For an introduction to this list, click here.
Before revealing the top five, let me say a couple of “thank you’s.” First, a huge thank you to Joey Sparks, Jeremiah Tatum and Matt Reaves for helping to compile this list. While we had a lot of fun, their input was essential for this list to be diverse and well thought-through. Further, big thanks go to Joey Sparks and Jeremiah Tatum for writing several of these “blasts” in the list. As you can imagine, writing 50 of these in just a few days would have been a major drain on my time, and would have kept me from doing more important things. They willingly gave some time to help me out in that way.
Finally, thanks to you! I hope you have enjoyed this list, and I am already planning our next one (which will probably come in Spring 2012). Leave some comments and let us know what you agree with, disagree with, or just love (or hate!).
All that said, here are our Five Most Unbreakable Sports Records.
5. Walter Johnson’s 110 career shutouts
This is the kind of record I love. It represents excellence in the field of play, longevity of a career, and also depended on Johnson’s teammates playing well.
The Big Train averaged 5.2 shutouts per season over his career. Pitching five in one season is outstanding today (the Phillies’ Cliff Lee has six in ’11). But Johnson averaged 5.2 over 21 seasons. By contrast, Lee has 11 career shutouts in 10 seasons.
Johnson’s 110 shutouts is 20 ahead of Pete Alexander in second place, who has 90. The active career leader in shutouts is the Phillies’ Roy Halladay. With how many? 20.
Cool Facts: Johnson also owns the record for most shutouts on opening day with seven. He also pitched an 18-inning shutout in 1918.
4. Celtics win 8 consecutive NBA titles
Some might argue, not with this being on the list, but with it being so high on the list. However, consider that no other team has ever won more than three titles in a row, and this is a record that will stand the test of time. Even if we have a real “dynasty” anymore, we define it by a team winning so many championships in a few years (3 in 4 years, for example). To win 8 straight? Impossible.
From 1959-1966, the Celtics won every NBA title. They defeated three different franchises in the finals round (St. Louis Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers, and San Francisco Warriors), and won series that were both short (1 series was a sweep) and long (3 went the full 7 games). Led by legendary players (especially Bill Russell) and coaches (Red Auerbach), the Celtics were virtually unstoppable.
Since the end of the run, the NBA playoffs have become longer, free agency has become more common, and media pressure has become far more intense. Certain players win multiple titles (Michael Jordan has 6, for example), but not in consecutive years. In our modern era, this is a record that will not be touched.
3. Wayne Gretzky has 2857 points in NHL career
2. John Isner and Nicolas Mahut play Wimbledon match lasting 11 hours and 5 minutes
Most “unbreakable” records have been around for decades. This one has been a record for just over one year, but is so unthinkably amazing that is number two on our list.
I watched much of this match, and knew I was watching sports history in the making. What’s truly funny is that I started watching at 29-28 in the 5th set, thinking I was going to watch the end of the longest match ever. Little did I know that I would watch the majority of the match. Isner and Mahut set so many records in this match that to list them would take too much of your time.
How long was this match? The fifth set, which lasted 8 hours and 11 minutes, was almost 2 hours longer than any other entire match ever played in this history of tennis. Isner finally won 70-68 in the fifth set. Amazingly, neither player broke serve in the entire 5th set (or late in the 4th, either), so that each player held serve for 84 service games in a row.
Due to darkness, the match was suspended…twice. It began on a Tuesday in the evening, and finally ended on Thursday, June 24, 2010 with massive cheers and a ceremony on-court to recognize the moment, and the determination of both players.
He Must Like Long Matches: It is little known that Nicolas Mahut had to play in a qualifying tournament to be in the Wimbledon field. In the 2nd round of that match, he won the 3rd set (best 2 of 3) 24-22.
Advantage? Isner advanced to play Thiemo de Bakker of the Netherlands, who had won his 1st round match with a 16-14 5th set. Who would have thought that he would be–by far–the most well-rested player!
No Way!!!: When the draw was made for the 2011 Wimbledon field, guess who drew to play each other in the 1st round? That’s right: John Isner and Nicolus Mahut. This time, the match lasted just 3 sets (Isner winning in straight sets) and lasted almost 9 hours less than their record-breaking affair of 2010.
One fan put together a highlight film of the video in “Rocky” format. Enjoy:
1. Cy Young wins 511 games as MLB pitcher
Many sports historians consider this the record to end all records. Obviously, we put it #1 for the same reason. It is a throwback to a different era. The owner of the record has an award named for him. The math of even approaching this record in the modern era is mind-numbing. Somehow, though 100 years old (Young’s last season was 1911), even younger fans of the sport know about this record.
Young had 15 seasons in which he won at least 20 games, including 4 in which he won more than 30. Pitchers reaching 25 wins per season today–with 5 man-rotations–is extremely rare, so reaching 30 in one season may never happen again. Despite those numbers, it was Young’s longevity that put him over the top on this record.
Young is 94 wins ahead of Walter Johnson’s 2nd place standing, and 138 wins ahead of 3rd place!
Compared to active pitchers, Young’s record is untouchable. The pitcher with the most wins under the age of 40 is Roy Halladay, who has a total of 188 career wins. Halladay is 34 years of age. To reach Young’s record, Halladay would have to win 20 games per season (every single season) until he is 49 years of age, and then, he would still be about 8 wins short.
Young will never be touched…but, then again, neither will anyone else on this list.
We hope you have enjoyed this list. What are your reactions?