30 Most Unbreakable Records in Sports
Brett Favre's 297-game streak as starting QB made me start to wonder about the most unbreakable records in the world of sports.
It took a lot of research, and discoveries of some things I had never heard of, but I think this should be a pretty good list. Because Wayne Gretzky and Wilt Chamberlain could take up every spot on this list, I limited them to three records each.
Let me know if I've missed anything, or if you think my order is wrong!
Does he think he's a forward?
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Some of the records I came across, while unbreakable, are so obscure that they don't make the list, but are still worth a read.
While Tom Barrasso had a great career in the NHL, he holds a few strange records that aren't likely to ever be broken. He's the only goalie to ever play in the NHL straight out of high school, without college or major junior, and he's the youngest winner of the Vezina Trophy (for best goalie) as an 18-year-old. But probably the weirdest of Barrasso's records is that he is the all-time leader in career points by a goaltender, with 48.
Eddie Gaedel holds the distinction of being the shortest player to ever play Major League Baseball. At just 3'7", Gaedel wore the number "1/8" and was used for one at-bat, in which he was walked on four straight pitches before being replaced by a pinch-runner. Because this kind of publicity stunt would probably be considered politically incorrect these days, I doubt we will ever see this kind of thing again.
On October 7, 1965, a 50 mph (80 km/h) wind gust helped golfer Robert Mitera sink history’s longest hole-in-one, a 447-yard ace of the 10th hole at Omaha’s Miracle Hill Golf Club.
In 1964, Norman Manley scored hole-in-ones on back-to-back par 4's. It's the only time this feat has ever been accomplished. Manley also holds the record for most career hole-in-ones, with 59. I guess some people are just lucky!
Crawford holds the all-time record for most MLB career triples, with 309.
Babe Ruth is the only player to ever lead the MLB in ERA, shutouts and complete games in a season, then lead in batting average and home runs in a different season. Ruth accomplished a ton of amazing feats, but this is definitely one of the strange ones.
Dahlen holds the distinction of most Super Bowl rings all-time, with seven. What makes this obscure is that he never played a single NFL game, but rather won all seven rings as an administrator.
Jim Hardy threw eight interceptions in an NFL game. It really makes me wonder, just how bad was his backup?
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The great center had 32 career 60-plus point games. Second place is Kobe Bryant with five. Wilt, like Wayne Gretzky, has countless other likely unbreakable records.
He had 81 straight clay-court wins.
The defenseman had a 139 point season and was and plus-124 in one NHL season.
Was NBA leading scorer and defensive player of the year in the same season.
A streak of 297 consecutive starts as QB. I put this honorable mention because I think Peyton Manning will beat it six years from now. If Manning misses a start at any point in the next six years, this will become almost unbreakable.
Seventeen Stanley Cup rings, 10 as a player and seven as an executive.
Twenty-two career major wins. It's really impressive, but it could be beaten by Roger Federer, who's currently at 16.
Only person to ever play football, baseball and basketball professionally. He also won Olympic gold medals in pentathlon and decathlon.
New York Islanders
Nineteen straight playoff series wins. A record for all major North American professional sports.
Eight wins in a season. Hopefully no one is ever that bad again; I'm talking to you, Brian Burke.
Hockey's fastest hat trick — three goals in 21 seconds.
Henderson had 1,406 career stolen bases.
The Bruins made 29 consecutive postseason appearances.
30: Brett Favre, 336 Career Interceptions
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Brett Favre has had an amazing NFL career and holds most of the major NFL QB records, including all-time passing yards (71,775), completions (6,295), attempts (10,162) and career touchdowns (507), but I believe the least likely to be broken is Favre's career interceptions thrown record of 336.
It's a testament to his longevity and takes nothing away from his incredible accomplishments, but the margin over George Blanda's second place 277 makes me think no one will beat Favre.
29: Michael Schumacher, 91 Formula One Race Victories
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Michael Schumacher blows away the competition on a regular basis, and his domination of the record books is no different.
His 91 Formula One races won makes Alain Prost's second-place spot of 51 wins look ordinary.
28: Roger Federer, 23 Consecutive Majors Reaching at Least Semifinals
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From Wimbledon in 2004 through the 2010 Australian Open, Roger Federer successfully reached at least the semifinals in every major championship.
He also went through to 10 straight and 18 of 19 finals from Wimbledon in 2005 through the 2010 Aussie Open.
It was one of the most dominant periods anyone has ever had in the history of tennis.
27: Patrick Roy, 151 Career Playoff Wins and 3 Conn Smythe Trophies
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While Martin Brodeur has surpassed Patrick Roy's regular season wins record, his playoff wins are one of the safest records in sports. Roy had 151 career playoff wins in 17 seasons, or an average of making the third round of the playoffs every year he played.
Roy's playoff record is the stuff of legends; when he won the Stanley Cup with Montreal in 1993, he almost single-handedly won 10 straight overtime playoff games. He's also the only NHL player to ever win three Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP.
Even though Brodeur has better regular season numbers, it's hard to argue against Patrick Roy as the best NHL goalie ever.
26: Ted Williams, 84 Straight Games Reaching Base
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From July 1 to September 27, 1949, Ted Williams reached base in 84 consecutive games.
25: Mario Lemieux, A Goal Each Possible Way in One Game
5 Goals, 5 Ways
On December 31, 1988, against the New Jersey Devils, Mario Lemieux scored a goal shorthanded, even-strength, on the power play, on a penalty shot and into an empty net.
Up until the 2004-05 lockout, that was a goal each possible way in a single game, a feat that's never been matched by anyone.
Now, post-lockout, it's possible for a player to score each of those ways, and to pot a goal in a shootout, but the chances of anyone pulling that off are basically zero.
24: Philadelphia Flyers, 35-Game Undefeated Streak
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From October 16, 1979 to January 6, 1980, the Philadelphia Flyers didn't lose a single game.
With 25 wins and 10 ties, the Flyers put up the longest undefeated streak in any of the major professional sports in North America.
23: Ty Cobb, .366 Career Batting Average
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Ty Cobb is perhaps the best hitter baseball has ever had, with 11 (or 12 depending on the source) batting titles, and an unreal .366 (or .367, depending on the source) career batting average.
Considering that only two of the last 10 annual batting average leaders have been higher than Cobb's career average, I think this one is safe for a long time.
22: Rod Laver, 2 Calendar Year Tennis Grand Slams
Rod Laver won the elusive calendar year grand slam of tennis in 1962, as an amateur, then decided to turn professional and wasn't allowed to compete until the Open era of tennis began in 1968.
He then won the calendar year grand slam again in 1969 and is the only player to successfully accomplish the feat twice.
Only one other player, Don Budge in 1938, has ever won a single calendar year grand slam.
21: Wayne Gretzky, 50 Goals in 39 Games
In 1981, Wayne Gretzky had 41 goals in his first 37 games. On December 27, he scored four more in a 10-3 drubbing of the L.A. Kings. Three days later, he scored five goals en route to beating the Flyers, and hit 50 goals in only 39 games.
Gretzky eclipsed Maurice Richard's 50 in 50 previous record, and Mario Lemieux has come closer than anyone else since then, with 50 in 46, in 1988-89.
No one has had 50 in 50 since 1991-92, and Gretzky's record should be safe for years to come.
20: Alexander Karelin, 13 Year Super Heavyweight Wrestling Undefeated Streak
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Alexander Karelin's record was one that I had no idea about when I started doing the research for this article. The man was a beast, regularly picking up and throwing his super heavyweight opponents (213-286-lbs) in a move the came to be known as the Karelin Lift.
His winning streak included three Olympic golds, before he was upset in the gold medal match at the 2000 Olympics.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that in the last six years of the streak, he didn't give up even a single point.
19: Nolan Ryan, 5,714 Career Strikeouts
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Nolan Ryan is often considered one of the greatest pitchers baseball has ever seen.
He holds a few very impressive records, including having thrown seven no-hitters, as well as a record for most walks, but most amazing is his career strikeouts record of 5,714.
Second-place Randy Johnson is 839 behind, and Ryan's record is unlikely to ever be broken.
18: Doug Jarvis, 964 Consecutive NHL Games Played
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Doug Jarvis was very reliable, and despite being unspectacular, his record of consistency is a feat that will never be equaled.
From 1975 through 1987, Jarvis never missed a game, and he played 964 straight. He surpassed Garry Unger's previous record of 914, and Steve Larmer, with 884, is the only person who has even come close to Jarvis.
The current NHL ironman is Jay Bouwmeester, with 460 consecutive games.
17: Johnny Vander Meer, Back-To-Back No-Hitters
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Most pitchers are lucky if they throw one no-hitter in their career; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Vander Meer had two back-to-back, on June 11 and 15, 1938.
It's one of the most impressive feats in pitching history, and it will probably never be equaled, far less beaten.
After his double no-hit achievement, Reds management wanted him to change his number to "00," but he politely declined.
16: Jerry Rice, 208 Career Touchdowns and 22,895 Career Receiving Yards
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Jerry Rice is indisputably the best receiver in NFL history and arguably the best player ever, of any position.
His 22,895 receiving yards are 7,961 ahead of second place Tim Brown, and his 208 career touchdowns are 33 ahead of second-place Emmitt Smith.
Considering that no one is even close to him, these records will probably never be broken.
15: Lance Armstrong, 7 Straight Tour De France Wins
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While Lance Armstrong's reputation has suffered somewhat with the seemingly constant allegations of performance-enhancing drug use, his record of seven straight Tour de France wins is still incredible.
One of the most grueling sporting events in the world, the Tour de France requires unbelievable commitment to even be involved, far less win seven years in a row.
14: Orel Hershiser, 59 1/3 Consecutive Scoreless Innings Pitched
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In 1988, Orel Hershiser finished the regular season with a record 59 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings pitched.
It's the equivalent of over six consecutive shutouts.
13: Cal Ripken Jr., 2,632 Consecutive MLB Games Played
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Cal "Iron Man" Ripken Jr. is one of the best infielders to ever play baseball, and he set a new precedent for longevity in sports.
When Cal broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games record that so many people had thought was unbreakable, MLB fans voted it as the "Most Memorable Moment" in MLB history.
He went on to play in another 502 games after passing Gehrig, for a total of 2,632, before he voluntarily removed his name from the lineup in the Baltimore Orioles final game of the 1998 season.
12: Cy Young, 511 Wins, 316 Losses, 749 Complete Games
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Cy Young is arguably the greatest pitcher ever, so good that the annual best pitcher award is named in his honor.
Partly because he played in a different era, where there wasn't the same prevalence of relievers, and partly because of his dominance, Cy Young still owns many major pitching records.
The most impressive is 511 wins, which is 94 ahead of second-place Walter Johnson. Additionally, 749 complete games and 316 losses will likely never be broken.
11: Byron Nelson, 11 Straight PGA Tournament Wins
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In 1945, Byron Nelson had the greatest single year by a player on the PGA tour.
The most impressive part of that year was his 11 consecutive tournament wins, over fields that included two of the other best golfers ever, in Sam Snead and Ben Hogan.
Tiger Woods sits in second place, at seven consecutive wins, and no one has ever come close to matching "Lord Byron".
10: Johnny Unitas, 47 Consecutive Games with a Touchdown Pass
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In the final game of the 1956 season, Johnny Unitas threw a touchdown pass that would start one of the most incredible streaks in professional sports history.
He threw at least one touchdown pass in each of the 47 games from then until Week 11 of the 1960 season.
Brett Favre sits in second place, with 36 consecutive games, and it's unlikely anyone will ever come close to Unitas' record.
9: Boston Celtics, 8 Straight NBA Championships
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From 1959 to 1966, the Boston Celtics were unstoppable.
Led by center Bill Russell, forward Tommy Heinsohn and point guard Bob Cousy on the court, and the great coach Red Auerbach, the Celtics absolutely dominated the league by winning eight consecutive championships, the longest streak of any professional sports team. From 1957 to 1969, the Celtics won 11 of 13 NBA titles.
This streak is even more impressive when you consider that they faced Wilt Chamberlain in the playoffs almost every year.
8: Michael Phelps, 8 Golds in 1 Olympics
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The 2008 Summer Olympics, in Beijing, will be forever remembered as the Games of Michael Phelps.
He was set to compete in eight events leading up to the Games, and had a dream of setting a new record for gold medals in a Games.
Not only did he manage to win all eight golds, but he set seven world records and one Olympic record in the process.
7: Sir Donald Bradman, 99.94 Career Test Batting Average
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While not many of us in North America know the significance of this record, it’s been claimed to be “statistically the greatest achievement in any major sport."
Basically, it means that Bradman scored 99.94 runs for each time he got out. In 2001, Australian Prime Minister John Howard called Bradman “The Greatest Living Australian," and he was also the only living Australian to have a museum dedicated to his life.
Consider that second, third and fourth place in career test batting average sit at 60.97, 60.83 and 60. 73, respectively, and it starts to emphasize the significance of Bradman’s career.
6: Wilt Chamberlain, 126 Consecutive 20+ Point Games
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From October 19, 1961, through January 19, 1963, Wilt went a season-and-a-half without having even a single mediocre game; he was virtually unstoppable.
5: Wayne Gretzky, 51-Game Point Streak
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In 1983-84, Wayne Gretzky scored at least a point (usually more than one) in each of the first 51 games of the season.
He ended up scoring 61 goals and 92 assists for 153 points during the streak.
Mario Lemieux is second with a 46-game streak, but no one else has ever topped 30 games.
4: Wilt Chamberlain, 100 Points in a Single Game
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On March 2, 1962, the Philadelphia Warriors and New York Knicks played a regular season game that nobody really cared about beforehand.
Once the game started, though, everyone realized they were about to see something incredible. Wilt also set records in that game for most field goals attempted (63), made (36), free throws made (28) and most points in a half (59) that still stand today.
The closest anyone has ever come to Wilt’s 100-point game is Kobe Bryant, in 2006, with 81 points; Kobe was still a decent player’s average game behind.
3: Joe Dimaggio, 56 Game Hitting Streak
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From May 15, 1941, through July 16, 1941, Joltin’ Joe had a hit in each of the 56 New York Yankees games.
At his death in 1999, the New York Times called his hitting streak “perhaps the most enduring record in sports." After the streak ended, he had another 16-game hitting streak, so he had hit safely in 72 of 73 games, also a record.
To put Dimaggio’s streak in perspective, the second longest all-time is 45 games, by Willie Keeler, in 1897.
2: Wayne Gretzky, 1,963 Career Assists
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Gretzky collected 1,963 assists in his illustrious career; Mark Messier, who is second to Gretzky, had 1,887 career points. Three times, Gretzky could have won the Art Ross Trophy with just his assists. While Gretzky’s career points record is also incredible (2,857), his career assists is a mark that no one will ever come close to.
43-year-old Boston winger Mark Recchi is the closest active player, with 935 assists in 1,604 games. Recchi's played more games than Gretzky and isn't even halfway there.
Sidney Crosby, arguably the best player in the game right now, has 354 assists in 407 games, and would have to play another 23 seasons at his current pace to catch The Great One.
1: Wilt Chamberlain, 50.4 Points Per Game in a Season
Wilt’s 1961-62 season scoring average of 50.4 points per game is the most unbreakable record in all of sports. It’s 12.1 points per game higher than the next-highest season average by any other NBA player in history, and it's 13.3 ahead of the best that Michael Jordan ever managed.
Chamberlain had 4,029 points that season; Jordan is the only other player to ever break 3,000 points in a season, with 3,041.
Wilt had 50-plus points 45 times in 1961-62 and 60-plus 13 times. He had seven consecutive games with 50-plus points during the season, and he had four straight games with 60-plus later that year, including the magical 100 point game.