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  1. #1

    What's the greatest baseball individual baseball accomplishment of all-time?

    I'm an absolute baseball fanatic. I've been reading about the game since I was old enough to read, and I have a deep appreciation for the game's history. And over the years, I've spent a lot of time engaged in friendly debates about what the greatest individual feat in baseball history might be. So, I'm going to start a discussion here, and let the debate begin!

    There are a few feats that jump to mind immediately. Cal Ripken Jr's consecutive games streak is obviously near the very top. The Iron Man played 2,632 games in a row, beating Lou Gehrig's previously considered unbreakable streak of 2,130 games. Think about that. 2,632 straight games. That's over 16 1/4 162 game seasons, never missing a game. What's even more mind-boggling than that is besides Gehrig, nobody in baseball history have reached even half of Ripken's consecutive game streak. Everett Scott, a light-hitting shortstop with the Boston Red Sox starting in 1914 played in 1,302 consecutive games. That's third best all-time. And Ripken wasn't playing right field, or a designated hitter taking his swings, and sitting down when his team was on the field. He was a shortstop. Cal spent his days "at the office" running every which way, diving, spinning to throw the ball, turning double plays at second with runners trying to slide into him. It's absolutely mind boggling that Cal was able to play as long as he did. And he didn't just show up. He was spectacular. Ripken was a 19 time All Star, winning 8 Silver Slugger awards, a Gold Glove, and two American League MVP awards. Ripken hit 603 doubles, 431 home runs, 3,184 hits, nearly 1,700 RBI. He started the streak on May 30th, 1982. I was not yet 11 years old. His streak ended September 19, 1998, 4 days before my 27th birthday.

    Another historic feat, a record that will never be broken, is Johnny Vander Meer's consecutive no-hitters in the summer of 1938. Unlike Ripken, who was a Hall of Famer, Vander Meer was not a superstar. He won 119 games in his career, and lost 121. He was a four time All Star, with his best season being 1942 when he won 18 games, struck out 186 batters, and had a sparkling 2.43 ERA. However, he was never the best pitcher in the game. But in June of 1938, Vander Meer was spectacular. He started seven games that month, and won them all. Six of them were complete games. In his first two starts that month, against the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants, he gave up a combined 2 runs and 8 hits in 18 innings. Vander Meer was only getting warmed up. In his next two starts, Vander Meer no hit the Boston Bees on June 11th, and the Brooklyn Dodgers on 15th. He struck out 11 across the two games, and walked 11. Though the teams he faced would never be confused with the 1927 Yankes, no hitting any Major League team is an accomplishment. In the history of Major League Baseball, there have been only 279 no- hitters, the first being tossed by Joe Borden on July 28, 1875. The most recent by Homer Bailey of the Reds on September 28, 2012.

    But my vote for the greatest individual feat in the game's history is Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak of 56 games in the summer of 1941. Before DiMaggio, the the record for consecutive games with a hit was 44, set in 1897 by Willie Keeler. From May 15th to July 16th, the Yankees went 41-13. DiMaggio had 247 plate appearances. He hit .408 during the streak, with 15 home runs and 55 RBI. he had a 1.181 OPS, and struck out only 5 times. After the streak was broken, he went on to hit in 16 more games. All in all, DiMaggio hit in 72 of 73 games. In the 71 years since DiMaggio's streak, only two hitters have even approached his record: Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds hit in 44 straight in 1978, and Paul Molitor of the Milwaukee Brewers hit in 39 straight games in 1987.

    There are of course other individual feats, some taking place in one season, others over a career. For example, Ralph Kiner leading the league in home runs each of his first seven Major League seasons is a record that might never be broken. I also think Jimmie Foxx' record of thirteen consecutive 100 RBI seasons is safe now that Albert Pujols' streak was snapped. Too bad, he'd be at 12 seasons in a row right now if he'd gotten one more RBI in 2011.

    So, what do you guys think is the greatest individual feat in baseball history?
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  3. #2
    In my opinion, it's the all time hit record. 2000 hits is usually considered a good career, let alone 4256. In order to amass this many hits, you must stay consistent and healthy every single year of your career. This isn't 10 consistent years or even 20 consistent years either. It took Pete Rose 24 seasons to amass this many. The only player who will ever have a shot to break it (longshot) is Derek Jeter. I'm not even sure if we will see many more players getting to the 3000 hit milestone. The next toughest on my list has to be the 56 game hit streak. Honestly, there is no way of determining a definitive monster milestone. Most of the top ones are incredibly impressive.
    Last edited by baseballboy2; 03-18-2013 at 04:19 PM.

  4. #3
    Another incredibly impressive one that might be 3rd on my list is the consecutive games reaching base record of 84 games set by Ted Williams. That pretty much sums up his entire career. Best hitter to ever play the game.

  5. #4
    How about Rickey Henderson's single season stolen base record and career stolen base record? 130 for a season is almost a stolen base every game and 1406 for the career is almost 500 ahead of Lou Brock who is in 2nd place.
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  6. #5
    Fernado Tatis.... Two grand slams same inning off the same pitcher.
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  7. #6
    I believe it is Pete Rose's hits record, a lot of years and a lot of consistency. Second would be Rickey's stolen bases record. I do however (being a Reds fan) look forward to Billy Hamilton taking a shot at it, lol.
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  8. #7
    Ripken's streak is even more incredible that he didn't pull stunts like they did Lou Gehrig by batting him one time etc... Gehrig in fact only played in every inning one year. Ripken played every inning of every game for 904 straight games and I think the 904 record is more impressive then the 2,632 games played.

    Henderson's stolen base record won't be broken in our lifetimes unless there is a radical change in baseball strategy.

    Nolan Ryan's career strikeout record to me is the most impressive. The current leader is Andy Pettitte with 2,320 KO's. That too would require a radical change in baseball strategy by letting pitchers go 300 plus innings a year, along with a sick K/inning ratio.

    The 56 game hitting streak will be real hard to break because of specialist relievers and pitchers won't throw up "fat balls" to hit anymore like was rumored during Lou's streak.

  9. #8
    I thought about Henderson's single season stolen base record, but with Billy Hamilton on the way, I'm holding off on calling 130 "unbreakable". He has yet to go against big league catchers like Yadier Molina. But the man is fast.

    However, can he get on base enough to make a serious run at the record?

    The two grand slams in an inning is pretty tough, too.
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  10. #9
    Cy Young's career 511 wins. For a pitcher to equal that, he'd have to average 26 wins over a 20-year career. Given that starters only pitch in 35 games at most in a season, that's almost untouchable.

    And just for comparison's sake, the last pitcher in baseball to win at least 26 games iin a season...Bob Welch of the A's - 27 wins in 1990; 23 years ago. Before Welch, the last to win at least 26 was Steve Carlton, who won 27 games in 1972. 41 years ago.
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  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ProspectorDave View Post
    Cy Young's career 511 wins.
    They're all great, but this is the one that comes to my mind immediately as one that will never ever ever come close to being broken. I know it was a much different game then, I would be impressed if more than a few pitchers ever get half way there in today's game.
    Ripken, Dimaggio, Henderson, Rose...all incredible records...I love this game :)

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