Top Most Unbreakable Baseball Records

While Barry Bonds broke an all-time home record that stood for more than 33 years, several other Major League records appear to be safe. Below is a breakdown of baseball records that are the most likely to stand the test of time.

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Cy Young's 511 wins

Cy Young works out on the mound in Cleveland in 1910.
Cy Young works out on the mound in Cleveland in 1910. Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

This record is a mortal lock to remain in place forever. The active leader is Roger Clemens, a no-doubt first-ballot Hall of Fame pitcher, with 343 victories entering the 2007 season. Clemens, who is No. 8 on the all-time list, would need more than eight more 20-win seasons to break the record. He would be 53 years old when that happened. I don't believe he has that many more comebacks. 

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Ty Cobb's .367 lifetime batting average

Consider that the active leader, Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies, is 24th on this list entering the 2007 season at .334. Tony Gwynn, who is probably the best hitter of his generation, was a lifetime .338 hitter. This one is practically untouchable as well. 

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Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters

Why is this unbreakable? Because nobody has achieved this feat since the relatively anonymous Vander Meer (he went 119-121 in his big-league career) threw no-hitters for the Cincinnati Reds vs. Boston at home on June 11, 1938, and on the road against Brooklyn on June 15. To erase Vander Meer from the record books, it would take three in a row. Unfathomable.

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Cal Ripken's 2,632 consecutive games

Lou Gehrig's 2,130-game streak was considered unbreakable before Ripken came along, and the former Baltimore Orioles shortstop piled 500 more games on top of that before finally sitting down on Sept. 20, 1998. His streak started on May 30, 1983. 

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Nolan Ryan's 5,714 career strikeouts

Roger Clemens is a marvel at his age, but he's not the first power pitcher to be effective well into his 40s. Ryan pitched until he was 46 and played for 27 seasons, striking out more than 300 in a season six times and more than 200 in a season 12 times. Randy Johnson and Clemens are dueling for the No. 2 spot on this list, but they'd probably have to throw in the mid-90s until they're 50 to make it to the top.

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Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak

At least one hit, every day, for two months. If you get walked three times, too bad. So teams have to pitch to you, and you have to get lucky at times, too. Pete Rose got to 44 in 1978, and Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies had a hit in 38 in a row in a streak that began in 2005 and extended into 2006. But even then the pressure was huge. Can you imagine the hype if any player reached 50? 

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Rickey Henderson's 130 stolen bases in a season

The speed game has been deserted since Henderson and Vince Coleman were routinely stealing 100 bases a year. No player has stolen more than 100 since Coleman in 1987. In fact, no player has even swiped 80 since Henderson and Coleman each had more in 1988. The game's emphasis swung toward power in the 1990s, so unless the steal comes back into vogue at some future point, Henderson's record, set in 1982, appears to be very safe. 

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Orel Hershiser's 59 consecutive scoreless innings

Even more amazing, the record would have been 67 innings had postseason innings counted for the former Dodgers ace. Picture anybody throwing six consecutive shutouts, then five more shutout innings. That's a month without allowing a run. Not saying it can't happen, but it will take a special effort, some great defense, and a lot of luck.

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Pete Rose's 4,256 hits

There are a few active players with a shot at 3,000 hits, but you have to go down past No. 150 all-time to find a player under age 35 who is climbing the list in Derek Jeter. Alex Rodriguez (age 31 in 2007) isn't far behind, but both of the current Yankees stars would basically have to double their hit total to pass Rose, who was a part-time player at age 45 when he passed Ty Cobb (4,191 hits) in 1985. 

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Barry Bonds' 73 home runs in a season

There's no movement yet to put an asterisk next to it for the "steroids era" of baseball, but perhaps there should be. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa each broke Roger Maris' record of 61 in 1998, and Bonds is the only player to hit more than 60 since then. He set the record in 2001. Now that baseball is testing (and punishing) players for using performance-enhancing substances, it will take a special effort. Ryan Howard did hit 58 homers in 2006, so he's one to watch.