For an introduction to the list, click here.
25. Wayne Gretzky wins 9 Most Valuable Player awards
Not only is nine MVP Awards an NHL record, but it’s also the professional sports record for all of North America. Gretzky won all nine over the course of ten seasons. He won eight of them consecutively.
Being voted on by the media, this record is naturally a little subjective. But, upon further consideration, that fact may make it more remarkable. It takes a special player to stay in the good graces of the media and impress them in the field of play for an entire decade.
24. Rickey Henderson steals 1406 career bases
Henderson makes his second appearance on our list with his career steals record. He was not a “one-really-amazing-season” guy. Henderson stole bases for years and years (it is no wonder, then, that he also holds the record for most runs scored in a career).
This record is astounding because of how far out in first place Henderson is. He ended his career with 1406 steals, but he broke the record at 939, and the man whose record he broke (Lou Brock) is still in second place with that number. The difference between Henderson and Brock is greater than the difference between Brock and Roberto Alomar…who ranks 41st on the all-time list!
Insane: Only one active player (Juan Pierre) is even half-way to Henderson’s career number. He has 527 steals. So, if he tied Henderson’s single-season record 5 years in a row, Pierre would still not have the career record.
More Insane: Only two active players (Pierre and Carl Crawford with 409) are within 1000 steals of Henderson’s mark!!!
23. Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 career record
22. Nolan Ryan strikes out 5714 batters
Nolan Ryan is my favorite baseball player of all time. His 5714 career strikeouts are a testament both to his longevity and his power pitching. Many pitchers have hurled for 20 or more seasons, but very few have been pure power pitchers, as was Ryan.
Ryan broke the record for most strikeouts over 2000 times, because when he set the mark, Walter Johnson held the record with 3509 Ks. Since then, 7 other pitchers have passed “The Big Train,” but none by so wide a margin as Ryan.
Randy Johnson finished his amazing career in 2nd place all time. Though he was feared and had a great career, he was still almost 900 strikeouts behind Nolan Ryan’s record, with 4,875. Roger Clemens, considered by many to be the best pitcher of the last 20 years, was over 1000 Ks behind Ryan.
Pitchers will pile up strikeouts, but to do so for this many years will leave Ryan’s record on the books.
21. UCLA men’s basketball wins 88 games in a row
This is an insane record. As one who follows college basketball very closely, this is a record that will never be approached. In our modern era, there are too many factors working against a team breaking this record.
- Players only staying at a “power” school for 1-2 years before going to the NBA
- Far more very good and good teams
- More games in tournament format
- Far more media pressure once a streak gets to even 20 or more games.
For a team to break this record, they would have to have 2 straight perfect seasons (which would be about 40 games per season), then start another year with at least 9 straight wins. With so much turnover and pressure in the game today, it’s not going to happen.
But that it ever happened is amazing. UCLA’s streak covered almost exactly 3 years, and was inclusive of 74 regular season games and 14 tournament games. They won 3 national titles during the streak, and the streak cemented UCLA’s place in the record books. Led by great players, they will never worry about this streak being broken. Oh, and they had a pretty amazing coach, too!
List Fact: UConn’s women’s record of 90 straight wins was considered. Since they just broke their own record, though, it is hard to put them on here, although they deserve recognition for years of total dominance of the women’s game.
30 records are now in the books. What are your thoughts?