What is the most unbreakable record in sports?
Dimaggio's 56 game hitting streak? Cy Young's 511 wins? Jerry Rice's 22,895 receiving yards? Wayne Gretzky's 894 goals? Oscar Robertson averaging a triple double for a season?
It is almost impossible to decide. There are too many records that people probably don't even think of when debating.
So, how does make the near impossible possible? We're going to take each of the 4 major sports: AFL/NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, take all of their records, and break them down into 3 categories: single game, single season, and career. I believe that is the easiest way to achieve a favorable result: deciding what are the most unbreakable records in sports. To qualify as unbreakable, there has to be a lone record holder. No record can have more than one person who has achieved it, and the record must be a regular season record. Elgin Baylor's 61 points in an NBA Finals game is nice, but will not qualify. We'll start with the NFL:
Willie "Flipper" Anderson
"Flipper" Anderson's 336 Receiving Yards
In 1945, Jim Benton of the Cleveland Rams racked up 303 receiving yards in a game against the Detroit Lions. The record would stand for 40 years before Stephone Paige of the Kansas City Chiefs did it during the 1985 season against the San Diego Chargers. Paige's record would stand for a much shorter period of time as a mere 4 years later, Willie "Flipper" Anderson of the Los Angeles Rams racked up 336 receiving yards on just 15 receptions, a 22.4 yard average per catch, in an overtime win over the New Orleans Saints. Anderson set such a high mark, that 21 completed seasons later, not one player has even compiled rushing AND receiving totals within 20 yards of Anderson's mark, let alone receiving yards alone.
"Flipper" Anderson's receiving yardage record is UNBREAKABLE.
George Blanda's 42 Interceptions
In 1962, while playing in the AFL for the Houston Oilers, George Blanda threw 42 interceptions in 14 games, averaging 3 interceptions per game. Since Blanda's record-breaking year, no quarterback has thrown more than 35, with Vinny Testaverde reaching 35 exactly in 1988 while playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Why this record will never be broken has to do with something not really related to sports: social media. With the emergence of sites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube in recent years, hundreds of millions of people go on-line and bash anybody who has a bad game. Someone's flaws will be pointed out faster and more often than somebody's positive qualities almost every time, and someone who plays badly enough to throw more than 2 interceptions per game will be benched before any such record is broken. Interceptions are the ultimate non-glory stat for the ultimate glory position in the most watched sport in the United States.
George Blanda's interceptions in a single season record is UNBREAKABLE.
Jerry Rice scoring a touchdown during Super Bowl XXIV
Jerry Rice's 22,895 Receiving Yards
Many people seeing this might be wondering where are any of Brett Favre's records are. While many of his records appear to be unbreakable, such as career passing yards, touchdowns, consecutive games played, a man who goes by the name of Peyton Manning is within striking distance of all of these records and stands a foreseeable chance of breaking all of them by the time his playing career is over. As for this record, NO ONE stands a chance of ever breaking it. Rice is considered one of the best to ever play the game for many different reasons. In addition to this record, Rice also holds 5 other career receiving records, including career touchdowns with 197, a mark which nobody has come within 44 of breaking. This record, though, remains the most unbreakable, as no one is withing 7,000 yards of catching Rice. Terrell Owens is the only active player within 8,000 yards of Rice, and he's 37 years old and currently unemployed.
Jerry Rice's career receiving yards record is UNBREAKABLE.
Moving on now to Major League Baseball:
Chase Utley scoring on the most recent inside-the-park-home run in the MLB
Tom McCreery's 3 inside-the-park home runs
For those of you thinking that 4 home runs or 12 RBI's in a game belongs on here, remember the criteria- The record must be held by a single person. So even though no one will ever hit 5 home runs or drive in 13 runs in a game, the current records have been achieved by more than one person, so it can't qualify. McCreery only managed 27 home runs in 802 games in the majors, and only 5 during the 1897 season, but for a magical day on July 12th, McCreery was invincible as he circled the bases 3 times without the ball ever leaving the park. Since McCreery's magic day, 52 men have hit two inside-the-parkers in a game, but only 4 have done so since 1932. The day was a breath of fresh air for McCreery, who would go on to lead the league in strikeouts by year's end.
Tom McCreery's inside-the-park home run record is UNBREAKABLE.
Joe Dimaggio with manager Joe Torre during his last visit to Yankee Stadium on September 27th, 1998
Joe Dimaggio's 56 Game Hitting Streak
Moving on to what might be the 2 biggest "glory" records in sports: Single-Season and Career MLB records. There are a LOT of worthy contenders in this category: Hack Wilson's 191 RBI's in 1930, Barry Bonds' 73 homers in 2001, Hugh Duffy's .439 average in 1897, but to NOT put a record that has defined baseball for the last 2-3 generations would be downright RIDICULOUS. Granted, Duffy's might be the actual most unbreakable as no body's hit over .400 in a season since 1941, but putting that over DiMaggio would almost be an insult to the game. Since DiMaggio's record run in '41, many have tried, and all have failed. Not before or since DiMaggio has anyone broken 45 games. No one's hit safely in more than 40 in a row since Pete Rose in 1978. Only 1 person in the last 30 years has even broken 35 in a row, and anybody who reaches 25 in today's game eventually cracks under the media pressure not seen during DiMaggio's days.
Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak record is UNBREAKABLE.
Cy Young's Hall of Fame plaque
Cy Young's 511 wins
Much like the single season mark, there are many contenders for this spot as well: Nolan Ryan's 5,714 strikeouts AND 7 No-hitters, Pete Rose's 4,256 hits, but you don't have an award for pitching excellence named after you for nothing. In 22 seasons, Cy Young won 511 games, lost 316, started 815 games, completed 749 of them, and pitched 7,356 innings. Today, most of the guys who comprise an entire starting rotation don't reach those career stats as a COMBINED unit. Young won 30 or more games 5 times in his career, won 20 or more 15 times, and won 13 or more 19 times. No one is within 94 wins of his record, nobody who started their career after 1915 is within even 140 wins of him, and the closest active pitcher doesn't even have 200 wins.
Cy Young's career wins record is UNBREAKABLE.
Moving on now to the National Basketball Association:
wilt chamberlain answering questions at the 1997 NBA All-Star Game
Wilt Chamberlain's 100 Points & 55 Rebounds
Wilt is so special he gets 2 records for one category. On November 24th, 1960, Chamberlain grabbed 55 rebounds in a game against the Boston Celtics. The fact that he did it against one of the greatest centers of all-time, Bill Russell, makes it all the more amazing. On March 2nd, 1962, as many people know, Chamberlain put up an unheard of 100 points against the New York Knicks. Chamberlain finished the game 36-63 from the field, and 28-32 from the free throw line, despite being a career 51% free throw shooter. In addition to the record-setting performance, Chamberlain has 15 of the 22 highest scoring games in NBA history, as well as 5 of the highest 7. The closest player to his 100 is Kobe Bryant, who scored 81 on the Raptors in January of 2006.
Wilt Chamberlain's points and rebounds in a game records are UNBREAKABLE.
Oscar Robertson (left) in 2004
Oscar Robertson averages triple-double in 1961-62
Any hardcore NBA fan would say I'm crazy for not putting Wilt Chamberlain's 50.4 points per game average also from the 1961-1962 campaign in this spot, and I very well could, but he already has his 100 point game and his 55 rebound game. Let's give another legend his moment in the sun. During one of his many of incredible seasons, Robertson recorded 41 triple- doubles (in other words, one every two games) on his way to averaging 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists. And remember, he did all of this as a 6 foot 5 inch point guard. Today, most of the top forwards and centers in the league 6-7 inches taller than Robertson don't average 12.5 rebounds, and every once in a while, someone will average 30.8 points per game, and Robertson did it without the 3-point shot. Imagine guys like Kobe, LeBron, and Durant shooting nothing but 2's their whole career.
Oscar Robertson's triple-double average is UNBREAKABLE.
John Stockton and Karl Malone, the greatest 1-2 punch in NBA history, during the 1998 NBA Finals
John Stockton's 15,806 career assists
Before John Stockton broke it, Magic Johnson once held the record for career assists with 10,141. Before Magic's own playing career came to an official end, Stockton broke Johnson's all time assist record on February 1st, 1995, after just 11 seasons in the league. Stockton would play for an additional 8+ seasons, smashing Johnson's record and far distancing himself from such future record chasers as Mark Jackson and Jason Kidd, both of whom have passed Magic, but sit far behind Stockton's record.
John Stockton's career assists record is UNBREAKABLE.
Moving on now to the National Hockey League:
A fight between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins
Randy Holt's 67 Penalty Minutes
I decided to put this one on here because I saw this and found it stunning. When I found out why the number was so high, I could not stop laughing for several minutes. In a game against the tough-in-their-own-right Philadelphia Flyers on March 11th, 1979, Holt picked up a minor penalty early in the 1st period. Later, Holt fought Flyers' enforcer Frank Bathe, a fight for which he earned 20 more minutes. At the end of the 1st period, still upset by what he felt had been a cheap shot from another Flyers' "Broad Street Bully", Ken Linseman, Holt started a bench-clearing brawl to get back at Linseman. The brawl earned Holt 45 more minutes and a triple game misconduct, bringing his total to 67, 7 more minutes than the length of an ordinary NHL game.
Randy Holt's penalty minutes record is UNBREAKABLE.
Wayne Gretzky waving goodbye to the fans after his final game on April 18th, 1999 at Madison Square Garden
(Enter Wayne Gretzky Record here)
What can you possibly put that either: is NOT a record set by "The Great One" or choosing ONE record set by Gretzky during any one of his miraculous seasons? Gretzky holds the top two spots in single season goals, the top four spots in points, and the top SEVEN spots in assists.
Wayne Gretzky's single season records are UNBREAKABLE.
Wayne Gretzky playing for the Oilers during his record-setting 1985-1986 season
(Enter Wayne Gretzky Record here)
WHAT???? Wayne Gretzky holds the most unbreakable NHL career record? The guy only has 93 more goals, 714 more assists, and 670 more points than his closest competitors in each respective category. Is there any question why he's "The Great One" and not "The Very Good One?"
Wayne Gretzky's career records are UNBREAKABLE.
Let the debate(s) begin.