In this DVD, Baseball’s Most Unbreakable Feats, current major leaguers, Hall of Famers, baseball historians and managers assess 10 so-called unbreakable records and the likelihood (or lack thereof) that the names associated with them will hold up over time. With Roger Clemens as narrator and opinions expressed by everyone from Lou Brock and Dave Winfield to present day players and managers like Tom Glavine, Craig Biggio and Terry Francona, it is a fun film to watch. All 90 minutes of it. The statistical breakdowns of the records and what it would take to break them again are informative, and even the background music – symphonic, rockin’ or electronic – sets the mood well.
As for the records, they include: Nolan Ryan’s 5,714 K’s, Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA, Ted Williams’s .406 AVG, Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hit streak, Eric Gagne’s 84 consecutive saves, Rickey Henderson’s 1406 career SB’s and 130 SB’s in one season, Cal Ripken’s 2632 consecutive games played, plus a few more.
For starters, the consensus among everyone in the DVD (and fans as well) is that no one will ever get close to Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2632 consecutive games streak, for sure. Miguel Tejada, the closest to his record these days, is mentioned as the most likely candidate to catch up to Ripken. However, on June 22, just under two weeks before this DVD was released (July 3), his own streak of 1152 consecutive games played ended as he sat out of the game due to a wrist injury. Tejada’s streak is the fifth longest in MLB history but still more than nine seasons worth of games shy of Ripken’s record, which spanned three presidential administrations (1982-1998). Thus, Ripken’s record is not just the most unbreakable record in baseball, but arguably in all of sports.
A record that is arguably just as unbreakable as Ripken’s streak is Cy Young’s 511 wins. As some players pointed out (i.e. Barry Zito), starting pitchers aren’t allowed to pitch as frequently as they did in Young’s era (late 1800’s-to-early 1900’s) and likely never will again, both for health and competitive reasons. Still, Greg Maddux did manage to break one of Young’s records, having recorded at least 15 wins in 17 consecutive seasons through 2004. (In a side note, Clemens made a minor error in saying Maddux “just” broke Young’s consecutive wins record, which happened three years ago; Young’s mark was previously at least 15 wins in 15 consecutive seasons.)
When it comes to a couple records, some players are of the “never say never” mindset. And regarding Ted Williams’s legendary .406 AVG in 1941, Kevin Millar nominates Ichiro Suzuki to challenge it in the future. A couple of peers mentioned Albert Pujols and Twins catcher (and former batting champ) Joe Mauer as well, but most see Ted’s .406 AVG as unsurpassable. Also cool is interview footage of the late Teddy Ballgame. Indeed, footage of him, Pedro with the Red Sox and other heroes of the past makes this DVD high on nostalgia.
One record that I see as possibly vulnerable is Pete Rose’s 4256 career hits. Reigning AL MVP Justin Morneau thinks so as well. However, older guys like Francona and Bobby Cox do not. Still, with more and more players playing into their 40s these days, it may not be a question of if his record can be approached but when. According to the film, through age 32, Rose had 2152 hits, while Derek Jeter had 2150 hits at the same age (through the 2006 season). However, Rose played all or parts of 24 seasons to get 4,000+ hits. Jeter, now at age 33, has played at least 12 seasons and is fast approaching 2350 hits. Therefore, if Jeter stays healthy, consistent and wants to play for about ten more seasons, even as a DH, he will give Rose’s record a run for his money.
I’m not going to spoil it for you and tell you how 160 players, managers and coaches ranked the top 10 “unbreakable feats,” but it is interesting to note what records did not make the DVD at all: Hank Aaron’s all-time RBI record (2297) or the formerly sacred all-time HR records – single or career-spanning. Barry Bonds broke the latter two, but not without the help of performance enhancers, some of which (the cream and clear) he admitted in sworn testimony to using for a short time earlier in this decade. Still, many fans expect a few of today’s power hitters to eclipse whatever HR number Bonds ends up with, especially A-Rod, and even Albert Pujols. And at age 32, A-Rod already has over 500 HRs and nearly 1500 RBIs!
Overall, this DVD is highly recommended and a must-have for baseball fans that appreciate the fact that baseball is not only a team game but a game of statistics and historic accomplishments. Even if you are familiar with some of these records, you, like the players in this film will likely be awestruck of them and appreciative of what it took for the likes of Nolan Ryan, Rickey Henderson and Cal Ripken to attain their mammoth records. Even the bonus material, which evaluates more unbeatable records, such as back-to-back no-hitters (by Johnny Vander Meer, 1938 ) and two grand slams in one inning (by Cardinal Fernando Tatis in 1999 off Dodger Chan Ho Park, both times) is worth watching.
To watch a two-minute trailer of it, click here.