Safest Serious Record in Major League Baseball

Cy Young's 511 Career MLB Pitching Wins is The Pecan Park Eagle's Pick as the Safest Serious Record in Baseball.

Cy Young’s 511 Career MLB Pitching Wins is The Pecan Park Eagle’s Pick as the Safest Serious Record in MLB History.

Some records may be safe forever. Other records may be teetering on the brink of impossible, on the farthest reach of improbability. From the ridiculous to the sublime, there are a lot of incredibly improbable accomplishments within the current rules of baseball that simply are not going to happen, even if the gradiently possible word “probable” means possible. First, here are a few ridiculous hypothetical examples:

  1. Pitcher Wins 20 Games in One Season Without Ever Pitching to a Batter. ~ HOW? ~ Reliever John Luck enters 20 home games with the score tied, a runner on base, and two outs on the other team. Before he throws a single pitch to the batter in all 20 instances, he picks the runner off to end the inning. Then, in all 20 of his total season game spots, Luck’s home club then scores a run in the bottom of the 9th, making him the winning pitcher on all 20 occasions.
  2. A Batter Breaks the Record for Most Triples Hit by One Player in a Single Inning. ~ Curt Walker of the Cincinnati Reds was the first National Leaguer to hit two triples in one inning of one game on July 22, 1926. Walker and ten others are the only eleven players to have stroked two triples in the same inning of a single game in the entire history of Major League Baseball. Cory Sullivan of the Colorado Rockies was the most recent NL player to do it on April 9, 2006. – The record seems to add a new co-holder about once every 55 years, but what is the probability that any batter will ever have three times at bat in one inning – ever – and be able to use them all to record three legitimate triples in that same stanza?
  3. A Base Runner Steals 6 Bases in One Inning. ~ Has to be a guy who reaches first base twice in the same inning, one who then steals his way home safe on each opportunity. Again possible, but ridiculously improbable.

OK, Let’s Get Serious.

What about the sublimely holy records in baseball? What’s the probability that any of them will ever be broken? Many of us remember the time when Babe Ruth’s 60/714 numbers for most home runs in a season and career received that kind of reverence. The emotional protection of their integrity by Commissioner Ford Frick in 1961, after all, was the reason that led directly to the inclusion of an asterisk to the 61* that Roger Maris slammed to break Ruth’s one-season record that same year. 1961 was also the first year that the American League went from 154 to 162 games in response to expansion. As a result, Commissioner Frick decreed in advance that, if needed, any part of those extra 8 games helped to break Ruth’s record, that an asterisk would be added to Maris’s accomplishment – and, since that turned out to be the case, 61* also became just as famous as the monkey wrench that spoiled any chance for Roger’s joy at the end of a painful media-stressed season. – And by the time Hank Aaron broke Ruth’s “714” career homer mark in 1974, the joy for Aaron had to be filtered through the cowardly anonymous racist threats against his life for even trying.

What about today ~ 2016? ~ What are the most improbable serious records to ever be broken.

The Pecan Park Eagle’s Hands Down Pick for Safest Serious Baseball Record

Cy Young’s 511 Career Pitching Wins (1890-1911) is our hands down pick. Look. The second man behind Young was Walter Johnson with 417 wins – and he last pitched in 1927. With the money in the game today, better pitchers than either Young or Johnson may already have come along, but it isn’t probable now that any pitcher, ever again, will play long enough, and be used often enough, to even come close to either man – or several others behind them. It’s still at the far reach thin-edge of probability – and that close to impossible.

What do you think is the safest serious baseball record out there?

  1. Cy Young’s 511 Career Pitching Wins (1890-1911)
  2. Joe DiMaggios’ 56 Consecutive Game Hitting Streak (1941)
  3. Pete Rose’s 4,256 Career Hits (1984-1986)
  4. Barry Bond’s 762 career home runs? (2007)?
  5. Barry Bond’s 73 one-season home runs? (2001)?
  6. The New York Yankees’ 5 Consecutive World Series Wins (1949-1953)?
  7. Other?

Your input is both requested and appreciated as a public comment on this column. Help The Eagle to come up with a more complete list of the safest serious records in baseball.

Thanks for your support!

Editorial Note: We chose to eliminate from consideration all records that were achieved entirely in the 19th century. Otherwise, Old Hoss Radbourn’s 59 one season pitching wins in 1884 wins in a landslide. Cy Young achieved many of his wins in the last decade of the 19th century, but his record is still considered part of the modern era because of the 11 seasons he pitched in the 20th century.


eagle-0rangeBill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


10 Responses to “Safest Serious Record in Major League Baseball”

  1. Gregory H. Wolf Says:

    Hello Bill,
    I have two suggestions of records that are most likely to stand forever:

    1. Nolan Ryan’s career strikeout total of 5,714. A pitcher would need to average 250 K’s for 23 seasons to break the record. As good as Clayton Kershaw is, he’s exceeded that average mark just once — last year with 301.

    2. And what about the career walk total for the Express? 2,795. In the last six seasons (2010-2015) pitchers have issued at least 100 walks just twice. Tyson Ross led the majors with 84 in 2015. At that rate, you’d need to play just over 33 seasons.

    Keep up the posts, Bill. They are a joy to read.


    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Hi Gregory,

      Thanks for reminding us of the local icon and all the things he’s done to set incredible pitching marks – and thanks too for the kind words about this site. I write what I write because that’s what I do, whether anyone reads it – or not. It’s still nice to hear from those who enjoy what I do, and very much appreciated.


  2. bhick6 Says:

    Cal Ripken’s record of playing in 2,632 consecutive games.

  3. stanfromtacoma Says:

    Some records won’t be broken simply because the game is no longer played the way it was. Cy Young’s career win total is unapproachable because pitchers don’t pitch as many innings as they once did. Some of Nolan Ryan’s records are safe for the same reason.

    I’d pick Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak as the record most unlikely to be broken for reasons unrelated to the different way the game is played today. The two hitters in my lifetime who I would think had the best chance to challenge the 56 game hitting streak, Rod Carew and Ichiro, never really got close.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Hi Stan,

      “Some records won’t be broken simply because the game is no longer played the way it was.” – stanfromtacoma.

      Thanks, Stan! – You have just offered us the best one-sentence explanation I’ve ever read for all the truly unbreakable records in baseball history.


  4. Greg Lucas Says:

    Can anyone pitch three consecutive no-hitters to break Johnny VanderMeer’s mark? (First you have to be able to pitch three consecutive complete games which would be quite a feat in itself these days!)

  5. Wayne Chandler Says:

    The mental pressures that any of these wouldbe record setters would go through and the awareness that opponents would have now, would far exceed anything that the current recordholders went through…24/7 news awareness has hit the sports world, too.

  6. Cliff Blau Says:

    Since I don’t choose to ignore records set in the first 25 years of major league baseball, I’ll go with Jim Devlin’s record of pitching 100% of his team’s innings in 1877. No matter what happens, that record won’t be broken.

  7. Al Says:

    How about Ron Hunt’s 50 hit by pitches in 1971? Hall of Famer Vic Willis had a 10-29 season in his career, and no pitcher will ever come close to losing that many games.

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