THE LINEUP #9: Jeter’s 3000 & Baseball’s Most Unbreakable Records

Posted: July 6, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in MLB, The Lineup
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The New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter is coming back from an injured calf that saw him miss a better part of June. He’ll come back to his club in a familiar spot, first place and also to another familiar place for himself as well, the All-Star game. However, he is returning to finish his chase of joining a quite uncommon club not just now, but in the history of baseball: the 3,000 hit club.

When the Yankee Captain headed to the disabled list back on June 14th, he was just a few days away from bettering 3,000 hits and becoming the 28th player in the 100 plus year history of Major League Baseball to accumulate that total.

Exclusivity: Jeter is on the verge of becoming the first Yankee to ever surpass 3,000 hits.

However, what marks are the measures of immortality? The numbers that are so great that there is no club to join them; rather it’s a one man group that is barely seen by any others, and in all likelihood will never be surpassed unless a true freak of a player comes along? These numbers will take more than a shot to reach; they’ll take a whole arsenal. So in honor of one of sport’s greatest marks being reached, here are Major League Baseball’s 10 greatest records of all-time.

10. 309 Triples –Sam Crawford

The triple is the hardest hit to get in all of baseball, and from 1899 to 1917, the Detroit Tigers’ Crawford got it on the regular. He had five seasons of better than 20 and another 16 of at least ten. Only three players in the last 30 years have managed one season of totaling at 20. Take into account how rare this is: the only player to begin his career after 1940 to approach this mark is Stan Musial, and his 177 is just over half of what Crawford did.

9. 4,256 Hits – Pete Rose

Pete Rose was not the best pure hitter ever; however there’s never been a more consistent one. In order to reach this record, that’s what a hitter must have. Rose played more games than any player ever, but was productive throughout. He had 3,215 singles, which are more hits than all but 12 other players had total. He added in 746 doubles, 135 triples and 160 homers for good measure as well.

To take this into perspective, Ichiro has surpassed 200 hits a season for the last ten years running, and is just under 2000 hits away from tying Rose.

8. .482 On-Base Percentage – Ted Williams

Williams is the toughest out of all-time. And with batters facing fresher pitchers than ever now, he will stay that way.

When Barry Bonds was tearing through baseball and living on (or around) the bases, it seemed like an unbelievable run of dominance at. Well that was about four years…Ted Williams almost got on base half the time for his entire career. He lead the American League in OBP 12 times, reaching base at least 49% of the time for eight seasons and he only had two seasons under 45% for his 19 year career.

7. 5,714 Strikeouts – Nolan Ryan

The Ryan Express was overwhelming, and this is (nearly) best shown in his overwhelming number of strikeouts, and the sheer volume of them is staggering. Ryan had six seasons of 300 strikeouts, 15 seasons of 200. He has 839 more K’s than any other pitcher, and in order to catch him a player would have to pitch for nearly 30 years (Ryan did) while still averaging 211 strikeouts a year. The average league leader now chalks up 287 a season now; Nolan averaged 296 a year in 11 seasons he lead the league. For as great as this, Nolan’s most impressive mark is coming up a little later.

6. 2,632 Consecutive Games Played – Cal Ripken

From May 1982 to September 1998, Cal Ripken didn’t miss a single ballgame. He broke Lou Gehrig’s mark that had stood for 56 years and then bettered it by 500 games, all while playing one of the game’s most demanding positions, shortstop, for the majority of it. Only six players besides Ripken have played in more than 1,000 straight games. To best Ripken’s mark, a player would have to have perfect attendance for 16 years and then play a part of a 17th.No active player has more than even 300 games played.

5. 1,406 Stolen Bases – Rickey Henderson

Talk about separating yourself from the pack? Rickey’s total steals is 50% better than the second best total all time. He stole 100 bases three times and 50 another 13 times (no player has even stolen 80 since 1987). To even approach this record, a player would have to swipe at least 70 bases a season for 20 years just need seven more to pass Henderson. With steals way down and underemphasized in today’s game (the Major League leader over the past 10 years has averaged 64 a season), this one could be etched in stone. Juan Pierre is the active career leader…and he has played for 12 years and is still 868 short of tying Henderson.

4. .366 Batting Average – Ty Cobb

Cobb has been retired for 83 years…dead for 50. Yet his career batting average still stands head and shoulders above the best effort any other hitter has been able to sustain. Its eight points higher than another unbreakable mark, Rogers Hornsby’s .358 mark, yet Cobb made his number in over 3,256 more at-bats. He only hit under .320 once in 24 seasons and over .350 14 times. Only only two batting champs in the last 10 years have had their league leading mark be better than Cobb’s .366. The current career batting average leader, Albert Pujols, is one of the great hitters ever, yet his .331 career average is a far cry from what Cobb did on an average year.

3. 7 No-Hitters – Nolan Ryan

Of Ryan's two extraordinary records, the seven no-hit games is the most beyond comprehension.

Throwing  a no-hitter is the most difficult single game task in all of baseball…and Ryan has done it three more times than any other pitcher in history. Ryan achieved his in 1973 (getting two in two months), 1974 and 1975. By this time he had already tied the career leading mark of Sandy Koufax in three years, but he was just getting started. Ryan then threw four more no-no’s, in 1981, 1990 and finally in 1991, 18 years after his first two and at the age of 44. Currently only 3 pitchers have two no-hitters and even that is a remarkable feat. So if any of them throw 45 more innings of no-hit baseball they will at least tie Ryan then.

2. 110 Shutouts – Walter Johnson

He is 20 better in this category than any other pitcher, and had 11 seasons of at least six shutouts. To measure how strong of a showing this is over an extended period of time, it would take 25 years of averaging 4 shutouts a season to only reach within ten of the Big Train’s mark. The only two players to start their career within the last 50 years to come within 50 shutouts of Johnson are Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan, who totaled 61 in their careers. Among active players, Roy Halladay is the leader with 19. At the current rate of averaging 1.3 per season and his high mark being 4 in both 2009 and 2010. Johnson bettered that mark in all but four of his 21 seasons. When he threw his career high of 11 in 1913, it is two short of Chris Carpenter’s career 13 shutouts, which is second best among active pitchers.

1. 511 Wins – Cy Young

This is the most unapproachable record in the history of sports. A stunning number for any era of baseball and many of the most successful pitchers in the history of the game have half as many wins of Denton True Young finished with, and have still joined him in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He won 30 games five times and 20 another 15 times. Walter Johnson’s 417 wins are the second most ever, and is also an unreachable total, yet still are 96 fewer than Young’s total. If a pitcher won 20 games from his rookie season and continued to do so for another 24 years, he would still be 11 wins short.

Bob Gibson & Pedro Martinez's COMBINED career wins are still 40 short of Young.

Pitchers do not and cannot pitch for as long into games or as often as Cy Young did. He also holds the record for most complete games (749, which is arguably just as astonishing) and most innings pitched (7,355). With the innovation of relief pitchers and less decision being available, even the absolute most dominant pitchers in today’s game is luck to finish with 60% of Young’s total. The award for the best pitcher in both leagues is named correctly, and pays proper homage to his staggering success.

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  1. KB says:

    #9 should be #1, and #1 should be #2, my opinion. I believe the complexity of batting exceeds pitching. 511 wins is astounding though, and will never be touched.

  2. It’s quite the opposite. Hitting is reactionary, while pitching is getting around it and painting the picture. Getting a lot of hits is way harder than actually keeping others from hitting. More looks, yet the same things to work with. Seven no-hitters is more impressive than 100 points or 50,000 yards passing.

  3. The Glue says:

    I think #6 should be moved to #10. Granted Ripken’s 2,632 is impressive but its also the easiest one to break in my opinion. Of course, it would take consistency, luck, & sheer determination but out of all the feats on the list it is the only one that takes the least amount of talent to break.

    • But on the contrary, how good do you have to be to start every game for 18 years? You have to have a grit and a skill that is so valuable that you aren’t worth being out of the mix for one game for nearly two decades. That takes a remarkable player to pull off.

  4. Oates says:

    Im late but Im with The Glue, Cal’s streak while impressive is not more impressive than 56. Cal’s streak was caused by being good early & not going anywhere in free agency. He could have easily been replaced the last 5-7 years of his career but because of his early success & loyalty, he got the nod. Kinda like Jeter will be w/ the Yankees.

    56 on the other hand is damn near impossible. We get excited about 30 game streaks now. Id even challenge someone on here to guess who will get a hit in the league 30 days in a row & see how impossible that is. Let alone one 1 person hitting 56 games in a row. I think 56 is a record that 1) everyone has the same opportunity to break it as Dimaggio did to achieve it (unlike Cy Young who is solely a product of old school baseball & not necessarily he was just that dominant). 2) is still damn near impossible to break given the same conditions

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