Ten Post-1901 Pitching Records That Will Never Be Broken
Jack Chesbro with the Boston Red Sox in 1909.
They say, “never say never.”
Records are meant to be broken.
But there are some pitching records that will probably never be broken and others that certainly will never be broken. We’re looking at records from the modern era only – post 1901.
Here they are:
10. Johnny Vander Meer 2 consecutive complete game no-hitters (1938)
Johnny Vander Meer had the good fortune to be the only pitcher to ever throw back to back no-hitters on June 11 and June 15, 1938 for the Cincinnati Reds.
It is now rare for a pitcher to throw a shutout, or even a complete game. In an era of relief specialization, analytics and match-ups, no-hitter’s are becoming a thing of the past. As of May 2018 there have been 297 no-hitters thrown in the past 117 years. 10 of those no-hitters were a team effort, thrown by two or more pitchers in the game. In 2015 there were seven no-hitters thrown. In 2016 and 2017 a total of just two no-hitters were thrown.
The notion that anyone will ever again throw two no-hitters in a row is a longshot. Three no-hitters in a row? No way.
9. Rube Marquard 19 consecutive wins (1912)
New York Giants starting pitcher Rube Marquard strung together 19 straight wins to begin the 1912 season. Long winning streaks by starting pitchers are uncommon nowadays. They’re yanked from games earlier than ever and no longer control the outcome in close games because they’ve hit their pitch count limits. Can a modern day pitcher win 20 games in a row? If it were to happen, it would be a miracle.
8. Roy Face .947 Winning Percentage (1959)
How do you get a .947 winning percentage? You lose only one game and win 18. Pirates pitcher Roy Face achieved that lofty winning percentage all in relief. Face did not start one game. It is conceivable a pitcher could have a better winning percentage. It is also conceivable we will one day have world peace.
7. Nolan Ryan 383 strikeouts (1973)
Nolan Ryan was a strikeout machine. In 27 big league seasons Ryan mowed down 5,714 hitters primarily using his blazing speed. If a pitcher struck out more than 383 batters in a season as Ryan did for the 1973 California Angels, it would mean striking out an average of about 1.5 batters per inning based on a 256 inning season.
In 2017 only ten pitchers threw 200 or more innings. Boston’s Chris Sale led all major leaguers with only 214.1 innings pitched. Sale also struck out a stupendous 308 batters.
Since starting pitchers are pitching less innings than ever before, it seems highly improbable that any pitcher will ever strike out more than 383 batters in a season.
6. Ed Walsh 467 innings pitched (1908)
Talking about innings thrown this number is just insane, but White Sox Hall-of Famer Ed Walsh threw 467 innings in 1908. You read that right four hundred sixty seven. It’s probably a good thing they did not have pitch counts in 1908. This record is definitely safe.
5. Jack Chesbro 51 games started (1904)
This is one of three single season pitching records that Jack Chesbro of the New York Highlanders set in 1904 and will never be broken.
Pitchers don’t even start 35 games in a season anymore. With six man rotations coming into existence, it seems likely that we’re heading towards pitchers starting no more than 30 games per season. The last pitcher to come close to breaking Chesbro’s record was Chicago White Sox knuckleballer Wilbur Wood who started 49 games in 1972. Continue reading