My Five Most Amazing Baseball Records

Baseball records are effected by four major contributing factors: (1) the abilities and health of the individual player; (2) the number of games a fellow plays during his career; (3) the contemporary sub-culture of baseball that dictates the rules, strategies, ballpark conditions, equipment. and player usage preferences during the era a guy plays; and (4) conditions of war and peace in the world that impact player availability.

That being said, here are my five arguably most amazing baseball records. I would expect your list to vary due to the fact that we are all effected differently by the idea of amazement:

Joe DiMaggio

(1) Joe DiMaggio’s 56-Game Hitting Streak. In my book, Joe D’s feat is number one, bar none, when you stop to consider how difficult it is to simply play in 56 straight games, let alone to get hits in each one. Nagging injuries, exhaustion, a pitcher who has a batter’s number, the ongoing and building pressure to keep the streak alive, and dumb luck have too much chance to get in the way and put a stop to anything like DiMaggio did. Add another cultural factor that wasn’t in place on the scale it is today. The media attention from ESPN and the like would be constant and brutal upon any player today who crept past Pete Rose at 44 games and starting honing in on 50 and the record of DiMaggio that lay just beyond. A batter will hit .400 before another player gets a hit in 57 straight or more games.

Cy Young

 (2) Cy Young’s 4 Aces. He held some other high record cards too, but these were his gaudiest. They are amazing in their enormity and not likely to ever be broken. Someone will break DiMaggio’s 56-Game hitting streak before another player compiles carer totals on the level of Cy Young. During a 22-season career (1890-1911), Cy Young set records that still exist for most wins (511); most losses (316); most pitching starts (815); and most complete games pitched (749). He’s been holding those four aces for one hundred years now and it is unlikely that any pitcher working under the current set-up of the game will ever pitch long enough, or hungry enough, to ever come even pennant-race close to reaching the achievements and bi-products of pitching that were both captured and befallen to Cy Young in his era.

Cy Young never even looked like a pitcher by today’s standards of athletic imagery, but he got it done better than anyone else in his day. And by a far measuring stick set of figures.  – Amazing!

Babe Ruth

 (3) Babe Ruth’s 60 Home Runs in 1927. Unlike the “Juice Brothers” of more recent times, Babe Ruth was bashing home runs at a time in which whole teams were not hitting the long ball anywhere close to his level of productivity. When Ruth broke his own record of 59 home runs for a single season by hitting his 60th big one On September 30th against Tom Zachary of the Washington Senators at Yankee Stadium during the next to last game of the 154-game 1927 season.

Ruth’s 60 HR record in 1927 was achieved without the help of any performance enhancing drugs known to mankind at that date, If anything, it was also attained in spite of Ruth’s lifestyle ingestion of alcohol and his dedicated pattern of compulsive debauchery at every Yankees port-of-call in the American League. Ruth was no choir boy, but he could pull himself together for role model public appearance contact with kids at the drop of a hat. The year he broke the single season record for major league homers at 60 Ruth had crunched more home runs alone than all the other American League teams had hit as team totals – and that’s an outcome that is unlikely to be repeated. Ever. – Amazing!

Ty Cobb

(4) Ty Cobb’s 11 Batting Titles. In a 13-year period from 1907 to 1919, Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers won 11 American League batting average titles, failing only in 1910 at ,383 and again in 1916 with a .371 mark,  Twice during his streak he won with averages far over .400 and he failed to win a 12th batting title in 1922, even though he hit .401 that year. Chalk that squelch up to the Zeitgeist of Baseball in the early 2oth century and a fellow named George Sisler. Cobb still topped them all for average, finishing with a 24-season (1905-1928) career mark of .366 as the greatest career batting average of all time – and another career mark that probably will last forever.

The 11 Ty Cobb batting title just stand out with me.  Tony Gwynn won 8 National League titles in the late 2oth century, and maybe someone will better Cobb’s 11 mark someday. If they do, however improbable as that now seems, it’s almost a forgone conclusion that they certainly will not hit for anything close to the high average that Cobb achieved with his abilities during his era of work. – Amazing again.

Nolan Ryan

 (5) Nolan Ryan’s 7 No-Hitters.  Nolan Ryan’s handful of pitching masterpieces defies imagination. So many things have to fall into place for even one no-hitter to occur and these include the presence of great fielding on tough plays and blind luck on field positioning for some batted balls especially. Then, of course, you must have a pitcher who is on his game like white on rice, with the skill and luck that goes into keeping the ball away from the sweet spot on the bat for 27 outs – or some great out plays on your few mistakes for the day.

That’s hard enough to do even once, – so hard, in fact, that most great pitchers spend their whole Hall of Fame careers on the mound without even once finding that rabbit in their caps.

Nolan Ryan did it seven times! – That one makes my list of amazing records in easy time.

But how about you? What’s on your list as the 5 most amazing records in baseball history? Please leave a comment here.

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7 Responses to “My Five Most Amazing Baseball Records”

  1. Pat Mulvihill Says:

    Someone would have to pitch three straight no-hitters to break Johnny Vander Meer’s record of two straight. Unbreakable IMO.

  2. Mark Wernick Says:

    No one will ever come anywhere near Ruth’s career .690 slg. pct. I also tend to think Earl Webb’s 36 triples in a season is pretty safe, since ballparks are unlikely ever again to be as cavernous as they were in his day. I believe Mickey Mantle’s 18 World Series homeruns and Yogi Berra’s 75 World Series games played and 71 Word Series hits are quite safe. Connie Mack’s 50 years of managing – forget it. Casey Stengel’s five consecutive years of managing a World Series championship team will be tough to surpass in an era with three tiers of post-season short-series elimination playoffs. No one is going to hit .424 or .426 again, so Hornsby and Lajoie will retain those catbird seats.

    But the most unbreakable records of all are, in my estimation, held by Joe Sewell. Career strikeout-to-AB ratio of about 74; the person closest to him – Lloyd Waner – is at about 57. His 117 strikeouts for his entire career – completely mind-numbing. He had two seasons of more than 600 plate appearances with only 4 strikeouts, and one season with over 500 plate appearances with 3 strikeouts. He once almost went an entire season without striking out. I would want that guy leading off for me today. Career .312 hitter.

    Along these lines, just about the only thing that makes me believe Joe DiMaggio might have deserved the hype that attended his reputation was his career 361 homers with only 369 career strikeouts. No power hitter – let’s say no hitter with over 300 career homers or even more than 200 career homers, ever again will come within 9 strikeouts of homering more often than striking out. In fact, had DiMaggio retired after the 19050 season (instead of after the 1951 season), he’d have done it. That is just mind-boggling to me.

    Yogi Berra came rather close: 358 homers, 414 strikeouts. But he would have had to retire after the 1956 season to pull it off – he tacked on 8 seasons after that during all of which his strikeouts began outnumbering his homers (by smallish margins). Had Berra retired after the 1956 season, he’d have had 238 homers and 231 strikeouts.


  3. Tal Smith Says:

    I still marvel at Ted Lyons at the age of 41 completing all his starts (20) in 1942 and leading the A.L. with a 2.10 ERA.

    For his career Lyons completed 356 of 484 GS (73.6%)

  4. Nostradamus Future Predictions Says:

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  5. Major Baseball Records Says:

    […] My Five Most Amazing Baseball Records « The Pecan Park Eagle Baseball records are effected by four major contributing factors: (1) the abilities and health of the individual player; (2) the number of games a fellow plays during his career; (3) the contemporary sub-culture of baseball that . […]

  6. Mike Anderson Says:

    Mark Wernick says “Earl Webb’s 36 triples in a season is pretty safe…” I guess it is because Earl Webb never hit 36 triples in a season or in his entire ML career! He hit a total of only 25 triples over 7 seasons in the majors and never more than 9 in any one season. He does, however, hold the record for most DOUBLES in a season (67) with the Red Sox in 1931.

  7. Jonathan Fischer Says:

    How can you not include Cal Ripken’s Iron Man streak? No one will ever touch that record. He played 16 seasons injury free, day in and day out. That takes a level of dedication baseball will never see again.

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