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Top 10 Most Unbreakable MLB Records

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Numbers are the heart and soul of baseball.  They are used everyday to quantify an argument about whether Player A was better than Player B.  Records are made to be broken.  Well, some of them may be around to stay for awhile, if not forever etched in the record books.  Records lead to baseball immortality, ensuring that future generations of baseball fans can talk about the exploits of Ruth, DiMaggio, Musial, and Aaron.  These legends only grow if a modern day player makes a run at one of these records.

Some records will stand the test of time simply because of changes to the modern game.  The fact that a record is on this list doesn’t mean that it is impossible to be broken.  Rather, it is a look at the relative likelihood that it will be broken and the circumstances that it would take.

10.)  Single Season Batting Average

All Time:  Hugh Duffy  .439  1894     Modern Day:  Rogers Hornsby  .424  1924

Considering the dominance of pitching in the game today, this one is getting safer each and every season.  The last player to hit over .400 in a season was Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox back in 1941.  The closest anyone has even come to hitting .400 since then was Tony Gwynn in 1994 when he hit .394.

9.)  Career Hits

All Time:  Pete Rose  4, 256

Photo credit: spokeo.com

Photo credit:
spokeo.com

It wouldn’t be inconceivable that Rose’s record could be broken, but it doesn’t seem likely anytime soon.  Derek Jeter was the closest active player with 3,465 before his retirement after the 2014 season.  Ichiro Suzuki could possibly have made a run at Rose if his entire career had been played in the MLB.  Careers are getting longer, but it would take 20 seasons of averaging 213 hits to surpass Rose.

8.)  Consecutive Games Played

All time:  Cal Ripken  2, 632

I’m not sure if there is even a desire to play this many games in a row.  Add in the combination of ability and health that it takes to get close to this record and the difficulty factor skyrockets.  Considering that second place all time is  2, 130 and the current leader is Hunter Pence with 383, this one seems to be Cal’s for some time.

7.)  Career Pitching Wins

All time:  Cy Young 511

It’s hard to fathom any current pitcher getting to 300 wins for their career, much less topping 500.  A pitcher would have to rack up 25 straight 20 win seasons and he would still be short of Young’s record.  Considering that the past five seasons of play have only yielded 12 pitchers that have amassed 20 wins, this one seems impossible to reach.  Young obviously pitched in an era where starters had more opportunities to get a win, but his accomplishments are of legendary proportions and will stand the test of time.

6.)  Career Shutouts by a Pitcher

All Time:  Walter Johnson 110

With today’s bullpen usage being what it is, it is hard to imagine anyone finishing off enough games to come near this record.  The active leader in this category is Tim Hudson with 13.  Granted, the Big Train pitched during the dead ball era, but he had 11 seasons of at least 6 shutouts and was one of the most dominating pitchers of his time.  A modern player would have to throw 5 shutouts for 22 seasons just to tie Johnson.



5.)  Single Season RBI

All Time:  Hack Wilson  191

Wilson’s slugging percentage of .723 in 1930, combined with the fact that the league average for on base percentage was about 40 points higher than today’s average led to his record total.  Occasionally, a player will get off to a hot start and put up totals in April that will have them on pace to break this record, but Manny Ramirez’s 165 RBI’s in 1999 are the highest in recent times.  This record in not impossible to break, but would take a lineup made up of batters that get on base regularly.

4.)  World Championships

All Time:  Yogi Berra  10

The likelihood of anyone appearing in 10 World Series, much less being on the winning team that many times is not going to happen in this day and time.  Berra was not only the top catcher in the game at the time, he just happened to play for a franchise that made one of the greatest runs of championships of all time.  The fact that there were only 16 teams in MLB at the time vs. 30 teams today only serve to make this more difficult to accomplish.

3.)  Consecutive Games Reaching Base

All Time:  Ted Williams  84

Photo credit: gettyimages

Photo credit:
gettyimages

Ted Williams was one of the most feared hitters of his time.  In 1949, he put together a streak that would rival Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak.  Including walks, Williams reached base in 84 straight games in 1949.  The Moneyball era has put increased emphasis on OBP, making it possible for someone to make a run at this record.  But considering that Williams has the first and third highest total of all time, which are sandwiched around DiMaggio’s great year in 1941, it will be difficult to accomplish.  It is one of the most overlooked records of all time and very likely will stand up for some time to come.

2.)  Career Batting Average

All Time:  Ty Cobb  .366

Players don’t hit over .360 for a single season, much less average it for an entire career, especially one as celebrated as Cobb’s.  The last time someone had a single season average that high was Ichiro Suzuki with .372 in 2004.  Miguel Cabrera currently has the highest career average at .320.  For Cobb to maintain that kind of average over a career that spanned 22 years speaks volumes to his ability.  This is one that will not be broken.

1.)  Consecutive Game Hitting Streak

All Time:  Joe DiMaggio  56

One of the most famous streaks in all of sports, DiMaggio’s efforts in 1941 were so stunning that he won the MVP in spite of Ted Williams batting .406.  No player has ever come within ten games of DiMaggio’s 56 game mark. In fact, only one other player, Pete Rose,  has had a hit streak of more than 40 games in the past 90 years.  DiMaggio’s run captivated a country and the mounting pressure that grows each and every day of such a streak only helps to assure that this record is one of the least likely to be broken.

There are many other records that, depending on your outlook, could be thrown on to this list.  Barry Bonds home run mark of 73, Rickey Henderson career stolen base total, and Nolan Ryan’s career strikeout total could all be strongly considered.  They are all worthy, but the likelihood of each being broken has to be considered relative to the current playing environment.  Numbers may be the heart and soul of baseball, but the debate that these numbers spark is what draws us closer to the game.

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