I know that most records are made to be broken, but here are six MLB records that I believe will never be surpassed:
Consecutive Games Played: Cal Ripken, Jr. (2,632)
The famous “ironman” streak, rattled off by one of the game’s best shortstops, ended with a standing ovation not only from fans in attendance, but also the opposing New York Yankees. After more than sixteen full seasons without missing a contest, Ripken’s consecutive games played record finally came to an end. After passing Lou Gehrig’s record (2,130), the Hall-of-Famer would not sit a full game for three more seasons.
With modern day caution when it comes to injuries, paired with scheduled rest days for starting players, I doubt that anyone will come close to touching the streak. Just for reference, only three players–Alcides Escobar (KC), Jonathan Schoop (BAL), and George Springer (HOU)– have appeared in every one of their team’s games this season, while Ripken did not miss a single game from mid-1982 until September, 1998.
Most Career Wins: Cy Young (511)
It would seem to be pretty obvious why they named an award after him. Young amassed a ridiculous 511 wins over his illustrious 22 year career, including four 30-win seasons (note: a 20-win season nowadays typically equates to serious Cy Young Award consideration). In addition to becoming the only player is baseball history to achieve 500 wins, he sits 94 wins ahead of the man in second-place, Walter Johnson (who is also the only other player to reach 400 wins).
Bartolo Colon is the current active wins leader with 230 (under half of Cy Young’s total), and while he is still throwing relatively well, he would have to put together fourteen more 20-win seasons to catch the all-time leader. Another thing to note is that the last pitcher to hit the coveted 300-win mark was Tom Glavine in 2007, and with the way things are going, it may be a long time before baseball has another to achieve that milestone (let alone 211 more).
Consecutive Games with a Hit, Joe DiMaggio (56)
With all the young talent in baseball (Trout, Harper, Bogaerts, Seager, etc.) it seems plausible to think that one of them will eventually break DiMaggio’s unbelievable streak. While I agree that today’s players certainly have enough talent to do it, however, I do not believe I will ever see the day that a player records a hit in 57 straight games.
The only reason I say this is because of modern day media. Jackie Bradley, Jr. went on a long streak this season, becoming the first since 2011 (Dan Uggla, Andre Ethier) to reach the halfway mark of DiMaggio’s. The media attention that followed each Red Sox game, and each Bradley at bat, was startling. Fans and writers alike hung on every motion Bradley made at the plate, wondering if his crazy streak would continue. Meanwhile, when his streak finally ended, he would have had about a month to go to match the historic 56. Baseball certainly has the talent, but no one will be able to handle the kind of pressure it would take to break DiMaggio’s streak.
Single-Season Home Runs, Barry Bonds (73)
This year’s current leader, Mark Trumbo, sits at 40, and should he park one in each of the Orioles’ remaining games (mix in three 2-HR games), he would match Bond’s record. I must admit, regardless of what some may say about his steroid use, this is one of the most impressive records ever set. Mathematically, he produced a home run almost once every other game while the league’s best sluggers nowadays go yard less than once every three games (which may not sound like a big difference until people consider that number over 162 games). There are only four active players to have had a 50 home run season (Jose Bautista, Chris Davis, Ryan Howard, David Ortiz) and Howard, who had the most of these players with 58, was still considerably below Bonds’s mark. In today’s game, with the dominance of pitchers around the league, I do not believe anyone will be able to match the home run king’s record.
Single-Game Grand Slams, New York Yankees (3)
I remember this game pretty clearly, from watching one of Phil Hughes’s many disastrous starts as a Yankee to the bombers wild comeback. Robinson Cano (5th inning), Russell Martin (7th inning), and Curtis Granderson (8th inning) powered the Yankees to a 22-9 win, each of them clobbering a grand slam over the right-center field wall. The improbability of this happening—of loading the bases three separate times in the game and hitting a home run all three times—is pretty amazing. I might buy that someday, a team may tie this record, but the offensive firepower and the impeccable timing required to hit four in the same game makes breaking this record near impossible.
Single-Season Stolen Bases, Hugh Nicol (138)
I would guess that I am not the only one who thought (up until I researched it) that Rickey Henderson’s 130 would stand at the top of this list. The fact that Henderson did not break Hugh Nicol’s mark, however, makes it that much more impressive. Nicol’s 138 stolen bases in a single season set a record that has been in place since 1887. Considering that he averaged more than a stolen base per game (136 game season) it seems like a pretty untouchable record. Also, given the fact that the last person to reach 100 in a season was Vince Coleman in 1987 (the only one since Henderson to do so), breaking this record would require nothing short of a miracle.