With MLB spring training, season upon us, here are 7 baseball records that will never be broken
When Babe Ruth was dominating baseball, he was bigger in physical size than most of the other players.
When he set a then-record 60 home runs in 1927, he stood 6-foot-2 and weighed about 215 pounds.
When Roger Maris broke Ruth’s record by hitting 61 home runs in 1961, he was listed at an even 6 feet and 198 pounds.
So, can you imagine what these guys would have thought if Aaron Judge was dropped into their eras to play baseball at 6-foot-7, 282 pounds?
They’d have thought he was dropped off by aliens, or possibly was conjured by witchcraft.
Or they might have thought the stories of Paul Bunyan were real.
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In 2022, Judge hit 62 home runs, breaking the American League record set by Maris in 1961.
It was still 11 off the Major League record of Barry Bonds, who had 73 in 2001.
That record looks like it could be one of the more unbreakable ones in all of baseball, yet it’s still conceivable we might someday see someone hit 75.
Sound crazy? Maybe it is, but here are seven records that I’d be more sure of that will never be broken.
These stats are based on American League and National League records, so if you look them up on Baseball-Reference.com, you might see some names of players that participated in other professional leagues.
It's also worth noting Major League Baseball as we know it began in 1901, when the American League and National Leagues began competing against each other.
Pitching wins in a single season, 60, Old Hoss Radbourn, 1884
Who needs five pitchers in a starting rotation? Or four? Or even three?
Charles “Old Hoss” Radbourn pitched 75 games, starting 73, in 1884 for the Providence Grays. He won 60.
Some historians say it was 59 while others say it was 62. As you can imagine, records in the 1880s weren't as spotless as they are today.
They say records are made to be broken. Not this one.
Old Hoss pitched a ridiculous 678.2 innings, accruing a 1.38 ERA. He was 60-12, good for an .833 winning percentage. He led baseball in most categories that season, including strikeouts, with 441. He also collected one save!
Despite his amazing success with the Grays, the team stopped playing after the 1885 season.
Most hits in one season: 262, Ichiro Suzuki, 2004, and he's not a Hall-of-Famer
When you look at the list of players among the Top 10 most hits in one season, eight occurred either in 1930 or before. The other two were both accomplished by Ichiro. He’s No. 1 and No. 10 on the list. Aside from his record 262, he had 242 in 2001.
George Sisler’s record of 257 stood from 1920-2004, when Ichiro eclipsed it as a member of the Seattle Mariners. It should be pointed out Sisler had 257 hits in 692 at-bats in 154 games, while Ichiro had 262 in 762 at-bats in 162 games. Makes you wonder how many more hits Ol’ George could have had if he were given 70 more at-bats in eight more games.
Given how baseball has become an all-or-nothing home run or strikeout league, it’s hard to imagine anyone breaking Ichiro’s record. The art of the base hit is dying.
Since 2000, only Darren Erstad (240 hits in 2000) is in the Top 50, along with Ichiro, who did it three times in the Top 50.
The last time a player even had more than 200 hits in a season was Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals with 206 and Rafael Devers with 201, both in 2019.
Ichiro will be HOF eligible in 2025.
Batting average: .440, Hugh Duffy, 1894
At 5-foot-7 and 168 pounds, Duffy had himself a season in 1894. He had 237 hits in 539 at-bats, good for a .440 batting average for the Boston Beaneaters.
Aside from leading the league in hits and average for the team that would later become the Atlanta Braves, Duffy also led the league with 51 doubles and 18 home runs.
Nowadays, a small guy like that dominating the league would have to pee into a cup after every game.
If you’re wondering, Ted Williams is the last player to hit over .400, doing so in 1941 with a .406 batting average. We’re at 82 years and counting …
Strikeouts thrown by a pitcher in a career, 5,714, Nolan Ryan, 1966-93
Nolan Ryan collected six strikeouts in two games in 1966. After not pitching in the Major Leagues in 1967, Ryan returned to the pros in 1968, then terrorized batters for 26 more years.
Ryan led the league in which he pitched 11 times — nine times in the American League and two in the National League. In six of those 11 years, he also led the league in walked batters.
Ryan’s highest total was 383 strikeouts in a season, in 1973. He had more than 300 strikeouts in a season six times, his last coming in 1989 at age 42.
He also has more no-hitters than anyone in history, with seven. That's another record unlikely to fall.
Ryan was an eight-time All-Star who never won a Cy Young Award.
Second on the all-time strikeout list is Randy Johnson, at 4,875.
The active strikeout leaders are Justin Verlander, 40, at 3,198, and Max Scherzer, 38, at 3,193. If they can each collect 250 strikeouts a season for the next 10 years, they could eclipse Ryan around age 50. Good luck!
Consecutive games hitting streak, 56, Joe DiMaggio, 1941
Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio’s streak started on May 15, 1941, against the Chicago White Sox.
It came to an end on July 17, against the Cleveland Indians.
During the streak, DiMaggio collected 91 hits in 223 at-bats. He had 15 home runs, 55 RBI, four triples and 16 doubles.
His streak surpassed the previous record of “Wee” Willie Keeler, who had 44 in 1897.
In the time since, Pete Rose had a 44-game hitting streak in 1978, and Jimmy Rollins had a 38-game streak between 2005-06. However, no one has really come close.
Consecutive games played streak, 2,632, Cal Ripken Jr., 1982-98
Cal Ripken stepped onto the field on May 30, 1982, not knowing it would be the start of something special. Over the next 5,956 days, including Leap Year days, Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive games, eclipsing Lou Gehrig’s “Iron Man” streak of 2,130, on Sept. 6, 1995.
The streak ended Sept. 19, 1998, with Ripken making the decision to end the streak.
During the streak, Ripken collected two American League MVP awards, in 1983 and 1991, and a World Series title in 1983.
Stolen bases, 1,406, Rickey Henderson, 1979-2003
Stolen bases are a thing of the past. Over the past 10 years, the best single-season total is 64 by the Marlins' Dee Gordon in 2014.
Henderson had more stolen bases than that in a single season 10 times.
Henderson led the league in stolen bases 12 times. His best single-season total was 130 in 1982. Depending on who you ask, that's either first or second all-time. Hugh Nicol had 138 in 1887 for the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
However, prior to Henderson getting 130, it was widely recognized that Lou Brock held the record with 118. So we'll say Henderson is the single-season leader, too.
Thanks to his stolen base prowess, Henderson also is baseball’s all-time leader in runs scored, with 2,295.
It also makes sense that he’s the all-time leader in being caught stealing, at 335. Yet another record unlikely to be broken.