Were Going Streaking: Some Of The Best (and Worst) Streaks In Sports
With Brett Favre's streak of consecutive starts by a quarterback ended last week, I went back and looked at some other impressive and dubious streaks around the sports world.
The streaks will show how some good teams and players were, but some will also show how bad teams and individuals were.
Let's start with the bad news.
I'm sure everyone hopes that these first seven streaks never get bested, or even equaled. Well, everyone except those involved in those streaks.
These streaks are in no particular order.
Prairie View A&M Football
The Prairie View A&M football team won three National Championships in the 1950s, but 40 years later, they were in the middle of one of the worst streaks a team could come across.
From 1989-1998, the Panthers lost 80 consecutive games.
The previous mark was by Columbia University (44). That streak ended the year before Prairie View A&M's began.
The Panthers are putting their losing ways behind them, as Prairie View A&M cinched its first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship in 2009.
Bill Holbert holds the record in Major League Baseball for having the most at-bats in a career without hitting a single home run.
He played from 1876-1888 (623 games) and never once hit a round-tripper in his 2,335 at bats.
The era that Holbert played in was not focused on hitting home runs, with big ballparks and the quality of the balls were not very good.
But since he holds the dubious record, other players must have hit at least one homer. Holbert didn't play much over his 13 seasons, but he never got to admire a moon shot.
If you are still a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, I have won question for you. Why?
This franchise has just competed its 18th consecutive losing season, becoming the first team to do so in MLB history.
Since 1993, the Pirates have had two, 100-loss seasons; 100 in 2001 and 105 just this past season.
Pittsburgh was 96-66, finishing first in the National League East Division, but it has been a long road since then. The Pirates have won at least 70 games in just seven of the past 18 years, recording their highest total of 79 in 1997.
What once used to be a proud franchise, is now the laughingstock of the league. As a baseball fan, I hope that someone is able to bring back the winning ways to Steel City.
I wish I could put Anna Kournikova in this list as having the record for most consecutive days as the hottest tennis player on the WTA Tour, but we all know why she's here.
She played some 130 tournaments and has never won a singles title. Kournikova does have 16 doubles titles, proving that someone else needs to be on the court with her to get victories.
No one cares, though, that she never won a single title. She was the main reason that I started to watch tennis.
Kournikova ranked as high as the No. 8 player in the world in November 2000, but she was never able to reach the finals of any major tournament, reaching the semifinals just once (1997 Wimbledon).
California Institute Of Technology Basketball
Overall, the Beavers of the California Institute of Technology don't have good sports programs in Division III athletics.
In 2007, the men's basketball broke a 207-game losing streak, its first victory in over 10 years. Its last victory prior to that was in 1996.
They still currently have a 259-game losing streak within the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletics Conference.
To further prove how bad the Beavers are; the women's basketball team endured a 50-game losing streak and the soccer team suffered through losing 201 consecutive games.
Anthony Young lost 27 straight decisions with the New York Mets from 1992-1993.
He lost 13 straight starts, then continued to lose another 14 decisions from the bullpen. Young did have 18 saves over that span, though.
It is still the longest losing streak in MLB history.
Young finished his career with a 15-48 record and a 3.89 ERA. He was drafted in the 10th round by the Montreal Expos in 1984, but did not sign.
He fell to the 38th round in 1987, where Young was picked by the Mets.
At the end of the 1988 MLB season, Hershiser pitched 59 consecutive scoreless innings, marking the longest such streak in one season.
He pitched a scoreless inning during his first start of the 1989 season, stretching it to 60.
A lot of pitchers can't go a full game without allowing at least one run, so do to it over seven or eight starts is quite impressive.
The streak has been challenged, but I don't think it can be broken because every now and then a hit finds a hole somewhere.
This year, one of the Philadelphia Phillies starters might prove me wrong about this streak not being matched.
Sugar Ray Robinson
Sugar Ray Robinson won 91 straight boxing matches, wow!
He began his career going 40-0 before getting beaten, then went on his amazing streak.
Robinson fought 43 times from 1947-1950. To compare, Sugar Ray Leonard only fought 40 times in his entire career.
Robinson ended his career with a win-loss record of 175-19 with 109 KO's. He fought over 200 fights, ridiculous.
Sixteen of those 19 losses came after Robinson returned from his first retirement at 34 years of age, with 12 losses coming after he turned 40.
Wayne Gretzky holds many NHL records, but he also holds a pretty good streak.
During his career, "The Great One" had a streak of scoring a point (goal or assist) in 51 consecutive games.
It's obvious the offense always went through Gretzky, but to go more than half a season having your name in the box score is pretty darn good.
In any sport, you have to make sure the star player touches the puck (ball) at least once during a given possession.
In 1945, Byron Nelson was swinging a hot stick. He won 11 consecutive tournaments in which he played.
The closest anyone has come is Tiger Woods, when he won seven consecutive over the course of the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
It's amazing that Nelson never caught a case of the shanks in those 11 events, because it's tough to win two tournaments in a row, let alone 11.
Nelson finished his career with 52 victories, including five Major Championships.
Johnny Unitas is one of the best quarterbacks to play in the NFL and he owns an impressive streak himself.
Unitas threw a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.
What's more impressive about that streak is that it started in Unitas' first year of his career.
Unitas was a four-time MVP of the NFL and helped the Baltimore Colts beat the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, dubbed "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
I'm starting to believe that Lance Armstrong is not human.
Why, you ask?
He was pretty much given a death sentence when he was diagnosed with cancer. How did Armstrong react?
Armstrong pretty much kicked cancer's ass and won an astonishing seven consecutive Tour de France titles. A streak that will most likely never be broken, or even challenged.
Lance Armstrong is truly living strong.
Martina Navratilova wasn't just a great tennis player, she was a dominating one.
She is on this list for winning six consecutive times at Wimbledon from 1982-1987. Navratilova finished her career with nine Wimbledon titles.
Navratilova has won 18 Grand Slam events in four US Opens, three Australian Opens and two French Opens.
She missed out on winning the true Grand Slam by failing to win the French Open in '83 and the Australian Open in '84.
Navratilova has a career singles record of 1,442-219, winning 167 total tournaments and was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.
UCLA Men's Basketball
The UCLA Bruins under John Wooden can be on this list for two different reasons.
The "Wizard of Westwood" led his team to 88 consecutive victories, an NCAA men's college basketball record.
He has coached countless NBA Champions and Hall of Fame members.
The Bruins also won seven straight NCAA National Championships from 1967-1973 and 10 championships over the span of 12 years. UCLA has 11 total in school history.
Wooden created a dynasty that won't be matched on the collegiate Division I level.
Like the UCLA Bruins at the collegiate level, the Boston Celtics had an NBA dynasty just as great, actually a little greater.
The Celtics won eight consecutive NBA titles from 1959-1966 and appeared in 10 straight NBA Finals starting in 1957.
Boston then won back-to-back championships in 1968 and 1969.
The Celtics have been to 21 NBA Finals in team history, second only to the Lakers' 31. Of those 21 appearances, Boston has an NBA record 17 titles, while the Lakers have 16.
This streak may sound trivial, but I think it's rather impressive.
In 2002, the Oakland Athletics won 20 consecutive games, the longest MLB winning streak since the Chicago Cubs won 21 in a row in 1935. The record is 26 by the New York Giants in 1916.
Winning 20 straight games might not be much in the long run, but some teams have trouble even winning three straight, especially in this era.
The A's outscored opponents 141-65, hitting .299, 16 home runs and the Oakland pitchers combined to have a 2.55 ERA.
In the MLB, a 20-game streak is three weeks worth. If you don't lose an NFL game in that span, it's a simple three-game streak. In the NBA and NHL, three weeks of winning is about 12 games.
That 20th game was pretty dramatic too, as the A's blew an 11-0 and wound up winning 12-11 on a walk-off home run from Scott Hatteberg. Oakland ended the streak with three straight walk-off winners.
Joe DiMaggio got a hit in 56 straight games, an MLB record that might never be broken.
Willie Keeler came the closest when he compiled a 45-game hitting streak, spanning two different seasons and Pete Rose got as close as 12 games away.
Joltin' Joe's streak compiled 223 at bats, with 91 hits. He had 22 multi-hit games during that streak as well, along with 35 extra-base hits.
We all know how good of a golfer Tiger Woods can be when he's on his game.
He was definitely on his game when he compiled a streak of making 142 consecutive cuts at golf events.
Golf is a mental game, and keeping your mental focus for that many tournaments in a row is phenomenal. Woods played about 15 tournaments a year, meaning he did not miss a cut in roughly nine years, maybe more.
Woods has 71 career victories with 14 Major Championships won, but given the recent upcomings for Woods, who knows if he'll get the mental part of the game of golf back soon.
In 1993, Michael Williams made 97 consecutive free throws over the course of 19 games.
At the end of the 1992-93 season, Williams made his final 84 attempts, tying Calvin Murphy for the NBA record. To begin the 93-94 season, Williams made his first 13 attempts to set the record.
That record still stands today.
Williams finished the 92-93 season by shooting 91 percent from the charity stripe.
If this record were to be broken, it's a safe bet that it won't be by Shaquille O'Neal or Dwight Howard. It is considered a "free" throw, but in today's game, there's rarely anything "free" about it.
Doug Jarvis is the first of a few on this list for a consecutive games played streak. He played 924 straight games in the NHL.
Sure, there's a lot of line changes over the course of a game, resulting in 30 minutes of total ice time, depending on your skill level.
It's also hockey, a sport where if there's not a fight in a given game, the fans want a refund. There's sticks, skates and pucks flying everywhere and guys playing with teeth missing.
The fact that Jarvis laced up his skates 924 straight times is remarkable.
The longest streak for an NBA player belongs to fan favorite A.C. Green.
Green played in 1,192 consecutive games, that's over 14 years of never calling in sick and even though he was at times, Green never called in.
It might be a lot more impressive if Green actually started all 1,192 games, but playing every NBA game on your schedule for nearly 15 years is iron man worthy.
Plus, who can forget that jheri curl he sported early in his career.
Jim Marshall started 270 consecutive games at defensive end in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings.
Taking on blocks every game is by no means an easy task, and for Marshall to keep coming back for more week after week speaks of his durability.
His job was to get to the quarterback, but he also had to get past all the guys whose jobs were to protect that quarterback at all costs.
No matter what is said about him regarding this streak, he may be remembered more as that guy who ran the wrong way after an interception rather than playing every game for roughly 17 years and being a member of the famed Purple People Eaters.
Cal Ripken Jr.
Cal Ripken Jr., or "Iron Man," played in an amazing 2,632 consecutive games in the MLB, all for the Baltimore Orioles.
As impressive as A.C. Green's streak is, this is a better test of durability.
Ripken's streak spanned over 16 seasons of play, and even though I'm sure he wanted just one day's rest, Ripken was in the clubhouse day after day.
Baseball players play a game pretty much every day for six months, there's no words to truly describe this streak.
Every NFL defensive player is out to rip off the head off the opposing quarterback.
For 297 consecutive games (321 including playoffs), Brett Favre was that quarterback.
He suffered broken thumbs, hands, ankles and even a broken heart, but every Sunday, Favre went to the only place he wanted to be, the football field.
The first NFL game I remember seeing for my beloved Packers was when Don Majkowski injured his ankle back in 1992 and in stepped Favre.
Growing up, all I knew and saw was Favre, which explains I am not one of those Favre-haters out there. It was really weird seeing him in street clothes for the Minnesota Vikings last week.
The man just wanted to play football.