The 20 Most Impressive Streaks in Sports

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2013

The 20 Most Impressive Streaks in Sports

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    There's nothing like a good streak to get a conversation going at the bar.

    Fans heavily debate the top one ever seen in sports, or which team or player has a chance to duplicate or break it in any given season.

    With the Blackhawks' insane points streak just recently broken but the Heat still locked into theirs, it got us wondering about some of the other ones that are going to be very tough to beat.

Honorable Mention: Minnesota Women's Hockey Undefeated Season

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    Thanks to our loyal twitter follower @SCOTTCMARTINEAU giving us an update from the other day, we had to tip our cap to the Minnesota Gophers women's hockey team.

    Going an astounding 41-0 this season—and running off 49 straight W's going back to last—people are wondering if this is the best hockey team ever?

    Pretty impressive stuff if you ask us.

20. Drew Brees' 54 Consecutive Games with a TD Pass

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    The newly crowned champ in this category after breaking the old mark set by Johnny Unitas of 47, it's easy to argue that it's bound to be broken with the pass-happy philosophies in this era—Tom Brady has actually thrown one in 47-straight.

    But seeing how the old record lasted 52 years, who knows if this is one that will stand the test of time, or just become a rotating number every couple of seasons?

    Chance of Breaking It: 65 percent

19. Cleveland Cavaliers 26-Game Losing Streak

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    Not all streaks are good, so the 2010-11 Cavaliers make the list because of their inability to get off the schneid when they lost 26 straight in their first season without LeBron James.

    As a Cavs fan, witnessing this was painful as hell, and took a lot of bad luck and poor play. But it did land the team the No. 1 pick (kind of), and a redo with new star Kyrie Irving.

    Chance of Breaking It: 35 percent

18. Roger Federer's 23-Straight Grand Slam Semifinal Appearances

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    Not long ago, Federer was the "ace" of the tennis world, running through tournaments at ease.

    Though he hasn't completely fallen off the grid—as evidenced by his 2012 Wimbledon title and current No. 2 world ranking—where he was even a couple years ago is a testament to how great he is.

    Smashing the previous record of 10 straight Grand Slam semis appearances, Fed ran off 23 in a row, meaning that for six straight years he gave himself a chance to at least get to the finals—which is why he's won a record 17 Grand Slam titles.

    Chance of Breaking It: 30 percent

17. Orel Hershiser's Scoreless Innings Streak

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    In 1988, there was no one better than the "Bull Dog" in retiring the opposition.

    Hershiser's 59.1 consecutive scoreless innings steak not only helped him earn an N.L. Cy Young Award, but more importantly, helped set the tone for the Dodgers that year, as L.A. upset the Oakland A's to win the World Series.

    Chance of Breaking It: 20 percent

16. Ty Cobb's 23 Consecutive .300 Seasons

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    Cobb may catch a bad wrap for being a somewhat dirty player—okay, the dude was a prick!—but the guy's in the Hall of Fame for a reason.

    Never hitting less than .316 during the streak (which was the first year in 1906), it's incredible to think another player can touch this.

    If not because the feat in itself if tough, but physically playing 23 years too, that just doesn't happen much anymore!

    Chance of Breaking It: 15%

16. Julio Cesar Chavez's 87 Boxing Decisions in a Row

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    For a sport that takes one hard hit to knock someone out cold, it says something about the badassery of Chavez to win his first 87 bouts in a row before a draw ended his streak.

    The fact that it ended on a draw and not a loss makes it even cooler.

    Note to self: Never get in an argument with this guy, even if he is 50 years old.

    Chance of Breaking It: 14 percent

14. Los Angeles Lakers' 33-Game Win Streak

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    We obviously had to include this one, but as the Heat keep rolling along, we're starting to wonder if they can challenge the 1971-72 Lakers?

    But then we realized that L.A. still has 13 games on Miami, meaning that as mind-blowing as LeBron, D-Wade and company have been, they still have to keep their level of play up for another three weeks or so, which can be tough to do.

    Chance of Breaking It: 13 percent

13. UConn Women's Basketball's 90-Game Win Streak

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    Some may argue it wasn't as impressive because it's just a matter of the best women's program signing the best women's basketball players in the country. But you know what? That happens at every college.

    Stretched over the course of three seasons, it's hard to imagine this team had two undefeated seasons and national titles, along with a one-loss encore. That's some serious balloon.

    Honorable Mention: UCLA's 88-game win streak from 1971-1974 in which they won back-to-back titles during the streak.

    Chance of Breaking It: 12 percent

12. Oklahoma Sooners 47-Game Win Streak

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    One might wonder the difficulty of the competition—as guys weren't as big, strong and fast as they are now—but 47 straight games is 47 straight games, so it's tough to imagine anyone breaking this.

    Is there a program that can scoop the nation's top talent and make a run at it? Sure, but just think to Alabama for a second. They may have won back-to-back national titles and own the most dominant program right now, but even they've experienced a setback in both of those title-winning seasons.

    Chance of Breaking It: 12 percent

11. Atlanta Braves' 14 Consecutive Playoff Appearances

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    In an age of so much disparity in baseball, it's hard to imagine another team making a run like the Bravos did from 1991 to 2005.

    With so much turnover between managers, players and front office people, this is something that we may have all taken for granted then, but should really appreciate now.

    It got to the point where any other team in the division just bowed down before Spring Training even started, which is absolutely insane.

    Chance of Breaking It: 11%

10. Cal Ripken's Consecutive Games Streak

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    There's a reason why Ripken is referred to as "The Ironman."

    It's not because he resembles some of the traits Robert Downey Jr. showed in the movie, but because from May 30, 1982 to September 19, 1998, Cal put on his stirrups and cap every single day.

    For as many minor tweaks and sprains that can happen throughout a 162-game season, it's incredible Ripken never sustained one that kept him out of the lineup, ultimately ending the mark at 2,632 consecutive games.

    Chance of Breaking It: 11 percent

9. Florida State Seminoles Finishing in Top 5 for 14 Straight Seasons

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    From 1987 to 2000, there's no wonder why there was an influx of Seminole fans anywhere you turned.

    Under the guidance of the winningest coach in major college football (Bobby Bowden), the Seminole football team could back up the claim of being a top-5 program when they finished at least that high in the AP and coaches poll after each season.

    As great as the Florida's, Alabama's and Oregon's have been recently, not even they can stake claim to such a streak.

    Chance of Breaking It: 10 percent

8. Byron Nelson's 11 Consecutive PGA Tour Wins

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    In golf, there are so many things that can take a player of their game.

    Not only are you battling other players who can get hot one day and go ape on their putting, but you're battling the weather conditions, the course and, more importantly, yourself for every second of a round.

    There were no Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroys back in 1945, but these other factors are what make Nelson's streak so difficult.

    Chance of Breaking It: 9 percent

7. Boston Celtics' 8 Straight NBA Titles

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    Unless there's another Michael Jordan walking through the NBA's doors, we can't imagine this one being overtaken anytime soon.

    Even in an age where superstars are sacrificing money and fame to pair up for a chance to dominate the league, there's still no guarantee of it actually working out.

    Since we've only seen nine franchises win a title since 1980, to do it all in a row is going to be extremely difficult to do.

    Chance of Breaking It: Eight percent

6. Philadelphia Flyers' 35-Game Unbeaten Streak

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    Was the excitement and respect given to the Blackhawks streak warranted? Absolutely.

    But back during the 1979-80 season, the Philadelphia Flyers actually owned a 35-game unbeaten streak, meaning they went nearly three months without a loss.

    As impressive as Chicago's was, this one makes it look pedestrian.

    Chance of Breaking It: Five percent

5. Eugenio Vélez's Hitless Streak

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    After hitting .339 for Class-AAA in 2011, Vélez seemed to prove himself at the dish and called called up to the Dodgers.

    That's when things got rough for the utility man.

    After striking out three straight times in a game against the Padres, he tied a 75-year-old MLB record for most at-bats in a season without a hit by a position player (0-36).

    It got worse, though, as he also tied the most consecutive at-bats without a hit overall (0-45), joining three other guys in Major League history to "accomplish" the feat.

    It'll take a guy who doesn't flat out care to pull off that kind of futility.

    Chance of Breaking It: Five percent

4. Wayne Gretzky's Consecutive Points Streak

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    Holding down almost every major record on the ice, Gretzky's most incredible streak might be his 51 games with at least one point, occurring during the 1983-84 season.

    "The Great One" blows away anyone who even challenges this, as he also holds the second longest streak at 30 games.

    While Sidney Crosby's 25-gamer in 2010 was impressive, it's fails to even put a dent in this.

    Chance of Breaking It: Four percent

3. Wilt Chamberlain's 9-Straight Triple Doubles

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    Wilt owns a bevy of NBA records, but this one seemed to be the most ridiculous of them all.

    As we all know, shooting a basketball is all about rhythm, and when that gets thrown off it can be frustrating to find it during a game.

    But when a player can combine scoring, rebounding, passing and blocking into their repertoire for 10 straight games, it's something that will take a special player to even come close to beating.

    Chance of Breaking It: Four percent

2. Brett Favre's Consecutive Starts Streak

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    Though we referenced how incredible Cal Ripken's streak was in baseball, Favre's 297 is even more improbable because of both his sport and position.

    Baseball players play a ton of games in a season—including doubleheaders—but a QB is taking snaps in offseason workouts, training camp, preseason, regular season and potentially playoff games.

    With some of the freaky injuries we've seen over the years, that's a lot of chances for a thumb to get dinged on a helmet or an ankle to turn wrong while getting tackled.

    That's why Favre's streak is so impressive.

    Chance of Breaking It: Three percent

1. Joe DiMaggio's Hit Streak

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    For over two months during the 1941 season, Joltin' Joe displayed the greatest hitting performance anyone has ever seen.

    During DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak, the former Yankees center fielder batted .408, with 15 homers and 55 RBIs—or for one-third of the entire season!

    To this day, the closest anyone's ever even gotten to tying or breaking it is Pete Rose in 1978, when he hit safely in 44-straight games—which is crazy enough—but with an additional 12 games to go, Rose was just about three-fourths to DiMaggio.

    Chance of Breaking It: Two percent.