50 Most Unbeatable Records In Sports
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There are some records in professional sports that, once achieved, seem so impressive, so spectacular, so reverent, that it is difficult to imagine them ever being beaten again. The record stands strong and firm in the books, passing from generation to generation, a beacon of comfort and familiarity that no Snuggie can ever offer, like Roger Maris' 61 home runs, Ty Cobb's 4,189 hits, Lou Gehrig's 2,130 consecutive games played, or Hank Aaron's 755 home runs.
Anyway, here is my list of the current 50 most unbeatable records in professional sports, at least 27 of which are sure to be beaten by the end of next year. And we will start with...
50. Baseball: Pete Rose / Career Hits / 4,256
I wonder if he'd be willing to wager whether this one will be able to stand forever...
49. Baseball: Chicago Cubs / World Series Drought / 102 Years
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Sorry, Chicago... I couldn't help myself.
48. Football: George Blanda / Most Seasons Played / 26
This man was collecting Social Security long before he was finished with football. I believe he may have played with his grandchildren.
47. Hockey: Wayne Gretzky / Career Goals / 894
This man has scored almost 892 more goals than I ever have, even if I include the unsanctioned games from my neighborhood...
46. Tennis: Martina Navratilova / Career Singles Wins / 167
I didn't even know it was possible to play that many games in a career, much less win them all.
45. NASCAR: Richard Petty / Wins In a Season / 27
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I know almost nothing about NASCAR, but this sound like it would be really hard to do! Also, I want that hat...
44. Baseball: Barry Bonds / Home Runs After Forty / 79
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With the advent of special new "supplements," Barry played near All-Star caliber until long past his technical death!
43. Basketball: 1995 Chicago Bulls / Best Record / 72-10
Unless we can manage to convince Michael Jordan to come out of retirement and magically become 25-years-old again, I don't think this will be touched for quite a while.
42. Olympics: Michael Phelps / Gold Medals In a Year / 8
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It's a good thing he was completely stoned the entire time, or he might have actually have won 20...
41. Baseball: Nolan Ryan / Career Walks / 2,795
For a guy who threw really, really, really hard, he also missed a lot. Which is probably part of what made him terrifying.
40. Baseball: Ricky Henderson / Career Stolen Bases / 1,406
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With today's over dependence on the special five-run home run, this one is unlikely to be matched anytime soon.
39. Baseball: Ron Hunt / Hit By Pitch In a Season / 50
Many players don't walk 50 times in a full season, much less get hit. He must have kept the local ice supplier in business single-handedly.
38. Hockey: Martin Brodeur / Career Wins / 606
He is over 50 career wins ahead of the guy sitting at No. 2 and over 120 wins ahead of No. 3...
37. Football: Brett Favre / Career Completions / 6,295
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That is over 314 completions per year for 20 seasons or almost 20 per game! And he's still going... sort of...
36. Football: Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Consecutive Losses / 26
This is almost two full seasons of losing. Ouch!
35. Football: Emmitt Smith / Career Rushing Yards / 18,355
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You would need to rush for over 60 yards every game of your career for 20 full seasons without injury to approach this impressive record.
34. Basketball: John Stockton / Career Steals / 3,265
Assuming a 20-year career, which is a long span for a professional basketball player, you would need over 163 steals every season to best this mark!
33. Baseball: Barry Bonds / Walks In a Season / 120
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Pitchers were more afraid of Barry that magical year than any serious threat of nuclear war.
32. Football: Jerry Rice / Career Touchdowns / 208
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You would need to play for 20 years and score over 10 touchdowns in every season to be able to beat this mark, which would be a Pro Bowl-caliber season every year of your career!
31. Cycling: Lance Armstrong / Consecutive Tour De France Wins / 7
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And he did it all with only one testicle...
30. Basketball: Wilt Chamberlain / Career Rebounds / 23,924
You will see a lot of Wilt on this list. Perusing the record books could lead someone without adequate knowledge to believe that no one else ever played the game of basketball.
29. Baseball: Gus Weyhing / Career Hits Batsmen / 277
You may never have heard of this man, but I'm sure the 277 people who spent the evening icing their various appendages will remember him forever.
28. Baseball: Hack Wilson / RBIs In a Season / 191
There are only three guys in the history of professional baseball to ever get over 180 and one of them is the amazing Lou Gehrig.
27. Golf: Byron Nelson / Consecutive PGA Victories / 11
Tiger Woods, arguably one of the greatest golfers and philanderers ever to have lived, is second on this list with only seven!
26. Baseball: Sam Crawford / Career Triples / 309
A total of 309 career doubles would be considered a spectacular finish to a professional run.
25. Football: Norm Van Brocklin / Passing Yards In a Game / 554
Ignoring the fact that 554 yards passing is is something most modern professionals couldn't accomplish in a high school reunion game, he really should have found a better fitting helmet... Just sayin'.
24. Baseball: Ty Cobb / Career Batting Average / .366
Most All-Stars today are likely to finish their careers without a single season that approaches, much less exceeds, .366.
23. Baseball: Nolan Ryan / Career Strikeouts / 5,714
He is almost a thousand strikeouts ahead of the next guy, and no one active is even close to the pace needed to break this record. Clemens couldn't top this mark even with the aid of chemicals usually reserved for race horses.
22. Hockey: George Hainsworth / Shutouts In a Season / 22
For perspective, consider that the Boston Bruins, in all of 2009, didn't win 22 games at home, and I can assure you that not all of the wins they did get were shutouts.
21. Basketball: Wilt Chamberlain / Rebounds In a Game / 55
It's exceedingly rare for a player today to score anywhere near 55 points!
20. Football: Jerry Rice / Career Receiving Yards / 22,895
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This equates to over 1,100 yards per year, and at least 72 per game, for an entire 20 years!
19. Baseball: Nolan Ryan / Career No-Hitters / 7
Ryan is a full three no-hitters ahead of No. 2, the late-great Sandy Koufax. He also holds the world record for bloody-faced pictures while pitching.
18. Baseball: Joe DiMaggio / Hitting Streak / 56 Games
It says something that most broadcasters get excited to the point of forced bathroom events when modern guys make it to anything over 30.
17. Baseball: Al Spalding / Wins In a Season / 54
This would be an excellent, All-Star caliber, three-year win total, with at least one Cy Young, for most modern pitchers.
16. Football: Jerry Rice / Receptions / 1,549
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This is an impressive enough feat by itself, but consider that, along with his total yards record, he averaged 14.78 yards per reception!
15. Baseball: Cy Young / Career Complete Games / 749
This man, with an arm apparently molded out of putty, has thrown more complete games than Roger Clemens has total games!
14. Baseball: Babe Ruth / Career Slugging Percentage / .690
What would a records list be with the Babe? A sham, that's what! And so here he is, looking smug as always...
13. Tennis: Margaret Court / Grand Slams / 62
Anytime you see a record-holder's picture in black-and-white and a little grainy, you know it's a tough record to beat.
12. Baseball: Cal Ripken, Jr. / Consecutive Games Played / 2,632
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He not only holds the MLB record, but also the world record, and by hundreds of games!
11. Basketball: Wilt Chamberlain / Points In a Game / 100
This is just outrageous and makes me feel wholly inadequate in so many ways.
10. Baseball: Ty Cobb / Career Steals of Home / 54
This is just lunacy! A lot of players, good players, don't have 54 steals of anything in their career.
9. Baseball: Bob Gibson / Lowest ERA In a Season / 1.12
When Pedro Martinez threw a 1.74 ERA in 2000, it was so far below the league average that it was considered a god-like achievement. And that is 0.62 above this Gibson mark.
8. Baseball: Walter Johnson / Career Shutouts / 110
Many pitchers finish very successful careers without reaching 110 wins! Plus, Johnson looked downright scary...
7. NCAA Football: Oklahoma Sooners / Consecutive Wins / 47
Most coaches would be happy winning 47 games in an entire stint with a team. This is almost going undefeated for four consecutive seasons!
6. Baseball: Cy Young / Career Innings Pitched / 7,356
At the typical modern average of 200 innings per year, a pitcher would have to play for 37 years, something only Clemens has come close to (23 years) with the aid of powerful pharmaceuticals.
5. Basketball: Wilt Chamberlain / Points Per Game Average / 50.4
You almost never see a guy score over 50 points in a single game, much less average 50 for an entire season! I think this man may never have actually existed.
4. Basketball: 1953 Bullets / Worst Record In Playoffs / 16-54
How does a team that is 38 games under .500 make the playoffs? Wizardry, I assume.
3. Basketball: Boston Celtics / Consecutive Championships / 8
Most professional teams in most sports don't have eight championships altogether, and with free agency and the economic climate of today, it's unlikely to ever see anyone top two consecutive championships.
2. Baseball: Cy Young / Career Wins / 511
Cy Young has more wins than Pedro Martinez has total games pitched. He is the ultimate iron man and could probably muster the energy to still pitch today, despite being technically dead.
1. Boxing: Rocky Marciano / Consecutive Wins / 49
A boxer would have to win two fights per year for 25 years, a measure of longevity that almost none ever do, to pass this mark. A truly remarkable feat!