By: Sam Kluender
#1 Cy Young’s career wins, losses, and complete games
These records are most likely the most unbreakable in MLB because the way the game is played has changed since Cy Young took the field back when baseball was still young. Young holds the MLB record for wins with 511, losses with 316, and complete games with 749. These record just aren’t feasible anymore given the five man rotation in baseball. Last year, the most games started by a single pitcher was 34. To break the wins record that pitcher would have to start 34 games for over 15 seasons and win every single game. Not only that but that same pitcher would have to play for another seven years at the same rate and complete every game to break Young’s complete game record.
#2 Cal Ripken, Jr’s 2,632 consecutive games played
Similarly to Young’s records, this record maybe never be broken either based on how the game has changed. At the same time, it also took an unprecedented player who could play for so long without injury or playing through injury. Lou Gehrig is second on the list at 2,130 and Everett Scott, who is third, does not even have half the games Ripken does. In modern baseball, managers and trainers are much more worried about injuries that it would have to take a player being healthy his entire career to come close to this record. Even the slightest injuries or discomfort seems to put a player on the bench and that’s not even considering scheduled “off days” that most players are given throughout the course of a season.
#3 Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 career strikeouts
This record may never be broken not as a result of changes in the game but instead because of the unbelievable longevity and dominance shown by Nolan Ryan in his 27 year career. Included in his strikeout record is his record for most seasons played as a pitcher at 27 years. Nolan Ryan was a one of a kind pitcher whom we may never see the likes of again. Ryan lead the MLB in strikeouts eleven seasons with a handful of seasons with strikeout totals in the 300’s. The last time a pitcher has thrown over 300 strikeouts in a season was Randy Johnson in 2002. As pitchers continue to dominate more and more each year, the number of strikeouts aren’t increasing. Part of this could be the increase in arm injuries and changes in styles of pitching which may contribute to this record never being broken.
#4 Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak
Since Joe DiMaggio played his 56th consecutive games with a hit, no one has really come close to threatening DiMaggio’s record. DiMaggio broke Willie Keeler’s record of 45 consecutive games with a hit which was set in 1897. Not only has no one come close to DiMaggio’s record, no one has broken Keeler’s old record. The all-time hits leader Pete Rose couldn’t even do it, coming one game shy of 45. To be able to break this record, not only does someone have to be amazing at hitting, but also very aggressive. If the player is down to his last at bat without a hit and he takes a walk, it’s over.
#5 Rickey Henderson’s 1,406 career stolen bases
MLB has never seen a player like Rickey before and may never see one again. The Hall of Famer’s 1,406 career stolen bases is 468 more than the second most held by Lou Brock. He’s the only player in MLB history to steal over 1000 bases. A large part of the reason he was able to break this record was the fact that he played 25 seasons. Even toward the end of his career, Henderson was still one of the fastest players in the MLB, stealing a league leading 66 stolen bases in his age 39 season. What also allowed him so many opportunities to steal was his elite on base numbers. His batting average isn’t anything amazing, but all the matters when it comes to stealing bases is being on base and he did that at a .401 career clip. The only player right now who possesses the base running skills to potentially break this record is Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds, however unlike Henderson, Hamilton is half of the hitter that Henderson was.