After posting a sensational 72-10 record at the end of the 1995-96 NBA season, it was said that no team would ever top the Chicago Bulls’ dominant record. However, 20 years later, Steve Kerr (who played on that Chicago squad) guided his Golden State Warriors team to an incredible 73-9 record with some breathtaking basketball by the likes of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors proved that even the most unbeatable of records can be toppled. However, we remain quite confident that the following 25 sports records will stand the test of time forever. Probably.
25. Ty Cobb’s Career Batting Average
The game of baseball has changed a lot over the last century, so it’s almost unfair to expect the players in today’s modern version of the game to stack up against those from over 100 years ago. Nonetheless, getting a hit is basically still the same — hit the ball, get to first safely. Easy, right? Obviously not, since even the best baseball players in history on manage to do successfully it a third of the time.
Legendary Detroit Tiger outfielder Ty Cobb played in the Big Leagues for over 20 years, and managed to post a career batting average of .366 while hitting over .400 in three different seasons. These days anyone who hits over .280 is an All-Star and hitting in the .330 range will get you MVP consideration. The closest active player is Miguel Cabrera with a career .316 batting average. To put that into perspective, he would have needed to rack up more than 400 more hits than his already impressive 2,635 (as of the end of 2017) to match Cobb’s mark. Only the best of the best in baseball can manage 200 hits in a season, so Cabrera is more than two full seasons behind’s Cobb’s ridiculous clip.
24. Jack Nicklaus’ 18 PGA Majors
It wasn’t that long ago that everyone assumed this record would definitely be shattered, as a young Tiger Woods took the PGA Tour by storm and raced out to 14 Major wins in 11 seasons. Even the biggest fans of Jack Nicklaus felt it was only a matter of time before the Golden Bear’s record of 18 Major victories would be eclipsed by a new mark set by Woods.
Then Woods’ personal life and professional game both fell apart in a stunning turn of events. Personal problems combined with a rapid breakdown of his body in 2009 left Woods a shell of his former, dominant self. After numerous surgeries and attempted comebacks, Woods is now in his 40s and just another guy on tour — one who routinely misses the cut or drops out due to injury.
Nicklaus’ record is safe from Woods’ once-relentless attack, but there’s another reason it will never fall. Woods helped revolutionize the game of golf, and now there are a dozen (or more) guys on the PGA Tour good enough to win any of the four annual Majors. It’s unlikely any one of them will be able to pull away from the pack and dominate like Tiger once did. Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els each have four, the closest among active golfers — and four isn’t really close at all.
23. Alan Shearer – 260 Premier League Goals
For starters, we are well aware that soccer existed in England before the formation of the Premier League in 1992. But the EPL did help change the game for the better, with massive television contracts being used to attract some of the best players on the planet and putting a focus on being family friendly entertainment instead of allowing English football to continue down the dark road of hooliganism.
Since the start of the Premier League, one man stands above the rest — Blackburn and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer. The talented English striker made the hardest of goals look comically easy, as he netted 260 goals in 441 EPL games over 15 seasons, including a dazzling 40 in 1993-94 and 42 the very next season.
The closest active player to catching him in Wayne Rooney with 208, but he’s slowed down considerably in the past couple years (that’s what happens when you start your career at 17). Sergio Aguero has 143, but is still just 29-years-old and could threaten Shearer’s record. However, the only man with a solid chance at setting a new mark is Harry Kane. The young Tottenham phenom has 101 goals in 142 games already, and is still just 24. If he stays in England, there’s a good chance this record belongs to him someday. Still, 260 is a lot of goals, even for Harry Kane.
22. Bobby Orr’s Insane +/- Record of +124 in 1970-71
In the 1970-71 season, Bobby Orr produced one of the most amazing feats in NHL history. Fresh off a season in which he won the Hart, Norris, Art Ross, Conn Smythe, and Stanley Cup trophies (yes, all of them), Orr followed up with a season of 37 goals and 102 assists. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, Orr posted a stupidly good plus-minus number of +124. How good is +124? Let’s examine it closer.
Wayne Gretzky’s best ever plus-minus season was +100. Only three players in NHL history have hit +100 or more (Larry Robinson is the third to do so). These days, an elite plus-minus number is anything above +40. Even then, the last nine season leaders have been somewhere in the +30-to-+39 range. No one will ever get to +124 again.
21. Gordie Howe Playing in Six Different Decades
Mr. Hockey himself makes our list by achieving this incredible (even if somewhat gimmicked) accomplishment. After breaking into professional hockey with the Omaha Knights in 1945, Gordie Howe spent the entire 50s and 60s playing with the Detroit Red Wings, winning four Stanley Cups. Having played through parts of three different decades should have been impressive enough, but Gordie really stamped his ownership on this obscure record in the years that came after.
He left Detroit in 1971 and joined the Houston Aeros of the upstart WHA. A short stint with the New England Whalers (who joined the NHL as the Hartford Whalers in the 1979-1980 season) meant that Howe had now played at least one pro hockey game in five different decades. In 1997, Howe signed a one-day contract with the Detroit Vipers of the now-defunct IHL. At 69-years-old, Howe skated in a single shift to become the only player to compete in six different decades. Sure, that last appearance was nothing more than a publicity stunt, but he got paid to suit up and be on the ice, so it counts.
20. Michael Phelps’ 28 Olympics Medals
Michael Phelps needs no introduction, as his prowess in the swimming pool garnered national attention at an amazing five different Olympic Games — from Sydney 2000 all the way up to Rio de Janeiro 2016. Over the course of those 16 years (plus World Championship and other events), Phelps was unstoppable. He set 39 different world record time (29 in individual races, 10 more in relay races with his teammates).
Phelps’ most impressive records are his medal counts, though. He has a grand total of 23 gold medals, and 28 in total (two bronze medals in 2004, two silver medals in 2012, and a single silver in 2016). The former king of swimming was American Mark Spitz, who won 11 total Olympic medals between 1968 and 1972. Outside of the water, Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina won 18 medals between 1956-1964. Even the great Usain Bolt only has eight medals to his name. It would take a one-in-a-million athlete dominating multiple events (in swimming, track and field, or gymnastics) in order for this record to fall.
19. Richard Petty’s 200 NASCAR Wins
They don’t call him “The King” for nothing. Legendary NASCAR pioneer Richard Petty is royalty when it comes to stock car racing, and the reason is simple — he’s won more than everyone else. And it’s not even close. He competed regularly from 1958 to 1992 and sits so far up the all-time wins leaderboard that it’s basically impossible for anyone to catch him.
Petty has a grand total of 200 race wins (119 in the Strictly Stock/Grand National Series, 81 in the Winston Cup, and 60 in the Modern Era). Arguably even more impressive are his seven different victories int he Daytona 500, which is another record unlikely to fall. To put Petty’s win totals in perspective, second place on the list is David Pearson with 105 total wins — basically half of Petty’s. The closest active racer is Jimmie Johnson with 83, and he’s already past his 40th birthday. Kyle Busch, still just in his early 30s, is the next closest active racer and he only has 43 wins. The King’s record will probably stand forever.
18. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 NBA Points
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the NBA for 20 seasons, which is far longer than the average pro basketball career. But he needed all those years to catch and then break one of the game’s most coveted records — all-time points scored. By averaging an solid 24.6 points per game for his entire career (even more impressive when you consider he dropped 15 ppg for his final two seasons), the six-time NBA champion recorded a massive 38,387 points in those two decades on the hardwood.
Karl Malone got closest, with just under 37,000 points. Kobe Bryant comes in at third place, with 33,643. His Airness himself, Michael Jordon, sits at fourth with 32,292. Even the great Wilt Chamberlain only mustered 31,419 — almost 7,000 points fewer than Kareem.
The closest active NBA player to breaking the record? Dirk Nowitzki has 31,000 but he won’t hang around long to get it done. LeBron James has the best shot, with 30,273 so far. He averages about 2,000 points a season, so he would need to play four more full seasons (and stay healthy and maintain his current scoring pace) in order to challenge Kareem. Do we really think LeBron is going to continue playing to the age of 37 or 38-years-old? It’s the only way this record will ever be challenged.
17. Glen Hall’s 502 Consecutive Appearances
Glen Hall does not hold the NHL Iron Man streak for consecutive games. That belongs to Doug Jarvis, who appeared in 964 consecutive hockey games for the Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals between 1975 and 1985 (which is also an impressive record, we should mention). However, the reason Hall’s streak of 502 consecutive appearances is so unbreakable is because he played goalie.
Not only was Hall forced to endue the abuse of being pelted with frozen rubber for 502 straight games, he did it an era before goalie makes were even a thing. Hall played in the NHL starting in 1952 and then consistently from 1955 to the end of his career in 1971. Jacques Plante wouldn’t pioneer the goalie mask until 1959, and even then it took a while for the rest of the league to catch on. While Hall did adopt wearing a mask near the end of NHL career, the entire 502-game streak was played without it. The man must be either incredibly tough or stupidly lucky. And maybe both.
These days, NHL teams only expect their starting goalie to play about 50-to-60 games a year. The backup gets regular playing time, both to give the starter a rest and to keep the second stringers sharp in case they are needed for a prolonged stint. A goalie playing all 82 regular season games would be unusual in the modern game, so you can completely forget about someone like Tukka Rask or Freddie Andersen piling up 503 consecutive games to break this record.
16. Eric Gagne’s Save Streak – 84
For a few years, there was no more sure thing in baseball than Dodgers closer Eric Gagne securing a win in a save situation. The Canadian righty recovered from Tommy John surgery early in his career to become a dependable reliever in 2002 after trying his luck as a starter. He earned 52 saves in his first season a closer, which is pretty damn good for a beginner.
In 2003, he saved 55 more games for the Dodgers, without blowing any. With that, he became the first pitcher to record 50+ saves in more than one season, and the fastest reliever to 100 saves. In 2004, he picked up where he left off and managed to get to 84 consecutive saves (over three seasons) before he finally blew one. Incredibly, 55% of his recorded outs during the streak came via strikeout.
Since then, only a handful of pitchers have come close to matching Gagne’s streak — and they weren’t really that close at all. Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton managed to get to 60 straight saves between 2015 and 2017 before blowing two saves in the 2017 season to reset his count. Mets closer Jeurys Familia got to 52 consecutive saves in 2015 and 2016 before. Just about the only closer who didn’t blow a save in 2017 was Chicago Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery — who only recorded three saves as a backup to regular closer Wade Davis. That means no one is currently even close to Gagne’s impressive total. Even the great Mariano Rivera, the all-time saves leader, never went a full season without at least one blown save.
15. Johnny Vander Meer – Two Consecutive No Hitters
This one is a bit of oddity, but it’s definitely about as unbreakable as they come. Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Vander Meer didn’t exactly have a Hall of Fame career, with a 3.44 ERA and a 119-121 win-loss record that was marred by control issues and massively inconsistent performances. However for one brief week in 1938, Vander Meer was almost perfect.
On June 11, he no-hit the Boston Bees. Just four days later, he no-hit the Brooklyn Dodgers. For those counting at home, that’s two back-to-back no hitters. Most Major League pitchers go their entire careers without throwing a no-no, and only a handful of legends have achieved more than one. For Vander Meer to get two in a single week is one of the most impressive feats in baseball history. The record has never even been tied, and breaking it completely would require three straight no-hitters. Even when complete games were more common than they are now, it was an impossible feat. Now that pitchers are on innings limits and strict pitch counts, with managers often calling on their bullpens as early as the fourth or fifth inning, this record will never fall.
14. George Blanda’s 42 Interceptions
An NFL football season is only 16 games long, but that’s only existed since 1978. Before that, the regular season was only 14 games long. Which makes George Blanda’s 42 interceptions thrown in the 1962 season that much more impressive. Or sad, depending on how you look at it. Yes, this is one of those records you’d rather not hold. But in the 1942 season while playing quarterback for the Houston Oilers, Blanda was picked off 42 times. Somehow, the team still went 11-3.
Blanda started the season by throwing six picks in the opening game, following that dreadful performance up with games of four, one, three, and one interception. Amazingly, he had a clean game in Week Six, throwing zero interceptions against the Denver Broncos. And then six more the week after.
Vinny Testaverde has come the closest to breaking this record, throwing 35 picks in 1988 (again, he also had two extra games to do it). Since 1990, only Brett Favre (29 in 2005), Peyton Manning (28 in 1998), Drew Bledsoe (27 in 1994), and Eli Manning (27 in 2013) even cracked the Top 20 on the all-time single season interceptions list. Quarterbacks of today would get pulled or replaced before they could possibly hit the 40 INT mark in a single season, so Blanda is stuck with this record forever.
13. Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 Strikeouts (and Seven No Hitters)
Nolan Ryan played professional baseball for a remarkable 27 seasons. That alone is almost unfathomable, but he also put some of the most unbreakable pitcher records ever over the course of his Hall of Fame career. Let’s start with the most obvious one. Ryan recorded 5,714 strikeouts during his time on the mound, a product of leading the league in Ks in 11 different times. Randy Johnson, who also pitched for over two decades in The Bigs, is over 800 punch outs behind Ryan (that’s a little less than three seasons worth). To really get an idea of how far ahead Ryan is, consider the closest active players are C.C. Cabathia (2,846 Ks and is 37-years-old) and Bartolo Colon (2,454 Ks and 44-years-old). Even great modern day strikeout artists like Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer are only around 2,100.
Even more unbreakable that the strikeout record is Ryan’s record of preforming no-hitters. Over his career, he left the opposing team without a hit in seven different games. The greatest modern pitchers have only been able to get to two (Randy Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Homer Bailey, Tim Lincecum, Max Scherzer, and Jake Arrieta). We have to go all the way back to Bob Feller to find a pitcher with three no-hitters, and the legendary Sandy Koufax only managed four. Matching this record is impossible and breaking it would mean someone throws eight no-nos in their career. Not happening.
12. John Stockton’s 15,806 NBA Assists (and 3,265 Steals)
John Stockton is one of the best players in NBA history to never win a championship. In 19 incredible seasons with the Utah Jazz, Stockton was the prototypical point guard. He passed first, shot second, played strong defense, and made all of his teammates better. He is considered the best “true” point guard, proven by his 15,806 career assists — many of them to longtime teammate Karl Malone.
Other notable points guards don’t even come close, with Jason Kidd almost 4,000 assists behind Stockton and two-time MVP Steve Nash trailing by 5,500 assists. The closest active player in Chris Paul, who only has 8,573 as of February 2018. Paul averages about 680 assists per season, so he would have to play until 2028 in order to match Stockton. He’ll be 42 by then.
In the steals category, it’s more of the same. Stockton is so far ahead of everyone else, including more than 700 extra steals than Michael Jordan. Again, the closest active player is Paul, but it’s not really that close. Paul currently has 1,983 steals to his name, and would need to maintain his average of 159 steals per season for another eight seasons or so. Most players see a serious drop in all numbers as they get into their late 30s (if they haven’t already retired, that is). Stockton’s records are probably safe forever.
11. Old Hoss Radbourn’s 59 Wins in a Season
Major League pitcher wins don’t mean as much as they used to, with advanced metrics like K/9, WHIP, and Quality Starts being used to more accurately determine a pitcher’s true value to their team. But win-loss records are still a thing, and winning 20 games in a season is still celebrated. If a pitcher manages to win up around 25 games in a single season, there’s a good chance they will be rewarded with a Cy Young award — or even an MVP.
So sure, the game of baseball is drastically different now. But no one will ever touch Old Hoss Radbourn’s 1884 record of 59 wins, in a season where he started 73 games! He posted an ERA of 1.18 and pitched a mind boggling 678.2 innings (anything over 200 IP is considered a heavy work load for pitchers these days).
The record since 1920, considered the “Modern Era” of baseball, probably belongs to Lefty Grove and Denny McLain, who both notched 31 win seasons in 1931 and 1968, respectively. No one in the American League has won more than 25 games since 1990. The last National Leaguer to win more than 25 games was Steve Carlton in 1972. Even getting the “modern” record of 31 wins seems impossible, so just forget about Old Hoss’ mark of 59.
10. Byron Nelson’s 11 PGA Tour Wins in a Row
In today’s golf game, competition is fierce. That makes winning two or three tournaments consecutively some feat. We have witnessed many astonishing golfers over the years dominate the game for extended periods of time, but none quite like Byron Nelson. While he may not be as famous as Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus, Nelson is one of the all-time greats and is sixth on the PGA tour wins list with 52.
Nelson is best remembered for an utterly astonishing year in 1945 (and then retiring a year later), where he won a total of 18 tournaments — 11 of them in a row, which is simply incredible. It’s one record that will never be beaten. Tiger Woods follows with seven, which is still incredible. Woods would call Nelson’s brilliant year “one of the greatest years in the history of sport.”
9. Pete Rose’s 4,256 career hits
With 24 years in the Show under his belt, Pete Rose holds the record for the most MLB records. One of these which is hard to see being topped is his number of career hits, which is a staggering 4,256. He leads the 3,000 hit club by some margin, which is saying something, considering the illustrious group of batters. Ty Cobb follows with 4,191, but the closest to him is Hank Aaron with 3,771.
Currently, Ichiro Suzuki and Adrian Beltre (editors note: Albert Pujols just got there in 2018, too) are the only active members of the 3,000 hit club, and they have 3,080 and 3,048 respectively, and their careers are almost finished. Quite simply, the longevity and consistency of a Pete Rose is no longer found in baseball, and it would require a batter to record 200 hits each season over 21 campaigns to even trouble Rose’s amazing record. A few of his other records include career games played, career winning games played, career at bats, career singles, career outs, runs by a switch hitter and many, many more.
8. Jerry Rice’s 1,549 Career Receptions
They don’t make receivers more prolific than Jerry Rice, who is the all-time leader in dozens of categories. One of his records which seems very unlikely to be eclipsed is career receptions, which is an eye popping 1,549. Over the course of a very successful 20 season career, Rice proved himself to be an unstoppable force and continued to rack up the receptions even in the later stages of his career.
Way out ahead of the pack, Rice amassed 1,549 total receptions along with 22,895 total receiving yards and 197 touchdown passes. Tony Gonzalez chalked up 1,325 in second place, while the closest active player is 34-year old Larry Fitzgerald with 1,234. Fitzgerald averages 88 receptions a season and would need to play four more years at that pace to catch Rice. He’s signed to the end of the 2018 season, but that will be 15 full seasons of NFL grind on his body. It’s unlikely he can hang around long enough to beat this record. This is just one of many NFL records that Jerry Rice holds, and it is hard to see anyone challenging this particular record (or any of his others).
7. Boston Celtics – Eight Consecutive NBA Titles
The word “dynasty” gets thrown around too much in sports. A team is certainly not a dynasty if they win two or three consecutive titles. The 1960s Boston Celtics, however, were the definition of a dynasty and completely dominated the NBA. With legendary coach Red Auerbach at the helm and the likes of Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and K.C. Jones all donning the famous green, the Celtics won eight consecutive NBA titles between 1959 and 1966.
They also won in 1957, 1968 and 1969, at which time Bill Russell retired, ending a dynasty that had lasted over a decade. To compare, the closest any team has come since is three consecutive titles. This was achieved twice by the Bulls in the 90s, and once by the Lakers between 2000-2002. With competition so even (and the adoption of a salary cap), it is hard to see one team being as dominant for so long ever again.
6. Joe DiMaggio’s 56 Game Hit Streak
Joe DiMaggio may not be the greatest player of all-time, but his incredible record is likely to stand the test of time. Back in 1941, the New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio made history by getting at least one base hit in 56 consecutive games. Over this period, which lasted from May 15 to July 17, DiMaggio hit .408. The record has rarely been troubled, with Pete Rose since coming closest with 44 consecutive games in 1978.
Since the millennium, nobody has come even close to toppling DiMaggio’s record and the closest has been Jimmy Rollins in 2005-06 with 38. Seventy-five years on, this amazing record remains unapproachable and it is one that is very likely to last forever. In order for this record to be toppled, a player has no room for error and will need to be at the top of their game at every at bat for around two months.
5. Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2,632 Consecutive Games Played
There is a lot to be said for scoring records and consecutive titles, but consecutive games played is a category that should not be overlooked. These record holders are complete ironmen who do not let anything stop them from performing. The MLB’s greatest ironman is Cal Ripken Jr., who played in a jaw dropping 2,632 consecutive games, spread out over 16 years (1982 to 1998).
If you were watching the Orioles during that period, you would be sure to see Ripken. Amassing 2,362 games is a good amount for a player to play over his entire career, let alone consecutively. These days, players sit out for all kinds of reasons, but Ripken would suit up every game regardless of any small injuries or any other reason. In second place is Lou Gehrig who played 502 less, while Everett Scott is in third with just 1,307.
4. Brett Favre’s 297 Consecutive Games Played
Another complete ironman was Brett Favre, who played in a staggering 297 consecutive NFL games (321 including playoffs). This amazing feat occurred between 1992 and 2010, and this is particularly impressive considering the physicality of the sport and the regularity that injuries occur. Many players sit games out and exercise caution over even minor injuries, but not Favre.
Favre even played the night after his father died, and famously finished with 399 passing yards, contributing to a 154.9 passer rating (a career high). Peyton Manning follows in second with 208 regular season starts, whilst active players Phillip Rivers and Matt Ryan follow with 192 and 131 respectively. Eli Manning had his 210-game streak infamously snapped in 2017 when he was benched by Giants coach Ben McAdoo (who was fired a few weeks later).
There are only 11 quarterbacks to reach streaks of at least 100, with just three of these reaching 200 games. Tom Brady is the only QB to have two separate streaks of 100, but Favre tops this with consecutive starts spanning 19 seasons.
3. Wayne Gretzky’s 2,857 Career Points
NHL and sport legend Wayne Gretzky is hailed as “The Great One,” which is a fine title but also one which is completely accurate. His glittering career is one of the best in all of sports, and this is evident with a flick through the NHL record books (he held 61 records upon retiring in 1999). One of his records which will never be toppled is his career points, which is a breathtaking 2,857 — it’s a complete outlier.
In second place you have Jaromir Jagr with 1,921, which is nearly 1,000 shy of Gretzky’s imposing total. With Jagr now 46-years-old and playing in Europe, the record is more than safe. The closest active player is Joe Thornton with 1,427, who will be 39-years-old in 2018 and doesn’t have a contract for the 2018-19 season. If any player is to beat Gretzky, they will need to average a little better than 140 points over 20 seasons. No one has scored more 140 points a season since Mario Lemieux put up 161 in 1995-96. These days anything in the 100-to-120 range will win you the Art Ross Trophy.
2. Wilt Chamberlain – 100 Points in a Single Game
Wilt Chamberlain holds a few NBA records which are unbreakable, and this is a testament to his astonishing dominance during his era. The most notable record, though, is scoring a jaw dropping 100 points in a single game (before the three-point line was introduced). The closest anyone else has come to reaching this mark is Kobe Bryant, with an incredible 81 point performance in 2006. That was still an entire 19 points shy of Wilt (keep in mind, 19 PPG is a respectable average).
Kobe Bryant is, unquestionably, one of the great scorers of all-time, but even his mammoth effort was well short (Kobe is one of just two players to attempt 50 shots in a game). A handful of players drop 50 points every season, and occasionally 60 points (Jordan managed this six times). Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker threw up a 70 in 2017, but even that was not close to Wilt the Stilt’s century mark. Chamberlain also averaged 50.4 PPG one season, which is a second unbreakable record worth mentioning.
1. Cy Young’s 749 complete games and 511 wins
This remarkable record is one which will never be toppled, and it is largely due to changes in the sport. Cy Young pitched in an era where pitchers would pitch every other day and throw entire games regularly. This resulted in an absolutely incredible record where he completed 749 games and won an enormous 511.
Over the course of his 22 season career (1890 – 1911), Young set many other records which include most career innings pitched, most career games started, and also the most losses in MLB history, which just goes to show how often he played compared to today’s pitchers. Pitchers now throw every fifth day and have the entire bullpen to share the load. Modern hurlers will get nowhere close to Young, and there is a very good reason that the best ace every season gets the Cy Young Award.