Some sports records will never be broken

Posted: April 20, 2014

AS YOU KNOW, if you follow this column, I was aghast when the Sixers pounded those woeful Detroit Pistons, averting the distinction of being the sole possessor of the longest losing streak in NBA history.

I thought they would surely lose four or five more games in a row and, at 30 consecutive losses, they would have established a record that would never be broken. What an honor for us!

One city having the longest losing streak in both professional basketball and professional baseball (the 1961 Fightins lost 23 straight, still a modern-day record). All of this got me ruminating about sports records (something I always find more interesting than working).

Are there certain sports records that will stand forever? If so, what are they? So I hit the Internet (more accurately, my assistant Maya hit the Internet), and I've come up with a list of unbreakable records that are truly remarkable. They are not necessarily listed in order of most astonishing.

1. Longest losing streak in the NFL: This record is so amazing that I don't think it will even be approached. The Tampa Bay Bucs lost all 14 games in their first season of existence and the first 12 games of the next season for 26 in a row before they won. The 2008 Detroit Lions are second, having lost 19 in a row, but no one else has even broken the high teens.

2. Eight wins in one of the Grand Slam tennis championships: Rafael Nadal has won the French Open title an incredible eight times, and it is fair to say he is not done yet!

3. Most points scored in an NBA game: All ours! Wilt the Stilt scored 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in 1962, on 36 field goals and, remarkably, 28-for-32 from the foul line. Kobe Bryant scored 81 in 2006 and said of Wilt's mark, "It's unthinkable."

4. Most wins by a pitcher: The revered Cy Young won 511 games in a 22-year career. The next-closest pitcher is the great Walter Johnson, who won 417 games. This record is unattainable. To give you an idea why, if a pitcher won 25 games each year for 20 years he would still be 11 short of Cy's record. This is one that I am certain will stand the test of time. You can also throw in for good measure Cy's record for career complete games at 749. To understand how unattainable this is, the closest active player is CC Sabathia, with 37, and only one time in the 21st century has a pitcher completed more than 10 games in a season (James Shields had 11 in 2011).

5. Longest consecutive-game hitting streak: Joltin' Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hit streak was threatened only once in the 72 seasons since he set it, and that was by Pete Rose, who hit in 44 straight games in 1978.

6. Consecutive games played in MLB: In his 17-year career, Cal Ripken's played 2,632 straight games. He eclipsed Lou Gehrig's mark of 2,130, and since that time (when the modern players have become something of a bunch of wusses), Miguel Tejada came the closest at 1,152. Cal's record will stand forever.

7. Single-season NHL points record: This was set by "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky, who might be the best player to ever take the ice. In the 1985-86 season, he scored an unthinkable 215 points. Think about it, it's a little less than three points per game. He also holds the career record for most career points with 2,857, and that too will never be approached considering Mark Messier is second at almost 1,000 points back (1,887).

8. MLB career strikeout record: Held by the great Nolan Ryan who racked up 5,714 K's - almost a thousand more than runner-up Randy Johnson (4,875). This and Nolan's other record - seven career no-hitters - will both endure over time. The great Sandy Koufax is the runner-up with four no-hitters.

9. NCAA men's basketball championships by one coach: The "Wizard of Westwood," John Wooden, has this mark, and it will absolutely never be approached again. He won 10 NCAA championships during a 12-year period, including seven in a row. Only two other coaches in NCAA men's history have won as many as four (Adolph Rupp and Mike Krzyzewski).

10. Most wins by a pitcher in an MLB season: This is almost unfair! This record is held by "Old Hoss" Radbourn. In baseball infancy, he won 59 games! Considering that the most games started by a pitcher in the 2013 season was 34, Hoss' record seems relatively secure.

11. Most career saves in MLB: You guessed it - the great Mariano Rivera who finished his career with 652 saves. Only Trevor Hoffman broke 600 (601), and think about the fact that a reliever who saves 40 games a year for 15 consecutive years will still be 52 saves behind Mariano!

12. Most career stolen bases: Rickey Henderson swiped 1,406 in his long 25-year career. The runner-up is Lou Brock, who is not even close at 938. To keep it in context, if a player stole 70 bases over 20 straight seasons, he still would not eclipse Rickey's record. The closest active player is Juan Pierre with 614 (but he's a 36-year-old free agent).

13. Most MLB All-Star Games played: Hank Aaron with 24. It is highly unlikely that any future major leaguer will play for 24 seasons, much less be an All-Star in each one.

14. Fastest time in the Belmont: You probably weren't expecting a record held by a non-human, but I couldn't close out my list without giving deference to undoubtedly the best athlete to have ever lived - Secretariat. "Big Red" won the first two legs of the Triple Crown in 1993 in close races, but this time he blew the race open early and won by 31 lengths and, in the process, ran the fastest mile-and-a-half on dirt in racing racing, in 2 minutes, 24 seconds. Both records still stand, and I believe they always will. His victory margin at the Belmont has never been approached since, and it never will. All of the athletes who achieved the records I described were great, but Secretariat was the greatest!

As is the case with any sports list, this one is definitely subject to debate. I am certain that as you read this, you thought of records I didn't include. There are many outstanding seasonal or career records in all of our major sports, but these are the ones I think are truly the most amazing.


Email: asktheguv@gmail.com

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