Cal Ripken's 2,632-Game Streak and MLB's 10 Most Unbreakable Records
On Monday afternoon, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that center fielder Matt Kemp was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
While the Dodgers certainly lost a key piece of their offense, for Kemp it had more meaning as well. It meant an end to his streak of 399 consecutive games played, the longest active streak in the majors.
That makes what Cal Ripken achieved during his career all the more remarkable. For 16-plus seasons, Ripken took to the field every single day, finally taking himself out of the lineup after 2,632 consecutive games.
Considering that Kemp's streak was the current longest, it certainly appears that Ripken's mark is unbreakable. But what other records are likely never to be broken?
Let's take a look.
1. Most Career Shutouts: Walter Johnson, 110
During a remarkable career in which he won 417 games over 21 seasons, Walter Johnson achieved a record that is indeed stunning.
Of his 417 career victories, 110 of them were complete-game shutouts. That number represents 26 percent of his win total.
In addition, Johnson once shut out the same team (New York Highlanders, 1908) three times in four days!
To put his record in perspective, Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay is the current active leader with 20 shutouts, and doesn't even come close to cracking the top 100 all time.
2. Most Wins in a Season: Old Hoss Radbourn, 59
Back in 1884 while pitching for the Providence Grays in the National League, pitcher Charles Gardner "Old Hoss" Radbourn started 73 games.
Radbourn completed every game he started, winning a remarkable 59 times.
It's safe to say that record is untouchable considering that today's pitchers only start a maximum of 34-35 games in a season.
3. Most Career Hits: Pete Rose, 4,256
Pete Rose may never see his name or plaque prominently displayed in baseball's Hall of Fame, but he should be able to rest easy in knowing that he has one record that will never be broken.
During his 24-year career, Rose amassed 4,256 hits, breaking the previous record held by Ty Cobb (4,191) in 1985.
A player would have to average 213 hits per season for 20 years for that record to fall. Ichiro Suzuki averaged 225 hits per season over his first 11 years, but at 38 years of age, Father Time will prevent him from coming anywhere near Rose's mark.
4. Career Batting Average: Ty Cobb, .366
In his worst season, Ty Cobb hit just .323, which happened to be his final year with the Philadelphia Athletics at the advanced age of 41. Cobb's career mark of .366 included three .400 seasons and nine years of .380 or better.
By comparison, the highest active leader in batting average is Albert Pujols (.326), and he's currently below the Mendoza line.
Cobb's record is likely safe for quite a while longer.
5. Most Career Complete Games: Cy Young, 749
Denton True "Cy" Young has an award named after him for a reason—no one was his equal.
During his 22-year career, Young took to the mound to start a game 815 times, and 749 times he closed out those games.
Young completed 92 percent of the games he started.
By comparison, only two percent of games thus far in the 2012 season have been completed—and that's all of MLB, not just one man.
6. Most Career Stolen Bases: Rickey Henderson, 1,406
On May 1, 1991, in a game against the New York Yankees, Oakland A's left fielder Rickey Henderson stole the 939th base of his career, breaking the career mark held by Lou Brock.
Henderson would go on to swipe an additional 467 bags before finally hanging up his cleats in 2003.
A player would have to average just over 70 steals a season for 20 years to top Rickey's amazing feat. The current active leader is Juan Pierre (559), who averaged just over 46 steals per season in his first 12 years.
7. Most Career Strikeouts: Nolan Ryan, 5,714
How about averaging over 300 strikeouts a season for 19 years? That's what it would take to best the career strikeout mark posted by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
The last pitcher to reach that mark was 10 years ago—Randy Johnson whiffed 334 batters in 2002, finishing with 4,875 punchouts for his career, still far short of Ryan's mark.
8. Consecutive Games Played: Cal Ripken, 2,632
As mentioned in the introductory slide, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp saw his consecutive games played streak end at 399 with his strained left hamstring forcing him to the disabled list.
Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder now holds the current active streak at 216 games, meaning he would need to put himself in the lineup for another 15 seasons before touching Ripken's record.
Anyone want to give odds on that happening?
9. Longest Hitting Streak: Joe Dimaggio, 56 Games
Back in 1941, Boston Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams became the last player in major league history to hit .400 in a season, going 6-for-8 in a doubleheader on the final day of the regular season to finish at .406.
However, as remarkable a season as Williams had, his feat was overshadowed by another remarkable exploit—the 56-game hitting streak fashioned by New York Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio.
DiMaggio broke Wee Willie Keeler's mark of 44 consecutive games, set in 1897. Since that time, Pete Rose has come the closest, tying Keeler's National League record of 44 back in 1978.
10. All Time Wins: Cy Young, 511
And finally, it's safe to say that Cy Young's all-time record of 511 wins is likely never to be touched.
Considering that today's starting pitchers average 33 starts per season, and assuming that they win 90 percent of those starts, it would still take them 17 years to get near that mark.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.
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