Dear HTS Community:
Since we are less than two weeks away from opening day, I thought it might be fun to have a point/counterpoint discussion with our resident baseball expert, fourth grader, Jared P. We are going to list the five most unbreakable records in Major League Baseball. Jared’s comments are listed first and mine, in italics, are listed second.
5. Most Career Wins (Cy Young-511) – I think Cy Young’s Most Career Wins of 511 is unbeatable. Cy Young is the only member of the “500 win club.” The next closest player on the Most Career Wins list is Walter Johnson, who played for the Washington Senators (ed note: team motto – First in War, First in Peace, last in the American League) from 1907-1927, with 417 wins.
Highest Career Batting Average (Ty Cobb .366) – The “Georgia Peach” was anything but peachy off the diamond. Personal issues aside, Ty’s career batting average is 41 points higher than the highest active player, a rapidly declining Albert Pujols.
4. Most Years Played by a Player: (Nolan Ryan and Cap Anson, 27 years) – The average baseball career is approximately 5-6 years, so since they were able to play well for so many years it will be hard to beat those records. Many players careers are cut short because of injury.
59 Consecutive Scoreless Innings. (Orel Hershiser) – Orel was the closet thing to perfect in the late summer and early fall of 1988. That season, Orel went over a month without allowing a single runner to cross home plate!
3. Most Career at Bats: (Pete Rose – 14,052) – The Most Career Hits and Career at Bats records are held by Pete Rose. These records were set from 1963-1986.
61 Home Runs in a Season. (Roger Maris) – I know there have been six examples of players hitting more than that amount. They are:
Barry Bonds 73 home runs in 2001 (strongly linked to steroids)
Mark McGwire 70 in 1998 (steroids)
Sammy Sosa 66 in 1998 (steroids) For those too young to remember, prior to using steroids, the then-White Sox outfielder was known as Sammy So-So.
Mark McGwire 65 in 1999
Sammy Sosa 64 in 2001
Sammy Sosa 63 in 1999
2. Most Career Hits: (Pete Rose – 4,256) – The Most Career Hits and Career at Bats records are held by Pete Rose. These records were set from 1963-1986.
2,632 Consecutive Games Played. (Cal Ripken) – With injuries like this, this record is also unassailable.
1. Most Home Runs in One Season:(Roger Maris – 61 Not including steroid use) (ed. note: great minds think alike) – The Home Runs in One Season record held by Roger Maris was originally held by Babe Ruth. Babe Ruth held the record when the baseball season was 154 games. When Roger Maris beat the record, the season was extended to 162 games. Some players beat the record but I don’t think they should count since they took steroids and cheated
56 (56!) Game Hitting Streak. (Joe DiMaggio) – The gold standard of baseball records is also known as the last magic number in sports. With the arrival of specialized relief pitching, hitters today could face a different pitcher every at bat. Moreover, with ESPN, twitter and other social media, the pressure would become immense at around 25 consecutive games. And then it would get worse. Seventy-two years after inspiring a song (“He started baseball’s famous streak. That’s got us all aglow. He’s just a man and not a freak, Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio”) and mesmerizing a nation, Joe D’s record stands alone. For those interested in learning more, order this book.
Then again, the possibility of records being broken is what entices us back into watching the national pastime. Former St. Louis Cardinal Pitcher Joaquin Andujar truly summed up the issue when he said, “There’s one word that tells you everything about baseball ‘You never know.’”
Alex Anemone and Jared P.