Must-be-broken MLB records

As they say, “records are made to be broken”, and there is no sport quite like baseball when it comes to the consistent tracking and smashing of milestones. Today, we’re taking a look at some of baseballs incredible, but totally breakable, records.

Ichiro's 262 hits in 2004


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For someone to break Ichiro’s single-season hit mark would need a crazy level of consistency, opportunity and of course, the ability to make contact. Plus, Ichiro logged 704 at-bats in that magical 2004 season, one of only four players to cross the 700 at-bat plateau in a single campaign. So to break this record, you'd have to hit .373 and log more than 700 ABs.

Nolan Ryan's 5,714 strikeouts and 2,795 walks


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Even with today’s growing strikeout climate, it’s unlikely that anyone has what it takes to catch up to Ryan. Chris Sale would have to repeat his 308-strikeout 2017 season each season for more than a decade to even get Ryan's attention.

Rickey Henderson's 1,406 career steals and 130 steals in 1982


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It’s hard to imagine the stolen base being featured again like it was in Henderson's heyday. The last player to attempt 130 steals in a season was Vince Coleman in 1985. Billy Hamilton, 28, would need to average about 110 steals over each of the next 10 seasons (nearly twice his career high) to approach the "Man of Steal."

Hack Wilson's 191 RBIs in 1930


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While there's no doubt Wilson went on an absolute tear in 1930 (.356/.454/.723 with 56 home runs), he also played in an extreme offensive environment (a record six players topped 150 RBIs that year) and had a pair of superb table-setters in front of him in Kiki Cuyler (.428 OBP) and Woody English (.430).

Barry Bonds' 232 walks in 2004


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For context, only one player other than Bonds has walked at least 170 times in a season (Babe Ruth, 1923), and Bonds alone piled up more than half the walks that the entire Pirates squad drew in 2004. He was also issued 120 intentional passes that year, and only one player other than Bonds -- who had 68 IBBs in 2002 and 61 in '03 -- has ever drawn more than 45 in one year (Willie McCovey, 1969).

Babe Ruth's 177 runs scored in 1921


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Like Wilson's RBI mark, Ruth got a good bit of help from a lineup that collectively hit .300 and averaged 6.2 runs. But don't shortchange the 353 times that "The Bambino" reached base, which still stands as the fifth-highest single-year total in modern history. Hitting 59 homers will go a long way, too, of course. Even at his peak, Bonds never scored 150 times in a season; Jeff Bagwell (152 runs in 2000) is the most recent player to crack 150, and he was the first since Ted Williams in 1949.

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Pete Rose's 15,890 plate appearances and 4,256 hits


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It is conceivable that Ichiro could have been within shouting distance of Rose's hit mark had he debuted in America well before his age-27 season. It is much harder to imagine any player not only equaling Rose's 24 big league seasons, but also maintaining the excellence required to average 662 plate appearances per season as the Hit King did.

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,632 straight games played


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Ripken played in 2632 consecutive major league baseball games, having broken Lou Gehrig’s 56-year-old record by 502 games.  Many experts believed Gehrig’s record would never be broken. On the way, he piled up over 3000 hits, 19 All Star Game appearances and won two MVP titles.

Hank Aaron's 6,856 career total bases


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Stan Musial still stands closest to Aaron with 6,134 total bases, while Albert Pujols would need to average well over 400 over the last two full seasons of his contract -- a total he never reached in a single year over the course of his Hall of Fame-caliber career.

Jody Davis' 89 baserunners caught stealing in 1986


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Davis raced past Gary Carter's 75 caught-stealing throws in 1983, and no other backstop has reached 70 since Tom Pagnozzi in '91. As we referenced with Henderson above, there simply aren't enough steal attempts now to create an environment where one could throw out baserunners like Davis did for the Cubs more than 30 years ago.

Joe Sewell's three-strikeout season in 1932


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An easy candidate for the toughest hitter to strike out in the history of the game, Sewell's career punchout percentage (.014 percent) is best described as "microscopic." The Hall of Famer's three strikeouts over 576 plate appearances in 1932, was matched by 12 players on Opening Day, 278 players within the first week and 486 players by the end of April this season.

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Published: 11/22/2019