For an introduction to the list, click here.
35. Barry Bonds is intentionally walked 688 times in his MLB career
The Career Intentional Walks record was re-established every year from 1955 until Hank Aaron retired in 1976, recording 293 IBBs. Bonds broke the record in the 1999 season, then preceded to obliterate it by 395 walks over the remaining eight years of his career.
Bonds’ lead in this category is so astounding that adding Aaron at #2 (293) and Willie McCovey at #3 (260) together is 95 walks short of Bonds’ record. Bonds also holds the single-season record at 120 walks. The next closest non-Bonds season is McCovey with 45.
Albert Pujols currently ranks fourth in career IBBs behind McCovey with 251. Expect him to jump to number two soon. But don’t expect him to reach Bonds. Ever.
Compelling Inconsistency: This record is more impressive (and unbreakable) than Bonds’ 762 career home runs. Yet no one writes it 688* even though it was also a result of his performance enhancement.
34. Bill Russell wins 11 NBA titles
Even more amazing, Bill Russell, the incredible center for the late 50s and 1960s Boston Celtics, won 11 titles in just 13 seasons as a player. The Celtics of that era were so dominant that no other team is represented by players in the NBA who have won 8 or more titles. Second in the list is Sam Jones, who won 12 titles with the Celtics.
Among active players, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher are the leaders. Both have won 5 titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, but both have played 15 seasons, meaning they are on the downside of their careers.
With (1) players going from team-to-team through free agency, (2) more rounds of playoffs, and (3) more specific scouting of teams and players by opponents, the odds of one player even playing in 11 NBA Finals would be an amazing accomplishment. Among players since the Celtics dynasty of the 1960s, only Robert Horry has won 7 titles, and even Michael Jordan only played in 6 Finals rounds.
Bonus: Russell was not considered a high recruit, so he went to the University of San Francisco. While there, he (of course) won two titles and also won a gold medal in the 1956 Olympics. So, Bill Russell won 14 basketball titles!
33. Eric Gagne converts 84 consecutive save opportunities
Over a period of 23 months (2003-2004), The Dodger’s Eric Gagne converted 84 consecutive game opportunities. In that same stretch all the other relievers in MLB combined to blow 969 saves! Incredibly, he totaled more saves (84) than he allowed hits (71). Strikeout-to-hit ratio: 207/71! Strikeout-to-walk ratio: 207/34! He had streaks of 10 appearances and 8 appearances when he allowed no hits. At one point during the streak he struck out at least one hitter in 35 straight trips to the mound. His ERA was 0.82. He struck out 14.3 hitters per nine innings, and of the 23 runners he inherited in those games, none of them scored. But above all, most of his saves were one run saves. Crazy things happened to keep the streak alive. Shawn Green threw two runners out at the plate during the streak. And Dave Roberts went over the fence in Houston to rob Lance Berkman of a home run. (Help from Jayson Stark – ESPN.com).
32. Jerry Rice’s 208 career touchdowns
Every so often, a player has 2 or 3 great seasons and we begin to think, “What’s that career TD record again?” Then, we see what it is, and we remember how great Jerry Rice really was.
How amazing is this record? Here are some facts:
- Only 20 players in NFL history have at least 100 total touchdowns. (If you are unfamiliar with the term “total touchdowns, this does not include quarterbacks. QBs have their own list of records. “Total touchdowns” are for rushing, receiving, and returns.)
- Only 1 player of those 20 is still an active player, and he is now a backup running back (LaDainian Tomlinson with 159).
- The difference between Rice and 2nd place, Emmitt Smith, is 33 TDs.
Rice will never be touched. As pass-happy as football has become in recent years, only Terrell Owens is within 50 touchdowns of Rice’s record (he was 49 behind). This is, truly, a remarkable number.
31. Sam Crawford’s 309 career triples
Yes, this is a baseball record from yester-year, but this is still a ridiculous number. How far out is this number? Back in Crawford’s day, his number didn’t look all that amazing. After all, he is only the career leader by 12 triples over Ty Cobb, and there are several other players from that era (pre-1920) with 200 or more.
Since that era, though? There are very few. Among players who finished their career after World War 2, the leader is (dad, get ready to smile) Stan Musial, who finished just a bit behind Crawford’s 309. How far behind? Musial hit 177, barely half of Crawford’s record.
Oddly, the current leader among active players is also named Crawford. Carl Crawford needs a few more three-baggers to catch his name’s sake. He has a grand total of 110 triples, good for a tie for (wait for it) 119th place, all time.
All right, sport’s fans. We’ve done 20 spots on our list. What are your thoughts?