Career complete games probably takes the cake for me as far as records that will clearly never be broken.
The use of pitcher has clearly changed over the years. A guy today hits 100 pitches and he is done. That obviously influenced the complete games as it does innings pitched.
A reduction in the innings also means a reduction in strikeouts. CC Sabathia has already played for 13 seasons, is 33 years old, and is not even halfway to Nolan Ryan’s strikeout record.
With the increasing bullpen emphasis, pitcher wins also matter much less in today’s game. When guys were throwing a complete game in 95% of their starts though, they got a lot more decisions.
It also meant that they got many more losses, which is why Cy Young’s loss record will probably never be broken either. Ironically, to lose this many games means not that the pitcher has to be bad, but has to be good enough to hang around so long he can build up the loss tally.
Of course if Young’s loss record is broken, he will no doubt hold on to his wins record much longer.
Another change in pitchers has been the increase of the number of runs scored. It is unlikely we will ever see another pitcher with a sub-1 ERA over a whole season. Current pitchers are not necessarily less dominant, though, if we look at ERA+, which compares each ERA to the league average of the year many recent pitchers are in line with the historic seasons of Keefe and Leonard.
Perhaps it’s not a real record category, but Johnny Vander Meer’s feat of throwing two consecutive no-hitters will be tough to beat. Unlike most of the other records, some which take decades to accomplish, this one only takes 18 innings. So I could potentially see someone tying this at some point, but three in a row? Good luck.
On to offense, we find Dimaggio’s famed 56-game hit streak. Unlike the pitchers, there has not been a drastic change in how offensive players are used. So it may take a long time, but this one isn’t insurmountable.
Ichiro arrived in the US at age 27 and stole a career-high 56 bags during his rookie year. Had he started in MLB at age 21 and stole 56 every season until he turned 27, that would bring his current total to one more than Tim Raines for fourth all-time.
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