Philadelphia, PA – No sport lends itself to records better than baseball. It's really not even close.
The numbers just jump out and stick with us.
715 home runs.
You just don't get that in any other sport and never will.
And it's fun to look at the numbers and wonder if they'll ever be touched.
So, in the name of Americana, and baseball, let's go inside of those numbers and see what we see.
Right at the top we have the most unbreakable record in all of sports (with apologies to Secretariat who still holds the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes track records) and that's Cy Young's 511 wins.
Just think about that for a second or two. The guy won 511 games.
A pitcher who gets to 200 wins today is celebrated for his longevity and talk of the Hall of Fame even crops up.
And will we ever see another 300-game winner in major league baseball? It says here that we won't.
Careers aren't long enough.
Five-man rotations limit opportunities for starts.
And guys today don't need the money. Be good for a few years and you're set for life.
Just think what a pitcher would have to do to match Young's 511 wins.
If he started pitching in the majors at age 20 and won 20 games a year for 25 straight seasons, he'd still be 11 wins short at age 45. That's a ridiculous way to look at it, but it's a ridiculous number of wins.
To put it into further perspective, the greatest individual basketball record is Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points. A phenomenal number, but Kobe Bryant put a scare into it when he had 81 in a game in 2006.
Football? Last season, Adrian Peterson made a run at Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record of 2,105 yards which many thought unbeatable. Peterson missed tying it by nine measly yards.
Think Dickerson wasn't worried?
The only guy close to Cy Young is Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky's four 200-point seasons is remarkable considering nobody else has had even one.
But I still give the nod to Young.
And let's get back to the baseball numbers.
If Young is first (and he's also the answer to the great trivia question: name the pitcher with the most career wins never to win a Cy Young Award), then Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak has to be second.
In 1941, DiMaggio broke Wee Willie Keeler's record by 11 games and nobody has come within 12 games of DiMaggio in over 70 years.
Pete Rose got to 44 in 1978 and Jimmy Rollins hit 38 (over the 2005-2006 seasons), but that's it.
DiMaggio's mark is nearly as safe as Young's.
Back to pitching and Nolan Ryan.
Ryan's 5,714 strikeouts and seven no-hitters should be considered No. 3 and 3a as far as unreachable.
As for the strikeouts, only Randy Johnson (4,875) came within 1,000 of Ryan and only two others - Roger Clemens (4,672) and Steve Carlton (4,136) - broke 4,000. Wow!
And seven no-nos? Good luck. Sandy Koufax had four. Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander each have two.
Verlander, maybe, just maybe, could make it interesting.
And no list of baseball records would be complete without mentioning what Rickey Henderson was able to do on the base paths.
The guy stole 1,406 career bases. That's 468 more than second-place Lou Brock. Unreal.
And Rickey had a season best of 130, 12 better than Brock ever did.
Can the 130 ever be topped? Well, Cincinnati Reds prospect Billy Hamilton, who has yet to play in the majors, stole 155 bases in the minors last year. But that was Single-A and Double-A.
Hamilton, when he gets the call, will be worth watching. Until then, Rickey has nothing to worry about.
Many good records were left off this list - we didn't even look at home runs - but that's what makes them great. They are records that likely won't be broken.