There are a few fans out there that really don’t track statistics or records but just simply enjoy their sport. Then there are those fans like me that, while our memory might be able to pull the numbers from the recesses of our minds, we really like the statistics and records of players and teams.
I do not have a photographic memory and I cannot recite the entire roster of even one Brave’s or Steelers team, that is how bad my memory is. There was a time back when I was a young soldier that I had to prep for promotion boards. I did this by reading countless Field Manuals,Technical Manuals, Policy Letters and Army Regulations. I would cram for days just like a college student. I had to do this a minimum of 6 times in my military career when you count all the promotion and soldier of the whatever boards. And after a 20 plus year career I can honestly say, I don’t remember jack squat from most of them. So my point here is even though I can’t remember the statistics and records I can always say the same thing I would tell the Sergeant Major overseering those boards when asked a question I did not know the answer to, “Sergeant Major, I do not know at this time but I know the answer can be found in………(insert appropriate resource or reference here). That was not always a fail safe answer because some of those old crusty Sergeants Major would ask me “Do you have the reference with you at this time?” And of course , I never did.
But even though I still have to look up to get the exact numbers, there are some players from the past that I KNOW owns an untouchable record. In my mind I feel these should be set upon a shrine and marked in the HOF with a Platinum Plaque with the title “UNTOUCHABLE” in bright 24k gold.
The first one I would envision gaining such a plaque would be Cy Young’s Record of Most Games Completed at 749. For those of you reading impaired that is Seven Hundred and Forty Nine!!!! Let’s put that record into perspective. Currently in all of MLB CC Sabathia leads ALL pitchers in most completed games at 38. Mark Buerle currently leads all active Pitchers in most starts, and of course, to have a complete game you have to start so, that is why I mention this; but he leads all pitchers with 463 starts. Just think add to his already 16 years of service he only needs another 10 years just to have as many starts as Cy Young had complete games. So I would be willing to bet the house, go all-in, on the fact that NO ONE will ever touch this record. It is truly amazing.
The second plaque goes to Cy Young as well with the number of innings pitched. I do realize this coincides with his first record of completed games but I wanted to throw this one in here as well just because of the magnitude of difference from his numbers and current modern day pitchers. Cy had a career number of 7356 innings pitched. We all get giddy nowadays if a pitcher manages to give our favorite team 200 innings per year. Cy averaged 334.4 innings per season for 22 seasons. Current active leader is again Mark Buerle with 3096.2 innings, that is not even half. So once again I think it is safe to say “UNTOUCHABLE”.
My next selection as “UNTOUCHABLE” goes to the holder of the highest lifetime Batting Average; Ty Cobb with a .3664. There are many many reasons why I feel this will never be accomplished again. The field of play has changed drastically but more so the quality of pitchers and the era of the “specialists” that comes in JUST TO GET YOU OUT. There have been four or five players that averaged that number or higher in the past for a single season but no one has come close to that number as a career mark. So my selection for the 3rd induction into Archie’s “UNTOUCHABLE”‘s goes to the mean guy known as Ty.
So now we have a Cy and a Ty. Who’s next?
Remember now, this is JUST MY OPINION, but, I see no one ever challenging Rickey Henderson’s stolen base record. I do realize there are some really FAST players out there today. But there is actually an art to stealing bases. While it is true that speed helps and that speed never goes into a slump, it is also true that the amount of “green lights” at any time for swiping a bag has been pretty much removed by managers wanting to keep their jobs. There is another reason I feel this record is safe as well, and that is the fact that most speedsters do NOT have a high on-base percentage. There are a few, but again the era of specialist that are brought into the game late innings to keep these guys off base is working out real well for most managers. Rickey’s ability to get on base was as good as it gets for a lead off guy at a career .401; give me that in any leadoff hitter any day. I know Dee Gordon is off to a great career start but ask yourself this; is Dee Gordon better than Lou Brock or Vince Coleman? No? Well they even finished over 400 swipes behind the Man of Steal. And Dee’s current career OBP; .317.
Well, the rest of my list could be debated and in many circles is debated, but I feel pretty confident they would at the very least make “Honorable Mention” as “UNTOUCHABLE”. I will list these and you the reader can decide for yourself. Keep in mind as you read over them that Baseball is more of a business in today’s world than ever before. So, before you think some player is going to play for 30 years until he is 50, keep in mind ownership moves players out with a quickness once they show signs of deterioration or degraded play. Hell, think on this; Barry Bonds led the league in Walks, OBP, had an OPS of 1.051 and OPS+ of 169 at the age of 42 and COULD NOT GET A JOB the next season.
So enjoy the rest of my list and please, feel free to comment.
Honorable Mention number one: Pete Rose most hits. A-Rod is the closest active player to Pete’s record with 2951 hits. He only needs to average 200 hits per season, (something he has not done in over ten years) for another 6.5 seasons.
Honorable Mention number two: Pete Rose for most games played. Again A-Rod is the closest with 2581 games played. And again he needs another 6 full seasons to close in on that one. He would be 45 and playing full time; I just don’t see it happening.
Honorable Mention number three: Ted Williams led the world in On-base Percentage for his career and still does with his staggering .4817 number. Can you imagine in today’s baseball world? He was on base almost HALF of all his plate appearances. While Joey Votto leads all current players with a great .4183 he already has nine seasons under his belt and for him to improve his current stat he would have to stay healthy and average like .5400 for the next nine years. Yeah right, that is not happening.
Honorable Mention number four: I am going to finish with this one even though I know there are many others more staggering perhaps, but I would be remiss if in a baseball record recount if I did not mention the Sultan of Swat Babe Ruth. Ruth to this day still owns the highest Adjusted OPS+ of all time at 206. Bonds finished third with a 182 behind Ted Williams’ 190. I do realize that most fans don’t give a rat’s ass for sabermetrics and what it all means but for me this is just an unreal number. Barry Bonds is/was the best hitter I ever watched play the game and to realize that there was someone that much better is just unreal. And again, mainly due to the changing of the guard and style of baseball today compared to then, Babe is and always will be the leader in this stat.
So there it is baseball fans. Chew on it, spit it out. Call me a dumbass. Comment as you please. But I do hope you enjoyed this little run down. It has been on my mind for sometime now. I know I did a “Throwdown” back in the day of SI’s FanNation but it has been sometime since I rehashed these and I just wanted to take a trip back.
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