Cal Ripken has held the consecutive game streak for 20 years, and he’ll hold it for at least 15 more. The current active leader in consecutive games played is Manny Machado, who hasn’t even played a full season.
Machado would play more than 15 consecutive seasons.
“It’s something I didn’t set out to do, and from where I sit, people say it’s an unbreakable record, but I did it. Because I did it, somebody else can do it. The set of circumstances and maybe how you evaluate an everyday player now might have change a little bit, but still there’s been plenty of guys that can play one season at 162,” Ripken said.
“It’s a streak of consecutive seasons playing 162. A lot of things have to go right. You have to be worthy about being in the lineup. I don’t look at it as that unbreakable record as everyone else does. Someone told me it was 56 years that Lou Gehrig had the record. That kind of blew me away. I didn’t know it was that long. Because it takes a while to get there. It takes 16, almost 17 years to get there, it’s going to last for a little while.”
What are records that are unlikely to be broken?
1) Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak
Since DiMaggio set the record in 1941, no one has come within 20 percent of it.
Pete Rose hit in 44 consecutive games in 1978, and no one has topped 40 since then.
The media attention combined with top shelf relievers would make it nearly impossible for someone to hit in 40, 50 or 60 straight games.
2) Pete Rose’s 4,256 hits
Rose played until he was 45, and few players can be counted on to play 24 years. Economically, most teams don’t want part-time players who will make huge salaries, and in his last few years, Rose was a player-manager.
That may never happen again.
Since Rose retired as a player in 1986, three years before his banishment, Derek Jeter had the most hits, and he was still nearly 800 short of Rose.
Alex Rodriguez passed 3,000 hits this season, but he was just 40, and he would have to play several more years to even equal Jeter.
3) Randy Johnson’s 303 wins
Of course, Johnson’s wins are a record, but Cy Young’s 511 wins were achieved in a far different time.
Johnson was the 10th 300-game winner in the 27 years ending in 2009.
It may take that long for another pitcher to win 300.
Tim Hudson is the current active leader with 220. Bartolo Colon has 216, but they’re 39 and 42 respectively.
The next two pitchers, Mark Buehrle and CC Sabathia have 213 and 212. Buehrle would seem to have the best shot, but he’s 36.
In his 16-year career, Buehrle has averaged 14 wins a season. In order to win 300, Buehrle must average 14 wins until he’s 43.
Felix Hernandez has 140 wins at 29, but until he reaches 200, it’s way too soon to think about it.
4) Hack Wilson’s 191 RBIs
During a discussion of Ripken’s consecutive games streak this week, Buck Showalter mentioned Wilson’s 191 RBIs, hit in 1930 as an especially impressive one.
Since 1940, only two players, Manny Ramirez (165 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (160 in 2001), have averaged an RBI per game.
It’s not a record that’s talked about as often as the others, but it should be.
5) Ripken’s 2,632 game streak
Ripken’s explanation of his streak as a series of 162 game runs is accurate, but with only one player, Machado, having a chance to achieve that this season, it seems incredibly unlikely that someone will do it.
Some criticized the streak as selfish. Showalter rightly pointed out that Ripken at 80 percent would be better than most players at 100 percent.
Would Ripken have been better had he taken a game or two or a month? I don’t think so.
He was an excellent defender, and because he was able to play under adverse circumstances, he inspired teammates to do the same.
Even though it wasn’t so long ago when he played, scrutiny of players is greater than it was 20 years later, and if someone played in even 1,000 consecutive games, Ripken’s streak would be thrown in their face every day.
Perhaps a generation from now, an excellent player will be good enough to play 162 games a year for 15 years. I’d like to see him, but I doubt that I will.
MORE ORIOLES: Davis' 11th inning homer snaps Orioles' losing streak