Article: 25 MLB Records That May Never Be Broken: HowStuffWorks
25 MLB Records That May Never Be Broken
By: Ian Fortey
About This Article
While baseball has long been considered America's game, it's much older than you might think. There's evidence of games similar to baseball existing for literally thousands of years. And it makes sense if you think about it — hitting a ball with a stick is an extremely simple idea. It's had a long time to grow into the phenomenon it is today and in the process, there have been some standout performances. Players achieve legendary status and seem bigger than the game. Consider Babe Ruth, a man who played the game 100 years ago and who still, after all this time, is considered one of if not the greatest player in the history of the game.
This game makes legends and those legends make incredible records. Some, like the home run record, seem to always be up for grabs if a player has the strength and ability to strive toward it. But then there are those other records that stand the test of time. The records that are almost impossible to comprehend. Records that, when you consider all facets of how they were achieved, are likely to never be approached ever again. Want to know which ones we think just might stand forever? Take a look and see!
Babe Ruth's 177 runs
In 1921 Babe Ruth was a phenom of baseball like few before or since. And even though players in later generations have gone on to break some of his records, one that seems like it's not going anywhere any time soon is his record for runs scored in a single season. With 177 under his belt, Ruth is leaps and bounds ahead of modern players. The #2 on the list is Lou Gehrig, who scored 167 in 1936. The closest player in modern history was Jeff Bagwell back in 2000. His number? 152.
The grandest slam
Everyone knows a Grand Slam is no easy feat to achieve at the best of times, but how about getting more than one in a single game? So far only 13 players in history have batted in two grand slams in a game and none have ever hit three. That being said, Fernando Tatis holds the almost impossible record of hitting two Grand Slams in the same inning back in 1999.
The drought of the century
Losing is not mathematically improbable for any team in any sport, but the breadth of the Cubs World Series drought is the stuff of legends. It was generational, a 107-year monstrosity that it would take the Cleveland Indians another 38 years to reach and they're the next closest team to the record. Is it possible? Maybe, but don't take the prop bet on this one. You probably won't live to see if you won.
The never-ending strikeout machine
Wrapping your head around just how good a pitcher Nolan Ryan was is no easy task. The number of records he holds is pretty staggering, but when you get into the number of records that seem unbreakable you're in out of this world territory. Take, for instance, his impressive 5,714 career strikeouts. He had 15 seasons in which he had at least 200 strikeouts and 6 with over 300. Only 5 pitchers have ever had over 300 in a season in the last 20 years.
Cal Ripken never called in sick.
It started in May of 1982 and didn't end until September of 1998. Cal Ripken did not miss a single game for 16 straight years of baseball. Have you ever done anything consistently for 16 years? It's baffling. He destroyed the previous record by over 500 games and that one had stood for 56 years. How close is anyone right now? There isn't a single player in the league who has more than 300 consecutive games under their belt.
Only 5 pitchers in baseball history have ever pitched more than 2 career no-hitters. Cy Young, Larry Corcoran and Bob Feller all managed 3. Sandy Koufax pulled off four. And then there's Nolan Ryan. Ryan managed a career 7 no-hitters. Corcoran and Young got their records in the 1800s. Koufax and Feller had their heyday in the '50s or earlier. In over a century, no one has even come close to Ryan.
It's a packed house.
Not every amazing baseball record is related to the game, strictly speaking. Take the all-time attendance record set back in 2008 during a pre-season game between the Red Sox and the Dodgers. The game took place in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Official numbers were at 115,301 in attendance. Sounds impressive, right? It is. It's also unbreakable because there literally isn't a stadium currently in use that can even hold that many people again.
If you don't know the name Johnny Vander Meer, don't feel like you're out of the loop. Vander Meer played in the '30s, so you probably missed most of his career highlights including his most amazing claim to fame — back-to-back no-hitters. Vander Meer put up no-hitters just four days apart back in 1938. In 2015, Max Scherzer followed a no-hitter with a one-hitter and that's about as close anyone has come in nearly 100 years of play.
These boots are made for walkin'.
Ideally, as a pitcher, you want to strike a batter out. Failing that, a walk isn't the worst thing you could imagine, right? Better than allowing a home run. And when it comes to walking batters, Nolan Ryan made it look like a cakewalk. With 2,795 walks in his career, Ryan has over 900 more than his next closest competitor. It took Ryan 27 years to achieve his record and it seems unbelievable that another pitcher will ever match him.
The losers club
Some of the best records are the kind that can't be repeated because the rules of the game won't allow for it any longer. One such record is held by the Cleveland Spiders, who hold an unbelievable record for most road losses with 101 back in 1899. It's not just unlikely this record will ever be beaten, it's impossible. Under current rules, teams only play 81 games on the road, so good luck losing this badly again.
How many innings?
There's a reason the Cy Young Award is named the Cy Young Award. Young was an incredible pitcher and his legacy is how accomplished pitchers are honored these days when they win his namesake award for being the best of the best. And while some of his accomplishments have been overshadowed by other pitchers, one thing that may stand forever is his monstrous presence. Young pitched 7,356 innings. The next closest was Pud Galvin with 6,003. The closest modern pitcher is CC Sabathia, who's at 3,560.
Stealing his way to glory
Arguably one of the most exciting plays in baseball is the stolen base. It's almost a secondary part of the game which tends to focus so much on the pitcher/batter dynamic. A baserunner taking their chases on an unearned base. It's unexpected and fast-paced and it often fails. Or it does for most. Not for Rickey Henderson. His all-time stolen base record of 1,406 while his closest, still-playing competition is Jose Reyes, who has 889 fewer. His closest all-time competitor still had 468 fewer.
Pete Rose made an appearance.
When you complete your turn batting in professional baseball you're credited with a single plate appearance. It seems incredibly unlikely that anyone stands to break Pete Rose's record of 15,890 appearances at the plate when you consider his closest competition still playing the game is 39-year-old Albert Pujols, who has about 3,800 fewer. Pujols averages about 622 per season, meaning he might make it if he continues at this rate until he's 45.
Jumpin' Joe's streak
Official MLB rules say that a hitting streak is defined by the number of consecutive games in which a player gets at least one base hit. It's harder than it sounds unless you're Joe DiMaggio. In 1941, DiMaggio put up a staggering 56 games in his streak. For some perspective, the second-best is 45 games and the closest anyone has come in the last 40 years was Paul Molitor with 39 back in 1987.
The OG of OBP
Ted Williams could get on base like a boss and then some. Williams' career on-base percentage is an incredible .482, and .400 is considered pretty incredible. Only 55 players in history have achieved .400 with at least 3,000 plate appearances. Williams had the record OBP for 12 seasons in his day. He retired in 1960, and since then only four players have even had a single season that was as high as his career average.
Take a walk, Barry.
You can tell just how feared Barry Bonds was by this dubious honor he holds — the most intentional walks in history. No one wanted to let Barry Bonds crush another home run and they went to great lengths to ensure he wasn't allowed to hit. Bonds holds the record for most career intentional walks with 688. His next closest competitor is Albert Pujols with 311 and then Stan Musial with 298. Bonds beat them both combined. Not to mention his record for 120 walks in a single season back in 2004. He once got walked four times in the same game.
The king of the shutout
Obviously, any pitcher would be stoked to pitch a shutout game, preventing the other team from scoring a single run. It's not easy but it happens from time to time and there are some respectable numbers out there. Nolan Ryan pitched 61 and Cy Young hit 76. But Walter Johnson takes the cake and then some with his career 110. No one else has even cracked 100. There isn't even a current pitcher in the game who's above 40.
Call him Mr. All-Star.
Hammerin' Hank Aaron has a few records under his belt, but one you can be pretty confident will never be shattered is his All-Star appearance record. Aaron made 25 appearances in All-Star games, beating out the likes of Willie Mays and Stan Musial by a single game. The record is a bit of a sneaky one since there used to be two All-Star games per year. Now that there's only one, it's pretty much impossible for anyone to surpass Aaron's 25.
Tripping over triples
Hitting a triple is no easy task in baseball for any number of reasons. There are so many more chances to get out when you're heading all the way to third that only an in-field home run is harder to pull off. It's also one of those hits you can never plan, really. Despite that, Sam Crawford is hands down the king of the triple and will likely never be dethroned. Crawford batted an incredible 309 triples. The only player with a chance of currently catching him is Jose Reyes, who has 131. Only 3 players in the last 30 years have gotten more 20 in a season, though.
Hack was no hack.
The ability to bat in runs is always going to be important and Hank Aaron is the current all-time leader with an impressive 2,297 RBIs. Albert Pujols is at 2045 and may very well overtake Aaron's record one day. But one it's unlikely anyone will take is Hack Wilson's single-season record from 1930. That year, Wilson racked up 191 RBIs, six more than Lou Gerhig did in the following year and no one in recent memory has even come close to matching it.
A season of triples
John Owen Wilson, better known as Chief Wilson, had an unusually lucky season in 1912. Though he'd never come close to matching his record again, that year Wilson hit 36 triples, a baffling number that no one else has really managed to get anywhere near in over 100 years since it happened. In fact, no player has even gotten half as many triples in the last century.
More than just a pitcher
Wes Ferrel holds the kind of record that barely makes sense in the context of modern baseball. He holds the distinction of having the most home runs ever as an American League pitcher with 38. Since the designated hitter rule was adopted in the 1970s, AL pitchers no longer have to bat at all so effectively this record is adrift in a place where it can never be challenged by anyone ever again.
The unstoppable Yankees
There's no doubt the New York Yankees with always be synonymous with baseball glory. Even in their worst seasons, they'll be compared to the best and fans will just wait for a roster shakeup that puts them on top. The reason for that is that the Yankees have a legacy of greatness and hold the incredible record of appearing in the World Series 15 times over 18 seasons. From 1947 to 1964, they were a mainstay of baseball's biggest event and they won it 10 times as well.
Having a 200+-hit season is a pretty big deal in baseball, and not a lot of players can pull it off. Fewer than 20 players have had five or more seasons with 200+ hits. Only two players have ever had 10 seasons of 200+ hits — Pete Rose and Ichiro Suzuki. But only Suzuki managed to not just get 10 seasons, he did them consecutively. No one else is anywhere near that record since 2018 was a season without a single 200+ player.
It's the wrong kind of hit.
You're not supposed to get hit by the ball in baseball pretty much ever. As a pitcher, you shouldn't intentionally hit the batter and as a batter, you don't want a hardball traveling at 90 miles per hour hitting you ever. But it still happens, and the record for it happening in baseball rests with Ron Hunt. Hunt got dinged 50 times back in 1971 for a single-season record. You could argue Hughie Jennings beat him in 1896 with 51 but that was before the American League even existed and, all things being equal, Jennings had to be intentional because he also got 46 in 1897 and 46 again in 1898.
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