There are some records in professional sports that will never be broken. The fans know it. Other players know it. The recordholder even knows it himself.
The record book might as well have an asterisk next to these records—the asterisk meaning “unbreakable.”
Ranking these records is virtually impossible, especially when comparing sports, so these aren't in any particular order.
Here are the 20 most unbreakable records in the history of professional sports:
Rickey Henderson—1406 stolen bases
Jose Reyes may end up with close to 1000 stolen bases, but Rickey's mark will never be surpassed. A player could steal 70 bases for 20 consecutive seasons and still not beat Henderson's mark. The stolen base has been proven to be an overrated statistic, and with the potential for injury, the risk of a single extra base is becoming too great for a player to make a living out of it.
Cal Ripken Jr.—2632 consecutive games played
Playing in every single game for over 16 years? Unbelievable.
Cal Ripken Jr. may never see a player reach even half of his streak. Today's baseball players are paid too much money to risk an injury by continuing to play in pain. No active player is within 2000 games of Ripken's streak.
Brett Favre—305 interceptions
In a time period where quarterbacks are rapidly improving, and the position is quickly becoming the most valuable in all of sports, no quarterback will ever throw for more than 305 interceptions in a career.
Brett Favre's record has taken 18 years, and counting.
A quarterback could throw 15 interceptions for 20 consecutive seasons and not top Favre's mark.
Favre holds almost every single passing record in NFL history, most of which will be broken by Peyton Manning one day.
Boston Celtics—eight consecutive championships
Bottom line: Too many teams are competitive in today's world of sports for this to ever happen again. The Boston Celtics of 1959-1966 were able to keep virtually the same players on their roster for the entire stretch, which is next-to impossible in today's free agency market. No team will ever dominate any sport like the Celtics did. The odds of a franchise winning 32 consecutive postseason series is unfathomable.
Joe DiMaggio--56 game hitting streak
No player has ever come within 20 percent of DiMaggio's streak. Pete Rose reached 44 games in 1978. Two of my Phillies--Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins--reached the mid 30's a couple of years ago.
The pressure that one player receives during a hitting streak is enormous. Dozens of reporters crowd their locker every game. The attention is overwhelming.
It would surprise me if anyone even reached 50 consecutive games. DiMaggio's streak might be the most unbreakable non-pitching record in baseball.
Wilt Chamberlain—50.4 points per game in one season
If a basketball player scores 50 points in a game, it is BIG news. If a player averages 50 points a game over the span of a week, he becomes the biggest story in all of sports.
Therefore, for one player to average over 50 points in an entire season is insane. Wilt is the greatest scoring machine in the history of professional sports—better than Wayne Gretzky, Babe Ruth, or Jerry Rice. His 1962 season might be the greatest single-season in the history of professional sports, and he didn't even win the MVP that year.
Wayne Gretzky—2857 points
No other hockey player has more than 2000 career points.
Gretzky had more assists than any other hockey player has career points.
He had 92 goals in one season.
He had 215 total points in one season.
Alexnader Ovechkin might break one of these records someday.However, "The Great One" will only see a handful of athletes reach even half of his career scoring mark.
Hack Wilson—191 RBI in one season
Juan Gonzalez totaled 101 runs batted in at the halfway point of the 1998 season, and finished with 157. Manny Ramirez drove in 165 runs in 1999. But no player will ever top the legendary Hack Wilson. This would require an RBI a game for an entire season—plus 30 extra runs batted in.
Bill Russell—11 championships
No player will ever again win double-digit championships. Derek Jeter won four in his first five seasons, but even he hasn't won a world championship since 2000. Russell played for the Celtics in the 1960's (see Boston Celtics eight consecutive championships). He spent his 13-year career with the team, which is a rarity in itself. Russell is the greatest winner sports has ever known.
Night Train Lane—14 interceptions in one season
Why is this unbreakable? Because if a player approached 14 interceptions in one season, teams would learn to never throw a pass near him.
The best cornerbacks in today's game rarely have balls thrown their way, and the majority of them posted their top interception total early in their career.
Lane's 14 as rookie in 1952 set a single-season record that will probably never be seriously threatened. A defensive back may never even intercept 10 passes in a season.
Jerry Rice—22,895 receiving yards
What's more likely, 1150 yards for 20 consecutive seasons, or 1500 yards for more than 15 seasons? Neither will ever happen again. The world will probably not see an athlete like Jerry Rice for quite some time. Wide receivers will forever be compared to Rice, but no one will ever break any of his records—his total catches, total touchdowns, and especially total receiving yards.
Babe Ruth—.690 career slugging percentage
No player may ever reach within ten percent of the Babe's mark. It will be difficult for another player to slug .600 for a full career. Power diminishes with age, and no player can expect to remain so dominant for a full career. A player would need to be posting slugging percentages around.750 in the prime of their career, and this is a number that has only been reached by the likes of Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig, and Mark McGwire.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers—26 consecutive losses
Yes, the Detroit Lions have lost 14 consecutive games. But they won't lose 12 more games in-a-row. Calvin Johnson will win them a game sooner or later. The embarrassment of losing every single game for one full season, as well as the majority of a second season would almost be enough to will a team to victory.
Lance Armstrong—seven consecutive Tour de France victories
Lance Armstrong might be the most dominant athlete in the history of professional sports. Winning the Tour de France for seven consecutive seasons? We may never again see a cyclist hit three or four. Armstrong was a physical freak, willed on by his triumphant defeat of cancer and unbelievable endurance.
Barry Bonds—120 intentional walks in one season
Barry Bonds can take this one to the grave. Odds are that no one will reach half of this mark. Teams refuse to pitch to a hitter if they're intimidating, but the odds of one hitter averaging four or five intentional walks per week is just a joke. Most teams don't average 120 intentional walks a season. With the end of the Steroid Era in baseball, the league leader in intentional walks will struggle to reach 30 a season.
Cy Young—749 complete games
This one is laughable. Pitchers today will never again reach 200 complete games—their managers just won't allow it. The most successful pitchers in the game today pitch eight innings of shutout ball and allow a reliever to finish the game. If a pitcher would reach 10 complete games in a season, it becomes big baseball news. Twenty is impossible. And one would need to average 40 complete games for 19 consecutive seasons to reach this mark.
Johnny Unitas—47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass
Brett Favre once threw a touchdown in 36 consecutive games, but that remains second to Johnny U. To expect a quarterback to throw a touchdown pass for every game for almost three consecutive years is too much to ask for. Teams win games 24-10, and the quarterback doesn't throw a touchdown pass. No coach would care enough about the streak to be sure to have his quarterback pass the ball every time the ball was in the red zone.
Wayne Gretzky—nine MVP awards
Winning the award as the greatest player in your respective sport is a fantastic honor. To win this award nine times in a single career is just out of this world.
Wayne Gretzky will never even have this record threatened. The most MVPs by a baseball player is seven—by Barry Bonds. No football player has won more than three, and only Bill Russell can fill up one hand among basketball players.
Nolan Ryan—seven no-hitters
A pitcher can easily make the Hall of Fame without throwing a no-hitter. Ryan threw seven in his 27-year career. He threw two in 1973, one in 1974, one in 1975, one in 1981, and two in his mid 40's as a Texas Ranger. Sandy Koufax ranks second with four no-hitters, but the difference between four and seven is unbelievable. To break this record would require eight no-hitters. There are some teams that haven't thrown eight no-hitters in 27 years.
Ron Hunt—50 hit by pitches in one season
Many major league players don't even walk 50 times in a season, but in 1971, Ron Hunt was plunked by a baseball 50 times in one season. Chase Utley of the Phillies is hit more than just about any player in baseball, and he has never approached 30 HBP. Hunt perfected the art of leaning into pitches without letting the umpire realize what he was doing. He never came close to 50 again, but then again—neither will anyone else.