Monday, July 24, 2006

Complete Nonsense
There's an article in Sports Illustrated listing the 10 most unbreakable records in baseball. #1 on the list: Cal Ripken's consecutive games streak. I had originally pegged Cy Young's 511 wins as the most unbreakable, but now realize it's got to be Young's 749 complete games. How can anybody touch that? Last season the pitchers with the most complete games were Chris Carpenter and Dontrelle Willis, with 7 each. At that rate, they'd have to pitch for well over 100 years to reach the mark, and somehow I don't see that happening. The year before, Ben Sheets and Mark Mulder led the league with 5 apiece. Clemens and Maddox are the only 2 active pitchers with more than 100 complete games. Hell, most pitchers don't start 749 games in their career, let alone pitch all 9 innings. Let's look at some of the best, longest-lasting current pitchers. Clemens: 671 starts as of the end of last season. Maddox: 639. Randy Johnson: 513. Looking back, even Nolan Ryan, who pitched FOREVER, only started 773, ending with 222 complete games.
Other records are within the realm of possibility. Can someone stay healthy for 16 full seasons and never miss a game? It's unlikely, but possible. 3 consecutive no-hitters? Also not likely, but with the right amount of skill and luck, it could happen. Same with the 56-game hit streak or the .400 season (which have come close to being broken). No matter how much luck or skill is involved, nobody will ever come close to breaking the CG record.


Tommy Himself said...

I agree. The Will White and Jack Chesbro CG/season records will never ever be touched. To be fair (since those were pre-WW1), no one will ever top the 30 CGs Steve Carlton had in 1972. Hell, no one will even top his 19 a decade later.

It's not only due to the relatively new role of the relief specialists, but also... back in the day, teams went with three- and four-man rotations. Pitchers had stronger arms AND more chance on the mound.

Nolan Ryan's seven career no-hitters is pretty damn safe, too.

Know what's weird? I was in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown yesterday, and overheard a guy saying "Wow, Tatis hit two grand slams in one inning; that'll never happen again." I wholly disagree. Of course the situational factor of coming up twice in an inning with bases loaded is as rare as they come, but... it can be DONE again. On any given day, ANY major league hitter has the strngth and skill hit two home runs in successive at bats. To tie this record, the hitter really needs the CHANCE.

Having said that, I don't think that record will ever be broken. It;s just too hard to get my brain around three GS in an inning.

Tommy Himself said...

Obviously, I meant:

...On any given day, ANY major league hitter has the strength and skill to hit two home runs in successive at bats...

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