pretty damn good. But I think Shane Gould's feat is a bit more impressive since 100 m is a 'sprint', while 1500 m is long distance. Rono's records are (probably) achievable for another runner, given they are in a similar category of distance.

posted by owlhouse at 05:19 PM on April 19, 2008

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