Many sports records are an exception which proves the rule that records are meant to be broken. Such records are deemed impossible to break or surpass, and many feel they will stand the test of time. These unbreakable records, therefore, have transformed these players into immortal legends.
Here is our gallery of unbreakable sports records. Stick around and enjoy this gallery as much as we did in compiling this list!
1. Walter Johnson
Major League baseball player Walter Johnson (b. 1887 – d. 1946) established several records, some of which remain unsurpassed. He fanned 3,508 strikeouts and once became the only player in the 3,000 strikeout club for over 50 years. He remained the only player in this elite club until 1974, when Bob Gibson joined that club by making his 3000th strikeout. Johnson led the league in strikeouts a record 12 times over the course of his career.
Johnson also won 417 games, second only to Cy Young’s 511. He still holds the career record with 110 shutouts, which has not been broken since he set it.
2. Lance Armstrong
It’s such a shame that Lance Armstrong’s controversial doping scandal in 2012 led him to be stripped off of his seven Tour de France titles, which he won in consecutive years from 1999 to 2005.
Before the scandal (where he eventually admitted to the doping), Lance Armstrong (b. 1971) was truly an inspirational figure. No other cyclist has ever done this feat — winning such a number of titles at Tour de France consecutively — ever since. There are other four cyclists who won five straight Tour de France titles but nobody has been able to achieve the feat that Armstrong accomplished. And the more amazing thing about Armstrong’s seven titles is that he went on to win that string of titles following his recovery from metastatic testicular cancer. Putting the doping aside, Armstrong remains the greatest cyclist of all time.
3. Cy Young
During his 22-year baseball career, Cy Young (b. 1867 – d. 1955) won 511 games, with Walter Johnson running a close second with 417. No one other Major League baseball player has been able to match or surpass Young’s record, or even just Johnson’s.
Some people credit Young’s record for playing in a different era. He made his debut in 1890 with the Cleveland Spiders, then moved to the Boston Rustlers in 1911. Pitchers during the early years did not pitch every five days like their modern-day counterparts do. These pitchers pitched remarkably more often and had less rest in between starts. During his career, Young started over 40 games 11 times, and also threw over 350 innings 11 times, too.
4. Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps (b. 1985) is not only the winningest Olympic swimmer but in fact he is the most decorated Olympian of all time. At only 29 years old, Phelps has won 22 Olympic medals, including 18 gold medals. He also has been named World Swimmer of the Year six times. Phelps announced in recent months that he would be competing in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Chances are he will swim to even more medals.
5. Bob Gibson
If you weren’t alive during the late 1960s, you would not grasp how dominant Bob Gibson (b. 1935) was during his heyday.
The retired St. Louis Cardinal pitcher was at the the peak of his career in 1968 when he posted an earned run average of 1.12, which is a live-ball era record. During that same season he also threw 13 shutouts and pitched 47 straight scoreless innings. Opposing batters also only had a batting average of .184 against Gibson in that same season.
6. Richard Petty
Richard Petty (b. 1937) is to NASCAR what Elvis Presley was to rock-and-roll. Petty is simply “The King,” the actual title fans and sportswriters have bestowed on him. And he is well deserved to be called as such, because he is unquestionably the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. He won a record 200 races during his career, in both the pre-modern and modern eras of NASCAR.
Petty has won the NASCAR championship seven times, and this feat is only matched one other NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt. Petty also had 712 top 10 finishes during his three-decade career.
Petty reached the pinnacle of his career in 1967 where he won an amazing 27 races; at one point he achieved the checkered flag in 10 straight races.
7. Joe DiMaggio
“The Yankee Clipper” and “Joltin’ Joe” Joe DiMaggio (b. 1914 – d. 1999) is perhaps most known for his record 56-game hitting streak from May 15 to July 16, 1941, which remains unbeaten.
Many players have since come close to match DiMaggio’s record. Pete Rose came the closest with his own 44-game hitting streak in 1978, Jimmy Rollins with 38 in 2005-2006, and Chase Utley (2006) and Luis Castillo (2002) each had 35 games apiece.
8. John Stockton
Retired Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton (b. 1962) still lords over the NBA assists department with 15,806 career assists or 10.5 dole-outs per game. The Gonzaga alum and 10-time NBA All-Star also holds the record for the most career steals with 3,265. He and teammate Karl Malone formed one of the NBA’s most famous and formidable pick and roll duos.
9. Byron Nelson
Byron Nelson (b. 1912 – d. 2006) is not only seen as the greatest golfer during his time, but in fact, also in the history of the game itself. Although he won many tournaments in his relatively short career, Nelson will always be remembered for his astounding feats during the 1945 PGA Tour. In Nelson’s peak season, he won 18 of his 35 PGA Tour events, and that included 11 straight tournaments. In the 60 years since, no other golfer after Nelson has been able to beat both of his records, and it looks like no one ever will.
10. Barry Bonds
Whether you like it or not, retired baseball player Barry Bonds is considered the all-time home-run king. Bonds has a record of 762 career home runs, surpassing Hank Aaron’s 33-year record of 755.
However, it’s highly likely that Bond’s record could eventually be broken. Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols come to mind as players with the highest potential to break Bond’s record. But Bond’s record of the most home runs in a single season with 73, on the other hand, will probably never be broken. Bonds achieved this amazing feat back in 2001, breaking the previous record of 70 home runs held by Mark McGwire.
11. Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky (b. 1961) is well deserving to be called “The Great One.” Throughout his career, this Canadian native averaged 1.92 points per game while winning MVP trophies in the National Hockey League. During the 1985-1986 season, Gretzky scored 215 points, which still stands unbeaten.
12. Oscar Robertson
Mention the name Oscar Robertson (b. 1938) to any younger basketball fans, and most of them would scratch their heads. You’ve got to realize how great Robertson truly was during his prime. He is regarded as one of the greatest players in NBA history, almost always making it to the top five all-time NBA greatest lists.
In the entire 1961-62 NBA season, “The Big O” scored an average 30.8 points per game. He also dished out an average of 11.4 assists and hauled down an average of 12.5 rebounds per game. These numbers made Robinson to become the only player to average a triple-double over the course of the entire season, and no other NBA player has dared to break Robinson’s incredible record since.
When you’re asked about the greatest soccer player who ever lived, you’d most likely answer Pele (b. 1940). Before Ronaldo, there was Pele.The Brazilian soccer superstar’s 760 official goals and 1,281 goals overall are still a tall order for other soccer players who dare to break Pele’s record. Pele was chosen as Athlete of the Year by the International Olympic Committee in 1999.
14. Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain (b. 1936 – d. 1999) was one of the greatest and most dominant players in the history of NBA. The 7’1″ center displayed that very dominance on March 2, 1962, where he scored a record of 100 points. His team the Philadelphia Warriors, obviously, won that game with 169 points against the New York Knicks’ 147. It’s highly unfathomable that such an incredible record as Chamberlain’s 100 points will ever happen again in the NBA.
15. Cal Ripken Jr.
Cal Ripken Jr. is not called “The Ironman” for nothing. From May 30, 1982 to September 19, 1998, Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive games, the most in the history of Major League Baseball. He broke the previous record by Lou Gehrig, who had a streak of 2,130 games from 1925 to 1939.