Shop Fantasy Central Golf Guide Email Travel Subscribe SI About Us  
baseball S
pro football S
col. football S
pro basketball S
m. college bb S
w. college bb S
hockey S
golf plus S
tennis S
soccer S
olympics 2000
motor sports
women's sports
more sports

 Sportsman of the Year
 Heisman Trophy
 Swimsuit 2001

 Fantasy Central
 Inside Game
 Multimedia Central
 Your Turn
 Message Boards
 Email Newsletters
 Golf Guide
 Work in Sports GROUP
 Sports Illustrated
 Life of Reilly
 SI Women
 SI for Kids
 Press Room
 TBS/TNT Sports
 CNN Languages

 SI Customer Service
 SI Media Kits
 Get into College
 Sports Memorabilia


Click here for more on this story
Posted: Tuesday October 17, 2000 5:52 PM


It's time to revise the list of the greatest records in sports history

Sports Illustrated

Sports records just ain't what they used to be. Ten years ago a list of the most hallowed marks would have included such names as Maris, Gehrig and Beamon. Today those three have been supplanted by McGwire, Ripken and Powell -- and Marino may be the next to go. Rams quarterback Kurt Warner is on pace to break several of the NFL's most significant passing records, including Dan Marino's seemingly unreachable 5,084 yards in a season. So what does that leave as the most remarkable marks? Here are our choices, in order of greatness, for the absolutely, positively most unbreakable individual records of the last 60 years.

1. Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points in a game (1962). Even after all this time, the total still seems absurd. Michael Jordan at his best scored 69, and as we're constantly reminded, it will be a long time before we see another MJ. No player dominates the game physically the way Wilt did. These days tighter defenses and a slower tempo keep most teams from scoring 100.

2. Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak (1941). Given the pathetic state of pitching, you'd think someone would have mounted a threat to baseball's most revered mark. However, the longest streak in the last decade was 31 by Vladimir Guerrero in 1999, and in 59 years the closest anyone has come to DiMaggio is Pete Rose (44 in 1978). Short of baseball's legalizing metal bats or expanding by another dozen teams, no one's going to touch the Yankee Clipper.

3. Wayne Gretzky's 2,857 career points (1979-99). How great is the Great One's record? Consider that Gordie Howe is second with 1,850 points, and Howe played for 26 seasons. The leading active player is Mark Messier, 39, with 1,719. Some of Gretzky's other marks could fall -- Brett Hull got within shouting distance of Gretzky's 92-goal season a few years ago -- but his staggering point total will stand forever.

4. Rickey Henderson's 1,370 career steals (1979-present). As records go, this is a largely overlooked one, but it appears more out of reach each year. As managers wait for the three-run bomb rather than manufacture offense, steal totals decline. Only two other active players, Barry Bonds with 471 and Kenny Lofton with 463, are even in the top 50 in career thefts. Bonds would have to average 90 swipes for the next 10 seasons to pass Henderson.

5. Byron Nelson's 11 straight PGA Tour victories (1945). Tiger Woods created a stir earlier this year after putting together a six-win streak. That shows you how astonishing 11 in a row is. Nelson achieved his mark against fields thinned by the war, and although we'd be the last to bet against Tiger in anything, unless half the Tour pros are suddenly called into military service, even Woods isn't going to pass Lord Byron.

Issue date: October 23, 2000

For more Scorecard see this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands Wednesday, October 18. Click here to subscribe to SI.

Related information
Life of Reilly: Duck, You Sucker!
Visit Multimedia Central for the latest audio and video
Search our site Watch CNN/SI 24 hours a day
Sports Illustrated and CNN have combined to form a 24 hour sports news and information channel. To receive CNN/SI at your home call your cable operator or DirecTV.

CNNSI Copyright © 2001
CNN/Sports Illustrated
An AOL Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.