Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baseball's Amazing Records


On Monday, May 16, 2011, Kansas City Royals Reliever Vin Mazzaro made Major League Baseball History, but for all of the wrong reasons.

It cost him his spot in the big leagues.

The Royals 25-year-old reliever gave up 14 runs and got just seven outs against the Cleveland Indians, who thrashed Kansas City 19-1. He was sent to the minors after the game. His ERA is now 22.74.

No Pitcher has allowed 14 runs in fewer innings than Mazzaro, according to STATS LLC, whose data goes back to 1919.

There are times to set records and times not to. This story will feature the Best and the Worst and in the majority of the cases, I doubt they'll ever get broken.

There is one record that I refuse to acknowledge. That's the All-Time Home Run mark. Since the baseball record books refuse to put an asterisk by it, I will, and I have a feeling that many purists would do the same.

Despite Barry Bonds 762 homers, to me Hank Aaron's 755  is still the number because he didn't use steroids, but integrity.

Babe Ruth's 714, is No. 2 on my list. Don't expect to see Bonds in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He gets my vote to go to the Hall of Shame.

There is another record that only gets acknowledged when a pitcher throws a no-hitter. In 1938, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Vander Meer pitched two consecutive no hitters. To break it, a pitcher would have to throw three which is impossible!

Since baseball history is based on numbers, here are the ones which stand out, starting with the pitchers and then moving to position players mainly hitting.

1) Wins---Cy Young 511, Walter Johnson 417.
2) Losses---Cy Young 316
3) Complete Games---Cy Young 749
4) Innings Pitched---Cy Young 7,356
5) Games Started---Cy Young 815
6) Shutouts---Walter Johnson 110
7) Strikeouts---Nolan Ryan 5,714
8) No-hitters--- Nolan Ryan 7
9) Base-on-Balls, Walks---Nolan Ryan 2,795
10) Hit-By-Pitch---Gus Weyhing 277
11) Hits---Pete Rose 4,256
12) Hitting Streak---Joe DiMaggio 56
13) Most Seasons 200 + Hits---Ichiro Suzuki 10
14) Most Hits Season---Ichiro Suzuki 262
15) Career Batting Average---Ty Cobb .366
16) Season Batting Average---Nap Lajoie .426 (1901)
17) Stolen Bases---Rickey Henderson 1,406
18) Career Stealing Home---Ty Cobb 54
19) Season Stealing Home---Ty Cobb 8 (1912)
20) Hit-By-Pitch---Hughie Jennings 287
21) Strikeouts---Reggie Jackson 2,597, Active Minnesota Twins--Jim Thome 2,395
22) Intentional Base-on-Balls---Barry Bonds 688
23) Runs Batted In (RBI)---Hank Aaron 2,297
24) Games Played---Pete Rose 3,562
25) Consecutive Games Played---Cal Ripken Jr. 2,632

As amazing as these records are, for better or for worse, what's always amazed me is that for as slow paced as baseball is, this is the most difficult of the four major sports because of the mental aspect.

It's a huge Chess game amongst all involved as managers and coaches who try to outsmart the other, and hope the players can do the same while all of us media and the fans try to figure out what's going to happen.

The pitching records will never be touched for several reasons.

Nowadays, there are five man starting rotations, middle relievers, closers and pitch counts. The price is too high for a pitcher since the salaries are huge, therefore, front offices act with extreme caution when protecting their investments.

How difficult is baseball?

Consider the fact that the last player to hit above .400 was Ted Williams back in 1941 when he batted .406.

The greatest player of all-time Cobb only succeeded 36 % of the time.

Michael Jordan, who played for the Chicago White Sox Double-A Minor League Affiliate the Birmingham Barons in 1994, had a tough time with the grand old game.

In Jordan's lone season, he hit .202, with three home runs, 51 RBI, 30 stolen bases and committed 11 errors. He returned to the NBA a year later and won three more championships.

Even the greatest athletes get humbled playing their "Field of Dreams."

Scott Morganroth can be reached at and his blog can be seen at

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