How Unbreakable Are Sports Most Unbreakable Records?

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. watches on the sideline prior to the start of Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Let's face it. Even though records are made to be broken, there are many records out there that are unbreakable.

The greatest records in the books have been labeled "unbreakable." But obviously, not all are unbreakable, they are just on different levels of unbreakability.

So without further ado, I shall now present the levels of unbreakability that, I'm sure, will be hotly contested.

Note: I have excluded all dead-ball era career numbers. That is a level of unbreakability that no current baseball player could match. Nobody is getting 511 wins (Cy Young) or throwing 110 shutouts (Walter Johnson)...ever.

The Could-Happen-In-Your-Lifetime Unbreakables

Nolan Ryan's Seven No-Hitters        Unbreakability: 1/10

Baseball is a perpetual ebb and flow of shifts between pitching and hitting dominance, and currently, we are mired in a hitters' era.  It should only be a matter of time, however, when pitching dominance comes back into vogue, and the MLB is flooded with pitching talent.

It will be at that point when there is a chance of a pitcher being up to the level of Nolan Ryan and is able to hurl the ball with such dominance that he could potentially toss numerous perfect games during his career.

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Jim Brown's Eight Years as League Leading Rusher      Unbreakability: 3/10

Since Jim Brown won his eighth rushing title, the only people to come near his eight titles are O.J. Simpson (four titles), Eric Dickerson (four), Emmitt Smith (four), Earl Campbell (three), Barry Sanders (three), Edgerrin James (two), LaDanian Tomlinson (two). 

Jim Brown was a monster of a running back who has been unmatched up until this point. There is a possibility, though, that at anytime, a player could come in and totally annihilate competition. So it could happen in the next 50 or so years.

Maybe Your Kids Will See These Fall

Wayne Gretzky's 215-Point Season     Unbreakability: 5/10

The closest anyone has come to The Great One's immaculate 1985-86 season is 212 points, and that was by...well...Wayne Gretzky. 

Mario Lemieux has been the closest of a guy not named Wayne, when he had 199 points in 1988-89. Since 2000, the highest total was Joe Thorton's 125 points in '05-'06.

So, while it is unlikely that anyone currently in the NHL (Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin included) breaks the record, it is entirely possible that a youngster could become the next great one and throw up historic numbers.

Joe Dimaggio's 56 Game Hitting Streak    Unbreakability: 5.5/10

Joltin' Joe's hitting streak is nothing short of amazing.  To get a hit 56 games in a row is unfathomable.  He was on a hot streak, the likes of which I have never seen.

However, the odds of a .350 hitter (Ichiro or Albert Pujols usually fall into this category yearly, along with a few others) is 1-in-1.35 million, which is not as unlikely as one would think.

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,632 Consecutive Games Played    Unbreakability: 7/10

With this record, we are approaching near the impossible side of this record being broken.  Baseball is a completely different game than it was 50 years ago, and even just 20 years ago.

While players still have the longevity that players of the past had, they have nowhere near the ability to play every game.  Players have next-to-no downtime from the postseason to the preseason and become more fatigued as the year goes on.  The fact that Ripken pulled off this feat in the late 20th century is quite unbelievable.

Probably Not Even in Your Grandkid's Lifetime

UCLA's 88 Game Win Streak, Men's Division I Basketball   Unbreakability: 8/10

There is a great chance that UCONN's women will surpass 88 and possibly keep going for the next 17 years (maybe that is a slight hyperbole). However, no men's team is going to get up to 88 wins unless the next Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, and Steve Nash all end up on the same team and stay all four years.

Never. Ever.

Wilt Chamberlain's 50.3 Points Per Game and 27.2 Rebounds Per Game   Unbreakability: 10/10

These numbers are just atrociously high.  They are a product of an overpowering man and an era of short players and fast pace in the NBA.

If I ever see either of these broken, I will swim the English Channel naked with Mark Mangino on my back.

Johnny Vander Meer's Back-to-Back No-Hitters   Unbreakability: 10/10

I can see someone tying this record at any point in any season.  If a pitcher gets on a hot streak, the likes of which we have never seen before, two no-hitters in a row is not outside of the realm of possibilities.

I can not bring myself to fathom a pitcher tossing three no-no's in a row to break this record.  It is simply impossible.

There is a slew of records that I would have liked to include, but either I didn't feel like writing a novel-length article, or I don't know enough about those sports to include them.  Here are just a few:

  • Rocky Marciano's 49-0 career as a heavyweight
  • Alexander Karelin (the Russian guy who Rulon Gardner beat at the 2000 Olympics), went undefeated for 13 years
  • Sugar Ray Robinson's 91-fight win streak
  • Donald Bradman's 99.94 percent career test batting average in cricket (no clue what that means but the next closest is something like 60 percent)
  • Nolan Ryan's 5,714 career strikeouts
  • Hack Wilson's 191 RBI