Records are made to be broken, and Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton thinks it might be possible to do just that, or at least get close, to Barry Bonds’ home run mark.
It’s been almost 17 years since Bonds hit his 73rd home run to close out the 2001 season after eclipsing Mark McGwire’s MLB record of 70. Since that day, Stanton, who hit a career-high 59 home runs last season, has been the closest player in MLB to amassing 70.
“We talked to Mark McGwire on our travels and he said he had no doubt that you could hit 70,” Jayson Stark told Stanton on Stadium’s Baseball Stories. “Do you think there is a 70 home run season in you?”
“It’s possible,” Stanton told Stark. “I gotta do the work, it’s possible. It is possible for a lot of people to do it, but…”
“You think it is possible for a lot of people to do it?” Stark interjected.
Could Stanton hit 70? Could he hit 74 and break one of the most unbreakable records in sports? The 2016 Home Run Derby champ has had a slow start to his first campaign in pinstripes, but remains one of the most likely candidates for a 70-home-run season in today’s game.
Stanton isn’t the only one with his eye on the record books, though. From career wins to consecutive games played, we’re diving into some of the most unbreakable sports records and who (if anyone) could take them down.
CY YOUNG: 511 CAREER WINS
This baseball legend probably won’t ever be topped — at least not anytime soon. The hall-of-famer set, and still holds, a slew of MLB records, including innings pitched (7,335), games started (815), complete games (749) and wins (511).
The next closest in the record book for wins is Walter Johnson with 417, while the closest current player is 45-year-old Bartolo Colon with 240.
Clayton Kershaw, who has 144 wins in his 11 MLB seasons, would have to play for another 28 years, keeping the same elite pace to even get close to the record.
EMMITT SMITH: 18,355 CAREER RUSHING YARDS
Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith definitely took advantage of the ground-and-pound football in the 2000s, amassing a NFL-record 18,355 rushing yards through his 15-year career. He averaged 1,223 yards per season with a career-high 1,773 in 1995.
While no one is really even close to Smith, 13-year veteran Frank Gore is the closest active player to topping him with 14,026 yards. LeSean McCoy has 10,092 yards through nine seasons, and would have to average just over 1,121 for seven more seasons to top Smith.
It may be a little early (okay, way too early), but one player to keep an eye on in the future is the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott. It’s only been two seasons, but he’s averaging 1,307 yards per season so far. If he can keep up that pace for another 13 seasons, he’s got a shot.
But with the way the game is played now with less carries for running backs, Smith’s record probably isn’t going anywhere.
JOE DIMAGGIO: 56-GAME HITTING STREAK
When hitting .300 is considered an accomplishment, a 56-game hitting streak seems almost impossible. But Joe DiMaggio did it from May 15 to July 17, 1941, and he did it while hitting .408 with 15 home runs and 55 RBI.
The closest to ever get to DiMaggio was Pete Rose, who had a 44-game hit streak in 1978. No active player has come within 20 of the record, the closest being Chase Utley with a 35-game streak in 2006 with the Phillies.
For what it’s worth, Indians minor-leaguer Francisco Mejia had a 50-game hitting streak in 2016, the longest in the minors since Joe Wilhoit in 1919 with 69.
Another fun fact: DiMaggio supposedly missed out on a $10,000 sponsorship from Heinz 57 after falling one game short of 57.
WAYNE GRETZKY: 215 POINTS IN A SEASON
He’s called “The Great One” for a reason. Wayne Gretzky’s 215-point season almost looks like a typo. Not only did he actually achieve it in 1985-86, but had over 200 points in a season three other times. Mario Lemieux is the only other player to share the top 10 points per season leaderboard, holding the No. 5 (199) and No. 8 (168) spots.
The year Gretzky set the record, he played in 80 games. The only players who topped 100 points in the regular season this year were Connor McDavid (108) and Claude Giroux (102) in 82 games, and Nikita Kucherov (100) in 80 games.
His 2,857 total points through his 20-year career are more than 900 more than the next closest player, Jaromir Jagr, with 1,921. The 46-year-old has also been in the league for 24 years.
PETE ROSE: 4,256 CAREER HITS
Pete Rose, who also has the most at-bats and games played in MLB history, tallied an unbelievable 4,256 hits over his 24-year career. Gambling has kept him out of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it’s unlikely anyone will catch his career hits record.
The closest current players are Ichiro Suzuki with 3,085 hits and Adrian Beltre with 3,058, yet both are on the back end of their careers. Ichiro, it should be mentioned, surpassed Rose’s total if you include his 1,278 hits in nine seasons in Japan.
Robinson Cano, who currently has 2,387 hits in 14 seasons, actually has a snowball’s chance to come close to Rose. But it would require him to play for another 10 years (he’d be 45) maintaining his average of about 190 hits per season.
WILT CHAMBERLAIN: 55 REBOUNDS IN A GAME, 100 POINTS IN A GAME
With 68 personal records in the NBA record book, it’s hard to overlook Wilt Chamberlain’s achievements. The Big Dipper most notably notched 100 points on March 2, 1962, in a 169-147 win over the Knicks. He went on to score 50 or more points in a game 118 times in his career.
The closest anyone has ever gotten to Chamberlain’s 100-spot was the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, who racked up 81 in a 122-104 victory over the Raptors in 2006. The Suns’ Devin Booker made a run for it in 2017 against the Celtics, but only managed to score 70.
Chamberlain also holds the record for most rebounds in a game with 55, which he achieved on Nov. 24, 1960 against the Celtics. Charles Oakley is second on the list with 35 boards in 1988, and more recently, Kevin Love had 31 in 2010 and Dwight Howard tallied 30 in 2018.
Unless the NBA can produce another 7-foot-1, 276-pound player (for reference, Timofey Mozgov is 7-foot-1, 275 pounds) with his athleticism and unbelievable strength at the net, Chamberlain has those records locked down.
CAL RIPKEN JR.: 2,632 CONSECUTIVE GAMES PLAYED
Not only did Cal Ripken Jr. manage to stay healthy enough to set the record for most consecutive games played in MLB history with 2,632, but he also was good enough to hold down a starting job at shortshop for over 16 years. No big deal.
No one is even close to that number, and with the concept of resting players regularly implemented into scheduling it’s extremely improbable anyone will ever top Ripken Jr.
The closest thing to an “iron man” today is the Royals’ Alcides Escobar, who has 344 consecutive starts at shortshop dating back to 2015. Escobar would have to play every game for the next 14 seasons (he’d be 45) to even get close to Ripken Jr.
BYRON NELSON: 11 CONSECUTIVE VICTORIES
With more than 100 competitors (give or take) in every event, winning a PGA TOUR event is a tough enough feat, but what about winning 11 straight? Byron Nelson did it in a five-month period from March to August of 1945. He finished off the rest of the season with 18 total victories in 35 starts, with seven second-place finishes.
The next closest to do so? Tiger Woods with seven straight victories from 2006-07. With the talent-littered fields today and Woods nowhere near the height of his career, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a streak of that kind ever again.
FASTEST MMA KNOCKOUT
There are first-round knockouts, and then there are first-second knockouts. While the quickest UFC knockout is a three-way tie between Ryan Jimmo, Chan Sung Jung and Todd Duffee at seven seconds, the fastest MMA knockout is much faster: a cool 1.3-second knockout. The brutal kick to the face, courtesy of Sam Heron at Warrior Combat 14 in London, might actually literally be impossible to beat.
BIGGEST BEAT-DOWN IN SPORTS HISTORY
This is one of those records you don’t want to be on the losing end of. While it was before the NCAA started keeping records in 1937, on Oct. 7, 1916, Georgia Tech’s football team defeated Cumberland College 222-0. Led by head coach John Heisman (yes, Heisman), Georgia Tech scored at least 42 points in every quarter with 32 total touchdowns.
Nothing has really ever come close to that margin of victory, but a few that come to mind are Secretariat’s 31-length victory at the Belmont Stakes in 1973, the Chicago Bears’ 73-0 beatdown of the Redskins in the NFL Championship game in 1940, and Tiger Woods winning the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 strokes. Ouch.
OTHER UNTOUCHABLE(ISH) RECORDS
-Most consecutive no-hitters: Johnny Vander Meer, 2 (June 15, 1838)
-Most no-hitters: Nolan Ryan, 7 (May 1, 1991)
-Most grand slams in one inning: Fernando Tatis, 2 (April 23, 1999)
-Most outs made in a career: Pete Rose, 10,328
-Intentional walks in a career: Barry Bonds, 688
-Most consecutive games started in the NHL by a goaltender: Glenn Hall, 502 (November 7, 1962)
-Most Stanley Cups for a single player: Henri Richard, 11 (1956-1975)
-Fastest Hat Trick in NHL history: Bill Mosienko, 21 seconds (March 23, 1952)
-Most NBA Championships won by one player: Bill Russell, 11 (May 5, 1969)
-Biggest margin of victory in a Triple Crown race: Secretariat, 31 lengths (June 9, 1973)
-Most consecutive games played in the NFL: Brett Favre, 297 (December 13, 2010)
-Most NCAA basketball titles in a row: UCLA, 7 (1967-73)
-Most consecutive NBA titles: Celtics, 8 (1959-66)
-Most consecutive wins in an NBA season: Lakers, 33 (1971-72)
-Most consecutive NCAA football wins: Oklahoma, 47 (November 9, 1957)
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