Baseball is a sport that revels in its history, and in particular the records that have been set throughout the years. Here we will look at five that have particularly captured the imagination, the greatest records in baseball.
Cal Ripken Jr – 2,632 Consecutive Games
Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr’s record may be one of the most unbreakable in baseball history. From May 1982 until September 1998, Ripken played 2,632 consecutive games.
In that time, Ripken was a two-time MVP and 15-time All Star and smashed the previous record of 2,130 consecutive games previously held by Lou Gehrig.
In the modern-day game, with managers conscious of resting their stars, it seems unlikely that anyone will come close to Ripken’s 16-year streak. The nearest anyone has gotten was Miguel Tejada, whose streak ended at 1,152 in 2007.
Nolan Ryan – 5,714 Strikeouts
Nolan Ryan’s MLB career spanned a record 27 seasons and he spent much of his time in The Show striking out batters.
His record of 5,714 strikeouts saw him rack up six 300-strikeout seasons and 15 200-strikeout seasons. Ryan’s longevity and sheer ability mean that this record is unlikely to ever be broken.
His closest rival, Randy Johnson, is 839 behind on 4,875 and the closest active player is Justin Verlander, who is over 2,000 behind on 3,013.
Rickey Henderson – 130 Stolen Bases in a Season
Rickey Henderson was famed for his speed and put it to good use in the 1982 season as he racked up 130 stolen bases.
As baseball has evolved, the stolen base has gone out of fashion as teams see them as often being an unnecessary risk.
As a result, this record is likely to remain unbroken. Billy Hamilton, widely regarded as the best base stealer of this generation, has never stolen more than 60 in a season, less than half of Henderson’s gargantuan 1982 effort.
Joe DiMaggio – 56-Game Hitting Streak
No MLB player this season had a longer hitting streak than the Los Angeles Angels’ David Fletcher with 26 games, demonstrating the likelihood of anyone ever catching Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game streak from the 1941 season.
Pete Rose managed 44 in 1978, but he was still 12 short of DiMaggio’s mark and that remains the closest anyone has got in the 80 years since it was set.
From mid-May to mid-July the New York Yankee hit .403 as he managed 56 consecutive games with a hit, a feat that may never be beaten.
Shohei Ohtani – 46 Home Runs For a Pitcher in a Season
For all that baseball’s records can seem aged historical artefacts that hark back to a bygone era, sometimes it is worth appreciating the history being written right now.
The Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani is both a hitter and pitcher, something that has not been done successfully since the era of Babe Ruth.
In 2021, Ohtani delivered on his earlier promise and became the most impactful player in baseball.
This year Ohtani had a very solid season as a pitcher, with a 3.18 ERA in his 23 starts. On top of that, Ohtani was second in the American League with 46 home runs, the most ever hit by a pitcher and a record that looks like it may stand the test of time…until Ohtani breaks it again next year.