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15 of the Longest-Standing Records in Sports History

2020 NHL All-Star Skills

15 of the Longest-Standing Records in Sports History

There are endless sports records players attempt to break whenever they step out of their locker rooms. What’s amazing is reminiscing back on some of the most insane records.

In 2024, medical professionals likely wouldn’t allow players to chase some of the legends down. For instance, no pitcher holds more records than Cy Young. He pitched at a time when few players and managers put an emphasis on arm care. Baseball fans in 2024 look at some of the records Young has with awe.

One of Young’s most famous records is his career win total. Throughout his legendary career, Young amassed 511 wins. That’s a record that likely won’t fall, ever. Most pitchers start around 35 games per season. They’d have to win at least 25 starts for 21 straight seasons to pass Young on the list. Also, most pitchers experience some sort of injury throughout their career, forcing them to miss an extended amount of time. Even if they pitched for all 21 years, they likely wouldn’t consistently win around 25 games per year.

Individual records aren’t the only impressive feats.

There are plenty of team records that fans won’t see duplicated in their lifetimes. For instance, the Boston Celtics won eight straight NBA championships. NBA fans have hated the lack of parity in the past. However, since 2019, there hasn’t been one single repeat champion in the league. The NBA has restructured its Collective Bargaining Agreement in such a way that it makes keeping multiple stars and role players challenging. For more sports records, click here to read about the athletes with the most Summer Olympic medals. 

To compile this list of 15 of the longest-standing records in sports history, 24/7 Tempo consulted sports-related sources, including NFL.com, Baseball Reference, and CBSSports.

Cy Young’s Career Wins

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Plenty of Cy Young’s records will remain his forever.

There’s no arguing how dominant Cy Young was during his baseball career. In fact, the MLB honored him by naming the award for best pitcher after Young. The Cy Young Award is given to one pitcher in the American and National League at the end of every season. Young has numerous records that seem silly when looking back on them. One of the most notable is Young’s career win total.

Throughout his legendary career, Young was victorious in 511 starts. His career ended in 1911, which means that record has stood for more than 110 years. Pitchers didn’t have the same concerns about their arms and keeping them healthy the way they do in the modern baseball era. If a pitcher were to take aim at Young’s career wins total, they’d have to maintain an average of 25 wins per season for 21 straight seasons. Most pitchers start around 35 games per season. Given how seriously managers take arm care, this record won’t fall for a long time.

Maury Willis’ Single-Season Games Played

A cropped scoreboard in the outfield of a baseball field
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Maury Willis managed to play 165 regular season games in one year.

The MLB season is 162 grueling games long. For most players, that means playing in roughly 150. Some are considered the games’ iron men and play in every game. However, Maury Willis took it to the next level in 1962. The Los Angeles Dodgers were aiming to get back to the World Series that year and had the team to do it. At the end of the season, they were tied with the San Francisco Giants. That led to the two teams playing a three game, regular season tie breaker to determine who would go to the playoffs.

When all was said and done, Willis played 165 regular season games in 1962. This is a record that likely will stand for a long time. The only chance a player has to break the record is by being traded to a team and playing in more games. There aren’t anymore three game playoffs in the regular season, just a one game deciding matchup. Willis concluded his legendary career with three World Series titles, all with the Dodgers.

Wilt Chamberlain’s Single Game Points

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Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single NBA game.

Few records are as talked about as Wilt Chamberlain’s single game points record. In 1962, the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks faced off. When the game was over, Chamberlain had scored a grand total of 100 points. He was known as one of the most dominant players in the game, so seeing that he scored triple digits by himself wasn’t too shocking to fans. However, the legend of the game has continued to grow over time.

As the years have gone by, fans have asked for highlights of the game. There were only 4,000 people in attendance and no New York press members. The only witnesses are the people who were in the building that day. That’s led numerous fans to become skeptical of if Chamberlain truly did score the amount he claimed he did. In the future, there might be footage released of the game to backup Chamberlain. For now, it’s become a common talking point on social media.

Pete Rose’s Career Hits

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Tons of fans have clamored to have Pete Rose reinstated into baseball.

One of the most controversial figures in sports history is Pete Rose. Nobody can argue what he did on the diamond changed the game. He’s the all-time leader in hits in the MLB. He won multiple World Series titles and brought great baseball back to Cincinnati. However, Rose is arguably most-known for gambling on baseball games he was apart of. The reason fans have a softer spot in their hearts for Rose is because he only gambled on his teams to win, never lose.

Yet, Rose was still kicked out of baseball and hasn’t been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Given how prevalent gambling is in the United States in 2024, more people have openly talked about Rose’s reinstatement into baseball. He’d be allowed to get inducted into the Hall of Fame, where he rightly belongs. Had Rose bet on his team to lose, even once, nobody would have any sympathy for him.

Montreal Canadiens’ Five Straight Stanley Cup Wins

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The Montreal Canadiens are known for being one of the most successful franchises in sports.

Many folks claim that winning the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in sports. Players sacrifice their bodies and do legitimately whatever it takes to hoist the cup.  Whenever the playoffs conclude, reports come out about multiple players playing with various injuries. Most need surgery to repair a tendon or muscle. There are even some players who power through broken bones to have a chance at holding up the cup.

During the 1950s, there was no more dominant team than the Montreal Canadiens. They’re one of the pillars of the NHL. Between 1955 and 1960, the Canadiens won five straight Stanley Cups. While there were fewer teams in the league than there are today, it still takes a lot to come in and win year after year. The record for most cups likely won’t fall, given how challenging it is to just go back to back.

Jim Hardy’s Single-Game Interceptions

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Jim Hardy had a game where he threw eight interceptions.

Throwing an interception is the worst feeling a quarterback can have when playing football. The other team gets the ball back and likely has the bulk of the momentum with them. Throwing one interception in a game sets your team behind. Jim Hardy likely wishes he only threw one against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1950. Hardy ended the game with eight interceptions thrown. This is a record will stand the test of time. A quarterback will likely be benched before throwing eight or more picks in one game.

What’s even more impressive about this stat is that teams didn’t throw the ball as much as they do in the modern NFL. Many teams felt more confident without tempting fate by passing the ball. The option was a popular style of offense to master. Because tons of players had other jobs in conjunction with playing football, running the ball was the easiest thing to do. Hardy should still be applauded for continuing to pass the ball and not letting his interceptions get him down.

Boston Celtics’ Eight Straight Titles

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The Boston Celtics won eight straight titles between the 1950s and 60s.

The NBA in the 1960s was run by the Boston Celtics. Between 1959 and 1966, the Celtics won eight straight titles. Like the Montreal Canadiens, there were fewer teams to compete against. The Celtics also had arguably the greatest coach and a top 10 player dominating the game. The Celtics run of success helped continue to grow the NBA, even though it was the same team winning. People watched with the hope that they lost at some point.

In today’s NBA, parity is the name of the game. There have been several claims over the years that the NBA only wants the major markets to succeed. Small market teams seemingly didn’t stand a chance. However, the league has done everything they can to level the playing field. That’s one of the reasons there hasn’t been a repeat champion since 2018. If a team were to reach the Celtics record, they’d need to figure out how to constantly hit on young draft picks.

Wayne Gretzky’s Single-Season Goals Scored

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Wayne Gretzky is unquestionably the greatest hockey player in history.

In most sports, there are at least two or three players who have a claim as the greatest the sport has ever seen. That’s not the case in hockey. Nobody argues against Wayne Gretzky being the most dominant man to hit the ice. Gretzky holds countless records that cause fans mouths to drop to the floor. One of his records that’s been etched in the history books for a long time is his single-season goal tally.

During the 1981-82 season, Gretzky scored 92 goals during the regular season. What makes this total even more impressive is the fact that he did so in only 80 games. These days, goalies have changed their stance to make it more challenging for players to score. The most recent run at Gretzky’s record came from Connor McDavid in the 2022-23 campaign. He scored 64 goals that year, which was considered a high mark. If any player can break the record in the future, it’s undoubtedly McDavid.

Lou Gehrig’s Consecutive Games Played

Baseball: A dirty baseball lies on the infield on game day.
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Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record was once thought of as unbreakable.

It’s somewhat astonishing to think of what ALS can do to a top tier athlete like Lou Gehrig. Before noticing signs of the disease, Gehrig played in 2,130 consecutive games. He voluntarily pulled himself out of a game on May 2, 1939. He wouldn’t ever play in a big league game again. Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS, which has also become known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. There were many people who considered Gehrig’s consecutive games played record to be unbreakable.

However, Cal Ripken Jr. passed Gehrig with the Baltimore Orioles. There’s no telling how many more consecutive games Gehrig would play if his body wasn’t riddled with ALS. When Gehrig stepped away, he became the first player in sports history to have his jersey number retired. Gehrig also became known for his memorable speech, when he told fans that he “Considered himself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

Norm Van Brocklin’s Single-Game Passing Yards

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Norm Van Brocklin played for the Los Angeles Rams.

Given how much teams emphasize passing in the NFL these days, it’s remarkable to consider that Norm Van Brocklin’s single-game passing yard record is still in tact. Back in 1951 against the New York Yanks, Van Brocklin passed for 554 yards. He was part of the Los Angeles Rams, who were one of the first teams to emphasize scoring and allowing their quarterbacks to throw the ball.

It’s amazing to think that neither Patrick Mahomes or Peyton Manning have had just one game where they threw for more than 554 yards in their career. The closest anyone has gotten to the record is Warren Moon and Matt Schaub. Both quarterbacks threw for 527 yards during one game of their careers. There’s a high likelihood that someone will break this record in the future. Keep an eye out for Mahomes or C.J Stroud to be the ones to accomplish the feat.

Ricky Henderson’s Single-Season Stolen Bases

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Ricky Henderson (left) has multiple stolen base records in baseball.

Nobody in baseball history has been better at swiping bags than Ricky Henderson. His best year on the base paths came in 1982 when he swiped 130 bags. The way stolen bases were counted changed in 1898, which is why many people don’t consider Hugh Nicol to have the record. In 1982, Henderson played for the Oakland Athletics, who were one of the most dominant teams in baseball. Seemingly every time he got on base, a bag was stolen.

The art of stealing bases has gone away in baseball. Most players are more concerned about launch angle than simply hitting a single up the middle. Finding a player who has a good enough bat to be in the lineup and is fast enough to constantly be a threat on the base path is rare. That’s why Henderson’s record has been around for such a long period of time. There’s no telling if anyone will come close to Henderson’s record in the future or not.

Philadelphia Flyers’ Unbeaten Record

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No NHL team has a longer unbeaten record than the Philadelphia Flyers.

During the 1980 season, some NHL games ended in ties. That rule was changed in 2005. However, the Philadelphia Flyers made the most of it that season. In one stretch of games, the Flyers either won or tied their opponent for 35 straight games. They won 25 of those matches and tied the other 10. The team was so dominant that they found themselves in the Stanley Cup Final, where they came up just short to the New York Islanders.

The Flyers’ unbeaten record is one that will last for a long time. The NHL isn’t changing their format in the near future, which means teams won’t be able to tie each other. There’s a clear winner and loser. To tie the Flyers record, a team would have to win nearly half of the seasons’ games in a row.

Los Angeles Lakers’ Consecutive Games Won

Orange basketball ball flying into the basketball hoop
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Fans around the world know how successful the Lakers have been.

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most well-known teams around the world. Part of the reason they’re so beloved is their success throughout nearly every decade. During the 1971-72 season, the Lakers showcased their talent by winning 33 consecutive games. The team capped off their legendary run with a championship win against the New York Knicks. Seemingly every player from that roster made the Hall of Fame when they retired.

This record isn’t out of the realm of possibility for a team to catch. They’d have to put all of their energy and resources into the regular season, though. These days, NBA teams prioritize load management. Rather than leaving it all on the court during the regular season, teams just want to be healthy come playoff time. A young team with something to prove would be the likely be the ones to break this record.

Miami Dolphins’ Single-Season Undefeated Record

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The only team to win every game they play in one season is the Miami Dolphins.

Every team wants to win every game they play. Football players especially feel this way. The regular season is considered more important than any other sport, since there are so few games. However, only one team has successfully ever completed an undefeated season. The Miami Dolphins in 1972 didn’t lose a game in the regular season or playoffs. Even though they had dominated everyone else they played during the season, they went into the Super Bowl as slight favorites to Washington.

There have been some teams who have come close to matching the Dolphins record. The closest was the 2007 New England Patriots. They were undefeated heading into the Super Bowl, where they lost as heavy favorites to the New York Giants. The Kansas City Chiefs have the best roster in the NFL and are arguably the most well equipped team to go undefeated in the future.

Otto Graham’s 10 Straight Football Championship Appearances

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CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 18: XXX against the XXX at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 18, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. Broncos defeated Browns 26-23. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** FristName LastName

The Cleveland Browns went to 10 straight championships with Otto Graham leading them.

The Cleveland Browns were once a franchise that opposing teams feared playing. Otto Graham was part of why the Browns experienced so much success. Graham made the championship game 10 straight seasons, which, ironically, are the 10 seasons he played professionally. Keeping healthy was a challenge in the 1950s for players.

The same medical knowledge wasn’t present the way it is in 2024. A player reaching 10 straight championships in football is almost an impossible idea to grasp. Players get hurt and rosters change dramatically every season. There likely won’t be anyone who appears in 10 straight football championships in the near future. For more sports content, click here to read about 13 football facts not even the biggest fans know.  

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