The phrase, “records were meant to be broken”, isn’t the case when it comes to baseball. Baseball records can stand for a very long time, but mainly because the game is so different now. The key to all of these records comes down to durability. Players just aren’t as durable as they once were. The last major record to be broken that we didn’t see coming was Miguel Cabera winning the triple crown in 2012. A record that stood in the major leagues since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Cabera led the AL with a .330 BA, 44 HR, 139 RBI. The triple crown was something we didn’t think we’d see again so we can’t say for sure the following records won’t be broken, however they do seem to be unreachable.
First, lets kick this off with Cal Ripken JR. and his consecutive games played of 2,632 games straight over a 16 year span with the Orioles. This was something that we’ll never be able to see again. Players just aren’t as durable as they once were. Cal was a freak of nature to be able to withstand 160 game seasons for that long and not miss a game. Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 games stood for 56 years before Ripken broke it. It’ll stand for at least another 50 plus years, if this record falls, the player to break it probably isn’t even born yet. Currently if any player gets to 100 straight games that gets some recognition. A lot of managers play the numbers game and play match-ups or use a platoon of players for certain positions. Very rarely do you see players play a full 162 game season anymore. Making Ripken’s record even that much more jaw dropping.
Nobody will ever do what Ricky Williams did once he got to first base. He would be on 3rd in about 5-10 minutes, then he would score about 30 seconds to a minute after that. This takes care of two all-time records for one player. 2,295 times he touched home plate in his 25 year career. Key word yet again, durability. Ricky also totaled 1,406 stolen bases in his career. He finished 1st in stolen bases in 12 seasons and finished top 10 in the league in 22 seasons. He also finished 1st in runs scored in 5 seasons and top 10 in 12 seasons. We’ll never see another player like Ricky. The way he moved across the bases and the the way he put pressure on the defense to make a perfect play every time was amazing to watch.
Going back even further, there will never be another hitter hit above .400 since Ted Williams in 1941. With the way pitchers are dealing, it’s very hard to get up that high. Pitchers in this day and age are hitting triple digits on the radar gun with regularity. The last person to sniff .400 was Tony Gwynn in 1994, hitting .394 that year. Ted Williams hit .406 back in 1941. That’s as far back as we’ll go because all the other hitters over .400 were in the 1800’s. The part that is really special about his 1941 season, is that he was batting .399 going into a double-header the last day of the season. They would have rounded that up to be a .400 average, however, Williams wanted to earn that average. Ted Williams went 6-8 that day and ended the season at .406 that year.
If I’m going to be a .400 hitter, I want more than my toenails on the line. I kept thinking about the thousands of swings I had taken to prepare myself. I had practiced and practiced. I kept saying to myself, ‘You are ready.’ I went to the ballpark the next day more eager to hit than I had ever been. -Ted Williams before the
Finally we move to the pitchers. All-time wins and strikeouts are two milestones that are pretty out of reach for anyone in today’s game. The only pitchers pitching right now that might have a chance depending on injuries and longevity is Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer, Kershaw is 30 and Scherzer is 33. Both of these pitchers shouldn’t be in the conversation yet and have a long ways to go. Nolan Ryan, the strikeout king, will be sitting on top for a very long time with his 5,714 strikeouts. Kershaw has about 2,100 K’s and Scherzer has about 2,200 K’s. Other pitchers in the mix are Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander, both are getting up in age making it very improbable.
Finally we move to the all-time winner in career wins, CY Young. CY had 511 wins over a 22 year career. They name the award of the league’s top pitcher after him. Just picture this ridiculous season for a second. In 1902, CY Young was 32-11 with a 2.15 ERA and 41 complete games. Pitchers in the modern era don’t pitch that many innings and the rotations are 5 man rotations instead of 4 man rotations.
Baseball being America’s past time has some of the most historical feats in any sport. Records that stand for 50 plus years. These records don’t seem to be in danger of being broken any time soon. Most of these guys came before our time and it would be great to see someone in the modern era come close to some of these but I don’t see anyone in the game right now that can take down Cal, Ted Williams, CY, Nolan Ryan, or Ricky Henderson’s milestones. I don’t think these records were meant to be broken!