20 Most Impressive Streaks in All of Sports
Durability and consistency have proven to be two of the most valued traits throughout the history of American sports.
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning has exhibited both of those traits throughout his 14-year career in the NFL.
With his streak of 227 consecutive starts due to come to an end on Sunday -- due to an ailing neck injury -- let's take a look at some other similar accomplishments in the world of sports.
Here are 20 of the greatest streaks in sports history.
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Cal Ripken, Jr. Starts 2,632 Games
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The former Baltimore Orioles' shortstop and third-baseman is nicknamed "The Iron Man" for obvious reasons.
Cal Ripken, Jr. managed to defy the test of time and overcame the wear and tear of a normal human body playing professional sports to start for 2,632 games, over 500 more than the record he broke three years prior to retiring.
And though that number is most likely unbreakable regardless of the circumstances, it's even more remarkable knowing he managed to stay with one team -- the Orioles -- the entire way through.
Wayne Gretzky Scores for 30 Straight Games
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Wayne Gretzky is, without a doubt, the greatest hockey player to ever hit the ice.
The Gretzky Era saw a lot of dominance by one man, putting on a clinic and drawing crowds to watch what the sport of hockey embodied.
The record? Gretzky scores at least one point for 51 straight games. Even more shocking is that he owns the second-best record in that category with 30 straight games with a point.
In a sport where scoring normally peaks at three or four scores per game, this streak is most likely unbreakable.
Joe DiMaggio Gets Hits in 56 Straight Games
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It's no secret that Major League Baseball has one of the richest histories in all of sports and Joe DiMaggio was at the head of all of that.
DiMaggio holds one of the most endeared streaks in the history of professional sports, with 56 straight games with a hit.
Since DiMaggio broke the record set by Willie Keeler well over a century ago, no one's come close to touching it -- Pete Rose comes in second with 44 straight games with a hit.
Wilt Chamberlain's Amazing Scoring Streaks
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Wilt Chamberlain was a man among boys when professional basketball stormed onto the American sports scene in the 1950s; no pro-basketball player had the size that Chamberlain had and very few had the skill-set and basketball savvy that the Stilts possessed.
Thus, Chamberlain was virtually unstoppable and that led to a plethora of scoring streaks that would be unheard of if Wilt the Stilts didn't create them.
Here are a few of them:
- Most consecutive 50-point games at seven games;
- Most consecutive 40-point games at 14 games;
- Most consecutive 30-point games at 65 games;
- Most consecutive 20-point games at 126 games
It's difficult to imagine just how important these streaks are, so let's break them down with a few points:
- As it is, it's difficult for an NBA player to get a hold of 50 points in one game; LeBron James, one of the league's prolific scorers, had just one 50-point game and Kobe Bryant has topped out at six in one season (2005-06). Now imagine seven, not just in one season, but in a row?
- Wilt's 20-point streak spans over one-and-a-half seasons.
Connecticut Women's Basketball Team Tops UCLA Men's Basketball; Wins 90 Straight
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The University of Connecticut Huskies' women's basketball team proved to be beyond dominant during their reign of terror from 2008 to the very tail-end of 2010.
UConn put together the greatest winning streak in the history of college sports during that time, with 90 straight wins, which included two undefeated seasons, two national championships, and a one one-loss season.
Maya Moore led the Huskies as the team's best player and, in doing so, became one of the greatest collegiate athletes this country has ever seen.
Orel Hershiser Allows No Runs for 59 Straight Innings
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The Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher Orel Hershiser managed to break a record set by another Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher in Don Drysdale.
Over the span of nearly a month, Orel Hershiser allowed no runs while he took to the mound. In total, Hershiser threw for 59 innings without a single run, breaking the previous record by Drysdale by one extra inning.
This one isn't all on Hershiser, though -- credit must be due to the Dodgers' staff for pulling him (and putting him back in) at the right times.
Boston Celtics Win 8 Titles in a Row
The Boston Celtics were the biggest draw in professional basketball -- essentially, the team that won eight straight titles in a row help put basketball on the map of mainstream sports.
The Celtics had the most dominant combination of players and coach, with Bill Russel and Bob Cousy manning things on the court and Red Auerbach manning things off of it.
There wasn't a time when the Celtics weren't involved in winning titles, making the court their playground to control.
A lot has changed in the game of basketball, but there's no doubt in anyone's mind that eight straight title wins in any sport is a hell of a feat.
Lance Armstrong Wins Tour De France Seven Straight Times
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Lance Armstrong embodies the American ideal that overcoming adversity can lead to some really awesome moments, sometimes making the moments sweeter considering the trials and tribulations that must be absorbed to get to the end result.
And through various forms of cancer and tumors running rampant in his body, Armstrong managed to win the Tour de France seven straight times, the longest streak of winning the bicycling tour. Mainly because of that streak, Armstrong has the most Tour de France victories ever by one cyclist.
A.C. Green Plays in 1,192 Straight Games
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There's no way A.C. Green is going in any list of the greatest basketball players ever, but there's no denying that Green was one of the most durable basketball players the game had ever seen.
Green started for only about half the games he ever played with the Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, but there wasn't any doubt that Green would show up for work when he was called upon.
Though basketball-related injuries aren't normally serious ones, they're usually ones that can keep you on the shelf for a bit.
Unless, of course, you're A.C. Green.
Doug Jarvis Plays 964 Straight Games
Because I couldn't find a picture of Doug Jarvis that I was allowed to use, here's the only video I could find with Jarvis in it
Without a doubt, Doug Jarvis proved to be the most durable player in his respective sport.
Hockey is one of the most physically-abusive sports the world has to offer -- despite finesse being such a pivotal part of the game, toughness, grit and a heck of a lot of hard hits are just as important.
Jarvis proved that well-roundedness and durability in a sport that demanded that good players have both can go a long way. And for Jarvis, that long way translated to 964 consecutive games played.
Los Angeles Lakers Win 33 Games in a Row
Though the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers' winning streak has been threatened a couple of times in the past decade, it's still one of the greatest single-season feats in pro sports history.
In a game that often sees back-to-back nightly contests and constant running up and down the court, it's tough to pull off a good string of wins -- it isn't often that a team can get up to 10 wins in a row, let alone 33.
Wilt Chamberlain was, of course, leading that team when the Lakers won 33 games in a row; it's unlikely that this streak will ever be broken in the NBA.
Kelly Slater Wins Five Straight Surf Titles
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In the history of professional surfing, only one pro surfer has become a household name in the United States: Kelly Slater.
That's because Slater has dominated pro surfing for years and like every other dominant athlete, he has quite a streak under his belt.
From 1994 through 1998, Slater won the Surfing Professionals World Championship five straight times, which has never been done before. Considering that surfing is a one-man sport, winning five times is incredibly difficult in a field of over 30 surfers.
Oklahoma Sooners Football Win 47 Straight Games
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The Oklahoma Sooners' football program is one of the most prestigious programs in the nation, and it all started back in 1953.
And then continued on to 1954. Then 1955, 1956, and 1957.
The Oklahoma Sooners' winning streak carried on through four years, which included two national titles and 47 straight victories.
With the parity in college football thanks to the vast amount of teams, it's unlikely that a team can go undefeated for two seasons in a row, let alone 47 games.
Julio Cesar Chavez Wins His First 87 Boxing Matches
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It isn't unnatural to see a boxer win the first 40 or 50 fights of his boxing career.
However, boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez went down in history when he managed to start his career with 87 straight boxing victories.
Cesar Chavez was one of the most well-rounded and durable boxers in the history of the sport, which is remarkable considering the entire sport is based on hard hits and incredible stamina.
Cesar Chavez had his streak of boxing victories broken by Pernell Whitaker in, not a loss, but a draw.
Edwin Moses Dominates Hurdles for Nearly 10 Years
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Edwin Moses began his reign as king of the hurdles in 1977 and ended it in 1987.
That's a decade. Nine years and nine months, to be exact.
The total number of hurdle wins in his streak? 122 wins, an unprecedented number in the world of track and field.
Considering that a lot of athleticism is robbed as the knees continuously feel the pressure of a well-built human pounding the cartilage, this streak is most likely unbreakable.
Byron Nelson Wins 11 Straight Golf Tournaments
Byron Nelson is credited as the "Father of the Modern Swing" which is fitting, since he used that swing to go on one of the greatest winning streaks in the history of sports.
Nelson won 11 straight tournament titles in 1945, which also included 18 total tournament wins.
There has been disputes as to whether Nelson's streak was of any real importance considering the season saw a lack of competition due to World War II, but regardless of depth of competition, it's difficult to win 11 straight tournaments -- the feat has yet to be done by any other golfer.
Martina Navratilova Goes 17 Years with at Least One Grand Slam Title
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Martina Navratilova cemented herself as one of the greatest tennis players -- female or male -- to ever pick up a racquet.
Her streak: 17 years (1974 - 1990) with at least one Grand Slam title, with a total of 53 Grand Slams during that time-span.
Even more impressive? Those 53 Grand Slams came from singles' competition, doubles' competition, and mixed doubles' competition.
Navratilova is one of the most versatile tennis players to ever set foot on a tennis court, and this streak only reaffirms that.
John Wooden Leads UCLA to 88 Straight College Basketball Wins
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UCLA basketball was essentially put on the map when John Wooden took the reigns of the school's basketball program. The team won ten national championships under his leadership, including seven in a row.
Wooden was a natural and consistent winner; so much so, that the team wound up racking together 88 straight wins from 1970 to 1973; that's nearly three straight seasons of never losing, which is unprecedented in any professional or collegiate sports league.
Johnny Unitas Throws at Least One Touchdown Pass in 46 Straight Games
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The NFL has seen its fair share of legendary quarterbacks and Johnny Unitas is certainly up there.
Of course, Unitas sets himself apart from the rest in a very special way.
Unitas set the tone -- and no one's yet to match it -- by throwing at least one touchdown pass for 46 straight games starting in 1956.
To attach some value, Unitas threw at least one touchdown pass in every game for nearly four straight seasons. Considering that he started that streak as a scraggly 22 year old and that the layoffs in football are incredibly long, this streak is nearly untouchable.
The second highest in this category? Brett Favre's 36 straight games with a touchdown pass.
Brett Favre Starts in 297 Straight Games
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You can question Brett Favre's character all you want, but there's no denying that Favre is one of the toughest, most dedicated players the NFL has ever seen.
Through broken fingers, bruised elbows and ankles and controversy, Favre managed to start 297 straight games before the streak coming to a highly-publicized end in 2010 with the Minnesota Vikings.
For those that were barely born when Favre first took over as starter for the Green Bay Packers, consider that Peyton Manning has started for the Colts his entire career, which spans 227 games. Brett Favre has 70 games, or a little over four extra seasons, on Manning's streak.