MLB: Joe DiMaggio's 56-Game Hitting Streak and MLB's 25 Most Unbreakable Records
The record books of Major League Baseball are filled with incredible records that are all but untouchable.
One of those feats came in 1941, when Joe DiMaggio put together a 56-game hitting streak.
From May 15 to July 16, DiMaggio had one of the most incredible runs of all time, hitting safely in every game for two straight months.
Many other once-in-a-lifetime athletes have left their imprint on baseball history and have set marks that are nearly impossible to match.
This list ranks the 25 most unbreakable records in MLB history.
Note: Rankings only include players and teams from the modern era (defined as post-1900.) Statistics come from MLB.com and Baseball Almanac.
25. 1916 Philadelphia Athletics’ 36-Win Season
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The Athletics finished 54.5 games behind the AL first-place Boston Red Sox and 40 games behind the second-worst team.
24. 2001 Seattle Mariners’ and 1906 Chicago Cubs’ 116 Wins in a Season
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In 1906, the Chicago Cubs won a record-setting 116 games.
That record stood for 95 years—until the 2001 Seattle Mariners came along and matched it with 116 wins.
While both teams share the title for most wins in a season, the Cubs' feat is more impressive given that they played only 152 games compared to the current 162.
Despite setting the wins record, neither team won the World Series—the Mariners lost in the ALCS, and the Cubs lost in the World Series.
The next highest win total was set by the New York Yankees team that won 114 games in 1998.
23. 1935 Chicago Cubs’ 21 Consecutive Wins
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The 1935 Cubs hold the record for the most consecutive wins in a season. They set the mark in 1935 by winning 21 straight.
The only team to approach the Cubs’ record was the 2002 Oakland A’s. They won 20 straight games in 2002.
The 1916 New York Giants won 26 straight games without a defeat, but a tie broke up their consecutive win streak.
22. Babe Ruth’s 177 Runs Scored
Despite being known as a slugger, one of Babe Ruth’s greatest records came in a category that is usually dominated by leadoff hitters.
While playing for the New York Yankees in 1921, Ruth scored 177 runs.
Since the 1930s, the closest players to approach the Bambino’s record are Jeff Bagwell (152 in 2000) and Ted Williams (150 in 1949).
21. Ron Hunt’s 50 HBPs in a Season
While I would have loved to play Major League Baseball, Ron Hunt is certainly not a guy I’d want to be.
In 1971, Hunt was hit by a pitch on 50 different occasions, obliterating the modern-era record of 31 set by Steve Evans.
Hunt lived by the motto, “Some people give their bodies to science; I give mine to baseball.”
Hunt held the career HBP record when he retired with 243, but it was subsequently broken by Don Baylor (267) and Craig Biggio (285).
Baylor currently ranks second in HBPs in a season with 35, a full 15 behind Hunt.
20. Orel Hershiser’s 59.1 Consecutive Scoreless Innings Streak
Orel Hershiser was nicknamed "The Bulldog" for his small frame and competitive nature.
In 1988, Hershiser finished the season throwing more than 59 consecutive innings of scoreless baseball. That year he led the league in wins (23) and complete games (15).
Hershiser is the only player to receive the Cy Young Award, the Championship Series MVP award and the World Series MVP award in the same season.
In 2009, Zack Greinke pitched a 38-inning scoreless streak, but even that fell more than 20 innings short of Hershiser’s record.
19. Eric Gagne’s 84 Consecutive Saves
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From August 28, 2002 to July 3, 2004, Eric Gagne had one of the most impressive streaks of all time.
During that span, Gagne saved 84 consecutive games, while only giving up 71 hits.
Gagne went the entire 2003 season without blowing a save and was rewarded for his achievement with the NL Cy Young Award.
The second-longest consecutive save streak is 54 by Tom Gordon.
18. Ty Cobb's .367 Lifetime Batting Average
Ty Cobb played 24 marvelous seasons in his career and was one of the best hitters to ever play the game.
His career batting average of .367 ranks higher than anyone else's.
Among active players, the closest to Cobb are Albert Pujols (.329), Ichiro Suzuki (.329) and Vladimir Guerrero (.318).
17. Walter Johnson’s 110 Career Shutouts
From 1907-1927, Walter Johnson pitched for the Washington Senators.
Johnson threw 110 shutouts during that time. He peaked in 1913, when he threw 11 shutouts.
Notable names at the top of the career shutout list include Cy Young (76), Nolan Ryan (61) and Tom Seaver (61).
There are currently no active players who rank in the top 100.
16. Barry Bonds’ 73* Home Runs
Did you notice the (not so) subtle asterisk?
In 2001, Bonds had one of the most remarkable seasons of all time, hitting 73 home runs—one home run for every 6.5 plate appearances.
While Bonds’ 73 homers is only three higher than Mark McGwire’s 70, his record will be tough to beat because of MLB’s crackdown on steroids.
Bonds also holds the career home run record, but that appears far more breakable, as Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez are currently striving to shatter his 762* mark (yes, another asterisk).
15. Hack Wilson’s 191 RBI
While playing for the Chicago Cubs in 1930, Hack Wilson had a record-breaking 191 RBI.
His record has stood for over 70 years.
Since the 1930s, the closest anyone has come was in 1999, when Manny Ramirez had 165 RBI.
To break Wilson’s record, a player would have to knock in more than one run per game over the course of 162 games.
14. Ed Walsh’s Career 1.82 Earned Run Average
While Addie Joss’ 1.89 ERA is not too far off, there is only one active player with an ERA that ranks in the top 100.
That player is Mariano Rivera. Rivera currently ranks No. 11 with a career 2.22 ERA.
13. Sam Crawford’s 309 Career Triples
Prior to writing this article, I had never heard of Sam Crawford. But his 309 career triples is something all baseball fans should remember.
Crawford played 19 seasons with the Reds and Tigers and was a career .309 hitter.
The No. 2 and No. 3-ranked players on the career triples list are Ty Cobb (295) and Honus Wagner (252), so Crawford is in good company.
Carl Crawford (no relation) is the only active player who ranks in the top 150. He currently has 109 career triples.
12. Nolan Ryan’s Seven Career No-Hitters
Nolan Ryan ranks as one of the best pitchers of all time and holds several records to back that up.
Ryan’s seven career no-hitters stands as one of his most impressive feats.
Sandy Koufax threw four no-hitters, and Cy Young, Larry Corcoran and Bob Feller each had three, but no other pitcher has more than two.
11. Nolan Ryan’s 2,795 Career Walks
While most of Ryan’s career records are unforgettable in a positive way, this is one he would rather not hold.
Ryan walked a record-setting 2,795 batters in his career. The next closest? Randy Johnson—he had 1,497.
Among active players, Tim Wakefield has the most career walks with 1,182.
10. Johnny Vander Meer's Two Consecutive No-Hitters
In 1938, Johnny Vander Meer did the incredible when he pitched no-hitters in consecutive starts.
I wish I were a statistician and could predict the odds on a pitcher throwing back-to-back no-hitters, because they would be staggeringly low.
9. Pete Rose’s 4,256 Career Hits
Unfortunately, Pete Rose’s gambling scandal while manager of the Reds has overshadowed his on-the-field performance.
Throughout his 24-year career, Rose had numerous achievements, but his 4,256 career hits is the most memorable.
Prior to Rose, Ty Cobb held the hits record with 4,189. Most in baseball view 3,000 hits as a career milestone, so 4,000 hits is that much more impressive.
Among active players, Derek Jeter has the most career hits. He’s just a few away from joining the 3,000-hit club.
8. Barry Bonds’ 688 Career Intentional Walks
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Barry Bonds became such a dangerous hitter at the turn of the century that opposing pitchers refused to even pitch to him.
During his career, Bonds was given a free pass to first base 688 times. The next highest on the intentional walk list is Hank Aaron with 293—less than half of Bonds' total.
If any active player can catch him, it is Albert Pujols, but he has only been walked intentionally 240 times.
7. Cy Young’s 749 Complete Games
Cy Young’s 749 complete games is hard to fathom.
To get to the 749 mark, Young pitched 22 seasons, averaging just over 34 complete games a year.
Roy Halladay has a reputation of finishing games, but in his best year he pitched only nine complete games.
Since there are no active pitchers who rank in the top 100 and today’s pitchers rarely go the distance, Young’s record appears fairly safe.
6. Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 Career Strikeouts
Nolan Ryan’s career strikeouts record is the fireballer’s third record on this list.
Ryan was able to strike out 5,714 batters in his career for two reasons: He was a phenomenal pitcher who threw smoke, and he pitched for 27 seasons.
Ryan’s career strikeout record appears pretty safe.
During his career he struck out roughly 800 batters more than the No. 2-ranked pitcher, and he has more than twice as many strikeouts as any active pitcher.
5. Rickey Henderson’s 1,406 Career Stolen Bases
Nicknamed "The Man of Steal," Rickey Henderson was a speed demon on the basepaths.
During his 25-season career, he stole at least 100 bases in three different seasons.
The closest person to Henderson is Lou Brock, who finished his career with 938 stolen bases—468 less than Henderson.
Among active players, no one is close to Henderson. Thirty-three-year-old Juan Pierre has the most and only stands at 537.
4. Joe DiMaggio’s 56-Game Hitting Streak
Joe DiMaggio played his entire 13-year career with the Yankees and will always be remembered as an all-time great.
In 1941, DiMaggio hit safely in 56 straight games—a mark that has stood for over 60 years.
Pete Rose came closest to breaking the record in 1978 but fell short by a full 12 games.
Since Rose’s 44-game hitting streak, the closest anyone has been to DiMaggio’s 56 was Jimmy Rollins, who assembled a 38-game streak during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
3. Cal Ripken’s 2,632 Consecutive Games Played Streak
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Cal Ripken Jr. earned his "Iron Man" nickname by playing in 2,632 consecutive games. His consecutive games streak spanned 17 seasons, lasting from May 30, 1982 to September 20, 1998.
Prior to Ripken, Lou Gehrig held the consecutive games record for 56 years.
No active player is close to Ripken’s record.
At the end of the 2010 season, Matt Kemp had played in 204 consecutive games—the only player with a streak longer than 200.
2. Nap Lajoie’s .426 Single-Season Batting Average
In 1902, Nap Lajoie had an astonishing .426 batting average. His mark still stands as the best single-season batting average in the modern era.
Since Lajoie played in a completely different time period, it is tough to compare his batting average to those of today.
The last player to hit over .400 was Ted Williams, who hit .406 while playing for the Red Sox in 1941.
Since 1980, the best single-season batting average in a non-strike year came in 1999, when Larry Walker hit .379.
1. Cy Young’s 511 Career Wins
Have you ever wondered why the award for the best pitcher is named after Cy Young?
In addition to his 749 complete games that were mentioned earlier, Young won 511 games during his historic career.
He is the career wins leader and won 94 more than the closest pitcher, Walter Johnson.
Breaking his record is virtually impossible. If a pitcher were to play for 25 seasons and win 20 games a year, he would still fall 11 wins short of Young.
The closest active pitcher to Young’s record is Jamie Moyer, who has 267 victories—just over half of Young’s 511 career wins.