Top 10 Unbreakable Records in Major League Baseball

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Organized baseball in this country dates back to the late 1800s. And pretty much every milestone possible has already happened.

Clinching a World Series on a walk-off home run? It’s happened twice. Hitting two grand slams in one inning? You bet. Father and son duo blasting back-to-back home runs? Check. Hitting a bird with a ball mid-pitch? Also, check.

But some records manage to standout above the others. They’re so monumental, so insurmountable, that not only will they never be broken, but they’ll never even be challenged.

These are those records.

10. A club winning 117 or more games in a single season

Winning 100-plus games used to be a common occurrence in baseball. But since the beginning of the 2000s, teams regularly surpassing the century mark has tapered off.

Only 12 teams have won 100 or more games in the last 15 years, with a majority of those coming thanks to the loaded New York Yankees, who topped 100 wins four times between 2000-2010.

Three teams won 100-plus games each in 2002 and 2003, but we haven’t had multiple teams win 100 or more games since 2005 — which was also the same year St. Louis won 105 games, the most the sport has seen this millennium.

Considering that 95 years passed between the Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners each winning 116 games in a single season, and that the most a team has a come close to tying them was still two games shy, it will probably be another nine decades before we see another team come close to 116 wins.

9. Hank Aaron’s 2,297 career RBI

Not too long ago, Hammerin’ Hank held the record for two of baseball’s Triple Crown categories: home runs and RBIs. And if not for Barry Bonds and BALCO, he’d still be the home run king.

Aaron’s 2,297 total RBI over 23 seasons doesn’t get as much press as his home run record, despite the fact that only three other players (Babe Ruth, Cap Anson and Alex Rodriguez) managed to bring in 2,000-plus runs.

A-Rod — mathematically — could catch Aaron. Rodriguez has averaged 46 RBI over the last three seasons. But he’ll need to bring home about 200 more runners over the next few years to surpass Bad Henry.

But let’s face it, Rodriguez’s numbers are more juiced than a mojito. Seeing his name among the top 5 in RBI leaders only stirs sordid memories from the game’s most tainted era.

8. Ichiro Suzuki’s 262 hits in a single seasonbaseball5

Ichiro was born to hit. The man simply knows how to get on base. He is the ideal lead-off hitter, possessing the ability to reach safely through either finesse or power hitting.

And in 2004, during his fourth season with the Mariners, Ichiro made history. He logged 262 hits to break George Sisler’s single-season record of 257, which stood for nearly ninety years.

No one has come close since. Well, except for Ichiro.

He’s the only active player in the top 25 on the all-time single-season hits list. In fact, he pops up twice: In 2001 — during his rookie year, no less — when he belted 242 hits and again in 2007, when he racked up 238.

Only a handful of players over the last 30 years even appear in the top 50. Wade Boggs had 240 hits in 1985 with the Boston Red Sox. Don Mattingly had 238 for the Yankees in 1986. And Minnesota’s beloved Kirby Puckett peppered 234 hits in 1988.

What further distinguishes Ichrio is the way he’s sustained such impressive hitting. During his first 10 years with Seattle, Ichiro never got less than 200 hits in a season.

We’ll never see another player like him.

7. Pete Rose’s career hits record

While Ichiro may have taken the mantle from Pete Rose as this era’s best hitter, Rose’s longevity will never be duplicated.

The 17-time all-star smashed 4,256 hits during his 24 major league seasons, breaking legendary outfielder Ty Cobb’s record of 4,191 in 1985. The record couldn’t have fallen in a more storybook-like fashion, as Rose captured it in Cincinnati while playing for his hometown Reds.

To top it off, Cobb and Rose are the only members of the 4,000 hits club.

6. Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 career strikeouts

For some reason, Nolan Ryan’s career strikeout total isn’t remembered as well as other historical baseball numbers. Maybe because 5,714 doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily as 61 or 714.

During his 27-year career, Ryan lead the American League in strike outs nine times in three different decades, even topping the National League in strikeouts in 1987 and 1988.

Similar to the all-time home run records, A.J. Burnett C.C. Sabathia are the only active players in the top 50 on the career strike outs list. And both are in the twilight of their careers and more than 3,000 strike outs shy of Ryan.

Ryan also fanned 383 batters in 1973. While that mammoth feat is only good for eighth place on the all-time single season strikeout list, it was the most any player fanned in one year since 1900.

5. Ricky Henderson’s 1,406 career stolen basesbaseball11a

If Ricky Henderson got on base, pitchers were in trouble. Henderson was going to steal second — and maybe even third.

Henderson’s dedication to baserunning was nothing short of remarkable. He stayed in immaculate shape despite 25 seasons in the majors. His work ethic paid off in 1998, when at the age of 40, Henderson lead the majors in steals for the 12th time in his career, swiping 66 bases.

The drop off between Henderson and Lou Brock — the second-most prolific baserunner in MLB history — is staggering. Although Brock played six fewer seasons, he’s nearly 500 bases behind Henderson.

Ichiro, Carl Crawford and Jose Reyes are the only active players among the top 50 career stolen base leaders. Combine their career totals and they’re still short of Henderson by more than 400 steals.

So short of these guys finding some P.F. Flyers, this record isn’t going anywhere.

4. Pitcher Denny McLain’s 31-win season

Pitch count? Pitchers in the 1960s didn’t need no stinking pitch count. Sometimes they threw 10-plus innings just for a win in July. Other times they threw all nine innings in a 10-run blowout.

Either way, pitchers of yore stayed in games longer and threw more than they do today. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was just as commonplace to see a pitcher with 20 or more wins — and double digit complete games — as it was to see a player in the 1990s blasting 60-plus home runs.

Several theories try to explain why it’s rare in the post-steroids era for pitchers to win more than 20 games. Fewer starts, strict adherence to the pitch count and advanced scouting often are cited as the primary reasons.

The closest anyone’s come to replicating McLain’s magical season with Detroit in 1968 was Steve Carlton and Bob Welch, both of whom won 27 games in 1972 and 1990, respectively.

A handful of pitchers have won 24 games since then, including Detroit’s Justin Verlander in 2011. But it’s safe to say that this record isn’t going anywhere soon.

3. New York Yankees’ five straight World Series titles

Consider this: since 1960, only four teams have won back-to-back World Series titles.

And only two teams pulled off the three-peat: Oakland (1972-74) and New York (1998-2000). Cincinnati and Toronto also won back-to-back championships in 1975-76 and 1991-92, respectively, while the Yankees also captured consecutive titles in 1961-62.

Incredibly, New York managed to reach a fourth consecutive World Series in 2001, but the Yankees eventually fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks in seven games.

All of the aforementioned champions were very special teams. They were loaded with talent, had incredible luck, and in some cases, benefited from an extremely short postseason.

After the players’ strike in 1994, MLB restructured its playoff system. Each league was divided into three divisions – East, West, and Central – and allowed one wildcard team. Now, instead of just the League Championship Series decide the pennant, an extra three-game series was added: the best-of-five Divisional Series.

Since the implementation of the new postseason in 1995, which was changed again in 2012 to include a second wild-card team, only Philadelphia, Texas, and the aforementioned Yankees have appeared in consecutive World Series. The Phillies went 1-1 in their two appearances while the Rangers went 0-2.

And in today’s world of professional sports, where winning a championship often sparks the mass exodus of talented players, it seems highly unlikely that a club could keep a corps of talented players together long enough to capture six consecutive World Series titles.

2. Barry Bonds’ four straight MVP awardsbaseball4

Consecutive MVP winners aren’t that rare in baseball. But to have four seasons like Bonds had in the mid-2000s will never happen again.

Taking into account that Bonds was abusing Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs), it’s unfathomable to think that someone can tear off five seasons in a row all worthy of MVP honors, especially when you realize that only eight players outside of Bonds have three or more MVPs — none of which they won more than two years in a row.

And if someone did, it’s likely that they’d be even more juiced up than Bonds ever was.

After Bonds’ retirement in 2007, it appeared that Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols might eventually catch him in total MVPs. Pujols won three MVPs in a span of six years with the Redbirds, capturing back-to-back honors in 2008-09.

But since Pujols’ departure to the Angels, his numbers have declined significantly. The same goes for A-Rod — the only other player to win three since MVPs in the last 10 years.

It appears that Bonds’ record seven MVP awards, are safe, if not tainted.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers win five consecutive ROTY awards

Talk about catching lightning in a bottle.

In the 1990s, the Los Angeles Dodgers were responsible for bringing up some of the best young talent of the decade. And the organization was rewarded handsomely for it, as a Dodger received the National League Rookie of the Year Award five straight times between 1992-96.

First baseman Eric Karros kicked off the streak, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1992. Catcher Mike Piazza followed him in ’93; then came outfielder Raul Mondesi. After Mondesi it was pitcher Hideo Nomo – the first while outfielder Todd Hollandsworth rounded out the streak when he captured the award in 1996.

While this core nucleus helped the Dodgers reach the playoffs in 1995 and 1996, it also ushered in the notion that Japanese players could have a major impact in the majors. Nomo’s accomplishments paved the way for other Japanese pitchers like Yu Darvish, Hideki Okajima, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, as well as for all-stars like Hideki Matsui and Ichiro.

Honorable Mention

Major League Baseball has countless records that will never be broken. Several were too absurd to make this list. They include numerous pre dead-ball era and dead-ball era pitching feats: most wins in a season, 59; total wins, 511; and most complete games in a season, 75.

Others worth mentioning are the most All-Star Game’s played (Hank Aaron, 25), Ty Cobb’s .366 career batting average, the 1899 Cleveland Spider’s 101 road losses, and the league’s longest hitting streak — which stands at 56 games and was set by the immortal Joe DiMaggio in 1941.

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5 Iconic Stadiums That Didn’t Get A Proper Farewell

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Dozens of iconic American stadiums have come and gone over the last two centuries. Unfortunately, some of them weren’t spared the agony of decay and neglect. The five stadiums on this list were once sanctuaries for their teams and landmarks in the community. Sadly, their legacies were tarnished thanks to years of abandonment.

5. Metropolitan Stadium — Bloomington, Minn.

Known affectionately to Minnesotans as “the Met,” Metropolitan stadium was the original home of the Vikings and the Twins. Built on a farm in 1956 for the minor league Minneapolis Millers, the stadium eventually lured the Washington Senators to Bloomington, and later, the NFL expansion Vikings.

Minn. Star TribuneDespite its disjointed seating — the outfield bleachers weren’t even connected — the Met (1961-1981) proved to be indispensable for its tenants.

Only four years after leaving D.C., the Twins won the American League pennant by seven games before losing a hard-fought World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Earlier that summer, the Met hosted the annual MLB All-Star Game, which saw six Twins make the American League squad. And while the brutal Minnesota winters were great for the Vikings, they were anathema for their opponents. The Purple People Eaters reached four Super Bowls during their 20-year tenure at the Met, largely thanks to the decisive home-field advantage.

Even The Beatles dropped by the Met for a concert. It was the group’s lone gig in The Gopher State.

But during the 1970s, the Met fell into disrepair. The stadium was notorious for its dilapidated facilities, poorly maintained field, and considered one of the worst venues in professional sports.

By 1982, both the Twins and Vikings had moved into the Metrodome. The Met was officially abandoned, and it became a breeding ground for vandalism and urban explorers. Eventually razed in 1985, the Mall of America was erected in its place nearly a decade later.

4. Tulane Stadium — New Orleans, La.

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For almost half a century, Tulane Stadium was one of the most revered football venues in America. The home of the Sugar Bowl from its inaugural game in 1935 until 1974, Tulane Stadium holds a special place in the annals of both college and pro football.

Opened in 1926 as the third home of the Tulane Green Wave football team, Tulane Stadium (1926-1980) became a household name thanks to the prestige of the Sugar Bowl. When the NFL expanded to New Orleans in the late 1960s, the Saints used Tulane Stadium for their home field from 1967-1974. It was there in 1970 that Saints kicker Tom Demspey booted a then-record 63-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions.

Nola.com - Times-Picayune ArchivesThanks to its seating capacity of nearly 81,000 and ideal location in the Big Easy, Tulane Stadium was a popular choice for the Super Bowl. The stadium hosted three NFL championships in a six year span, and is one of five host stadiums no longer standing.

But in 1975, on the same day that the lavish Superdome opened, Tulane Stadium was condemned. Much of the stadium was shuttered, but thanks the outcry of university officials, it remained viable for NFL practices, high school football games, and other low profile events.

A gloomy relic in its twilight years, Tulane Stadium was completely demolished by 1980. Dorm rooms and other university facilities occupy the site today.

3. Astrodome — Houston, Tex.

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Hailed as the Eighth Wonder of the World when it opened in 1965, the Houston Astrodome was the Arc de Triomphe of American stadiums. For visionary Roy Hofheinz, the Astrodome wasn’t just the center of Houston’s sports universe, but its entertainment hub as well.

The world’s first indoor, multipurpose domed stadium, the Astrodome was replete with swanky restaurants, upholstered seats, and opulent luxury boxes. Everything the modern fan (and athlete) takes for granted today was pioneered by the Astrodome.

But the dome’s influence wasn’t limited to its wondrous engineering. In 1968, the Astrodome (1965-2006) inadvertently revolutionized the sports landscape when it hosted college basketball’s “Game of the Century.” The showdown pitted No. 1 UCLA against No. 2 Houston, with the Cougars edging the Bruins 71-69 in front of more than 50,000 fans. The positive response to college basketball’s first regular season game aired in prime time nationwide was unprecedented, and the NCAA picked the Astrodome to host the 1971 Final Four. Nearly four decades later, practically every Final Four is played in a football stadium.Houston Astrodome, 1965

In the fall of ’68 the Astrodome opened its doors to the NFL’s Houston Oilers. The notion that football could be  virtually weatherproof  was groundbreaking. The dome’s affect on football can still be felt today, as evidenced by the proliferation of domed stadiums — most of which keep the roof closed all season.

Despite its extravagance,  Oilers owner Bud Adams felt that the Astrodome wasn’t enough for his troubled franchise. In the mid-1990s, Adams threatened to move the team if Houston didn’t fund construction for a new stadium. The city had already buckled to his demands before, removing the stadium’s iconic, “Astrolite” scoreboard in 1988.

City officials refused to budge this time, and the Oilers departed for Tennessee in 1997. The Astros made a similar request, but stayed put when funding for Minute Maid Park was secured. Despite voters rejecting a measure to renovate the Astrodome in November 2013, the stadium has yet to be demolished as of this writing. Its fate is still uncertain.

2. Silverdome — Pontiac, Mich.

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Once a state-of-the-art domed facility built to house a multitude of events, the Pontiac Silverdome is nearly unrecognizable today.

Originally part of a larger “urban renewal” project for Pontiac, Mich. — which included plans for a dual stadium complex — the palatial Silverdome was the only building to materialize from C. Don Davidson’s vision to revitalize the sleepy suburb.

Opened in 1975, the Silverdome was declared the world’s largest inflatable domed stadium. One of the few facilities of its era built without accommodations for baseball, it paved the way for facilities like the Hoosier Dome and the Metrodome.

Due to its cavernous seating capacity — just north of 80,000 — the Silverdome was the NFL’s largest stadium for more than two decades. Despite its short lifespan (1975-2001), the Silverdome hosted a number of prestigious events, including Super Bowl XVI, the 1979 NBA All-Star Game, Wrestlemania III, a handful of World Cup matches, the 1988 NBA Finals, and several legendary musicians. It was also the site of the Lions’ last home playoff victory.

SilverdomeBut when the Lions bolted to Ford Field in 2002, the Silverdome was left without a primary tenant. Pontiac experienced a financial crisis trying to maintain the stadium, and the Silverdome quickly fell into ruin. There dome hosted a handful of events between 2003-2005, but it closed in 2006. Auctioned off in 2009, it reopened in 2010, and its parking lot was briefly used as a drive-in.

There were plans to use the Silverdome as a stadium for an MLS team. But when that fell through, the dome again was left untended, and it deteriorated rapidly. The roof collapsed in 2012, and mother nature took over from there. Most of the field is submerged, dotted with Teflon corpses. Hallways are flooded, expensive equipment languishes, and the once glitzy luxury boxes are decrepit.

The Silverdome’s most recent owner started auctioning off parts of the stadium in June 2014. Despite the Silverdome’s likely fate, the high cost of demolition has postponed its demise.

1. Tiger Stadium — Detroit, Mich.

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Opened the same week the Titanic sank, Tiger Stadium (1912-1999) was one of Major League Baseball’s most storied venues.

Tiger Stadium’s location on the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Trumble Ave. gave rise to its nickname, “The Corner.” Its compact and intimate design allowed fans to get close to the game, especially when equipped for baseball. Despite a handful of obstructed views common to parks of its era, Tiger Stadium’s upper deck was considered one of the best in the majors for watching a baseball game.

For power hitters though, it was something of an enigma. The upper deck in left field was practically two stories tall and about 340 feet from home plate. Only four players ever cleared the roof in left: Harmon Killebrew, Frank Howard, Cecil Feilder, and Mark McGwire.

The home of the Tigers and the NFL’s Detroit Lions for more than four decades, Tiger Stadium saw an incredible run of success for its two professional sports teams. The Tigers won four World Series and eight of their 11 American League pennants at The Corner.

Tigers2The Lions, meanwhile, had their most successful tenure in team history at Tiger Stadium, winning three NFL Championships in a five year span.

The Corner also hosted other monumental sporting events through the early 1970s. Joe Louis defended his world heavyweight title in 1939, knocking out Bob Pastor in what was then called Briggs Stadium. MLB also awarded three All-Star games to The Corner. The final midsummer classic in the venerable park was in 1971, when Reggie Jackson smash the longest home run in All-Star history.

In 1989, Tiger Stadium was added to the National Register of Historic Places. But by the mid 1990s, the antiquated facility started to wear on management. Plans to refurbish Tiger Stadium failed to get traction, and when construction began for a new ballpark in 1997, The Corner seemed destined for demolition.

Tiger Stadium’s sendoff was bittersweet. Detroit won its final home game, but the stadium was shuttered soon after. Efforts to save or preserve it fell on deaf ears, and The Corner became little more than a backdrop for movies and TV specials.

Unlike most American sports facilities, Tiger Stadium wasn’t demolished after its successor opened, and the new millennium offered little respite to The Corner. Its continued deterioration brought comparisons to  the urban decay sweeping Detroit. But in 2008, demolition finally began. By Sept. 2009, there was nothing left but its frayed baseball diamond. Still, the community rallied around what remained, and worked tirelessly to preserve the memory of one of baseball’s sanctuaries.