August 13, 2011

Friday Five -- Saturday Edition

Atlanta Braves slugger Dan Uggla extended his consecutive game hitting streak to 32 games last night against the Cubs. To point out the painfully obvious -- that is more than a month of hitting safely in every game. Imagine adding another month to the total.  That is what it would take to break what I believe is the single greatest record in sports -- DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak in 1941. Since then no one has come close. Joltin' Joe's streak is more impressive when you think he played far more day games, and far more double headers. In 1941 the teams traveled by train, not luxury jetliners. One could make the argument there were fewer teams so the pitching was tougher. I am not sure I buy that argument as the pitching specialist was not yet developed. Further, fewer pitchers means the batters got to know the pitchers better. Today, a batter may see a particular pitcher only 8 - 10 at-bats per season.

Thinking of DiMaggio's hit streak got me to thinking about some other great sports records. Here are five of what I think are the greatest records in sports, and like Mr. Marilyn Monroe's hit streak are not likely to be broken soon:

1. DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak in 1941

2. Wayne Gretzky's NHL career point total of 2,857. Put in perspective, the guy in second place is 970 points behind, despite playing 269 more games. In addition it is unlikely any one can touch The Great One's single season point record of 215 in one season ('85/86)

3. Pete Maravich's NCAA points record. Pistol Pete scored 3.667 points in just three years (NCAA rules prohibited freshman from playing varsity sports). He averaged 44.2 points per game. There was no three pointer in the NCAA at the time.  Number two in career NCAA points is more than 400 points behind.

4. Nolan Ryan's 7 no hitters. Sandy Koufax had 4.  No one else is close.

5. Pete Rose 4,256 hits. If a young player came up at age 20 and averaged 200 hits per season for 20 years, he would still be short of the record. Put in perspective, Derek Jeter has just over 3,000 hits.

Bonus. Cy Young's 511 victories. The next closest is Walter Johnson with 417.  In addition, Young has 749 complete games. In today's era of pitching specialists that record is unreachable. Roy Halladay has the most complete games of any active pitcher -- 63.

What do you think is the greatest sports record?

2 comments:

mts1 said...

1) Wilt's 100 point game. I mean, too bad the lottery didn't exist for him to play that day. The planets aligned that one day to open the window of the cosmos for this to happen, and closed forever more.

2) Ted Williams' .400 season. I cannot explain why no one could pull off a .400 batting average in 70 years, but no one has, even though George Brett gave it his best try.

3)AJ Foyt. Just simply, the man is a record in himself in the diversity of his winningness. Danica is trying to suck at both IRL and NASCAR, but Foyt excelled at whatever type of car he was behind on race day. He was the first to win 4 Indy 500s, and is the only driver to win that, the Daytoma 500, 24 Hours of Daytona, and 24 Hours of le Mans.

I've run out. It's late.

Tam said...

Cal Ripken Jr. not calling in sick for seventeen years straight.

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