In baseball, pitching means the act of throwing the ball toward the home plate, and beginning a play. Originally started as a move in which the ball had to be literally pitched underhand, and the use of underhand throws came later in 1884. Some of the greatest pitchers have been seen in the Major League Basketball, the oldest of the four major baseball professional sports leagues in the US and Canada, and the baseball fans of the North American countries also wait with bated breaths for this league to start. And, there are many unbreakable records of pitching exist that are unbelievable.
Unbreakable Records of Pitching in Major League Baseball
Pitchers are among the favorites, and they have created some mind-blowing records in the league. And now, let us take a look at the Unbreakable Records of Pitching in Major League Baseball.
Most career wins – 511
The record for the most career wins, one of the most remarkable of the unbreakable records of pitching in Major League Baseball, belongs to Cy Young, during his career as a baseball player from 1890 to 1911, which includes five 30-win seasons and fifteen 20-win seasons. He was closely followed by Walter Johnson, who was 94 wins behind, at 417, and was the only other player to reach 400. Besides, the player with his entire career playing in the post-1920 live-ball era to have the highest number of wins is Warren Spahn, with 363 wins.
For any player to just get to the ‘500’ mark, he would have to achieve an average of 25 wins in 20 seasons. In the last 33 years, only three players have managed to finish a single season with 25 wins: Ron Guidry in 1978, Bob Welch in 1990, and Steve Stone in 1980. The Major League pitching leaders between 2000 and 2009 have all been noticed to finish their tears with an average of 21 wins or above. Besides, as of the end of the 2019 season, Tim Hudson with 214 wins is the winningest active pitcher is the 39-year-old.
Most wins in a season – 59
In 1884, Old Hoss Radbourn set one of the most astounding of the unbreakable records of pitching in Major League Baseball, i.e. the most wins in a season, with 59 wins. In the current scenario, most pitchers manage to start 30-35 games per season, and hence do not get the opportunity to break this record, as they do not start enough number of games to do that. Even if a pitcher gets to start every game started, in the current scenario, he would still start about 25 games less, and hence be 25 wins short of reaching Radbourn’s record.
Relief pitchers often appear in more than the necessary number of games, but they hardly acquire 10 wins in a season. Denny McLain won 30 games in a season as the last pitcher, way back in 1968. Bob Welch then achieved 25 wins in a single season in 1990. Besides, the most number of wins in a single season in the 21st century, 24, achieved by Randy Johnson in 2002 and Justin Verlander in 2011. Other players have only been able to win 22 games at best.
Most career complete games – 749
Another amazing record, which also belongs to the list of unbreakable records of pitching in Major League Baseball, held by Cy Young during his career from 1890 to 1911. Nine 40-complete-game seasons, eighteen 30-complete-game seasons and completing 92 percent of his total career starts at 815 are some of the highlights of the record. Close behind him is Pud Galvin, who, at 646, has 103 fewer complete games.
Among pitcher with their entire baseball careers in the live-ball era, Warren Spahn has the highest complete games with 382 of them. In order to achieve this, a player would have to gain an average of 30 complete games over 25 seasons, to reach 750. From 2000 to 2009, The Major League leaders have had an average of 8 complete games, with James Shields, who had 11 complete games in 2011, as the only player in the 21st century to have 10 complete games. Among the active players, CC Sabathia with 37 complete games, has the highest career complete games so far.
Most career shutouts – 110
Walter Johnson, during his career between 1907 and 1927, set one of the most extraordinary of unbreakable records of pitching in Major League Baseball, with the most career shutouts at 110. Eleven 6-shutout seasons and leading the league in shutouts 7 times are the highlights of his record. Close behind him is Grover Cleveland Alexander, with 20 fewer shutouts at 90. And at 63, Warren Spahn holds the record among pitchers with careers entirely in the live-ball era.
To reach Johnson’s record, a pitcher would have to pitch 5 shutouts every season for 22 years. Between 2000 and 2009 the Major League leaders in shutouts finished the year with an average of 4. Besides, the player with an active career to reach closest is Tim Hudson, with 13.
Most consecutive no-hitters – 2
Johnny Vander Meer set the highest record for the most consecutive no-hitters, with 2 of them on June 11 and 15, 1938. He thus set one of the most incredible ones among the unbreakable records of pitching in Major League Baseball. Even though he held this record, his career came to an end with a 119–121 win-loss record. The prospect of any pitcher breaking this record in the future by hurling three consecutive no-hitters is so unthinkable that it has been described by LIFE as “the most unbreakable of all baseball records.”
After eight no-hitter innings, Ewell Blackwell came the closest to matching Meer’s record, with one no-hitter in 1947. In 1988, Toronto Blue Jays’ Dave Stieb had a streak of consecutive no-hitters with two outs in the ninth. Besides, 20 no-hitters were recorded between 2000 and 2009, and in the 21st century, the closest anyone came is R.A. Dickey, who threw two consecutive one-hitters in 2012.
Most career strikeouts – 5,714
Nolan Ryan created another of the greatest unbreakable records of pitching in Major League Baseball. It was a record for the most career strikeouts, as he achieved 5714 of them in his career between 1966 and 93, with six 300-strikeout seasons, fifteen 200-strikeout seasons, and leading the league in strikeouts 11 times being the most important highlights of his career. Besides, he accomplished this record while playing the most seasons, i.e. 27 seasons, in MLB history. The player closest to him is Randy Johnson, who, at 4,875, has 839 fewer strikeouts. He is also the last pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season, and he achieved this in 4 straight seasons from 1999 to 2002).
To match Ryan’s record, a pitcher would have to average 225 strikeouts over 25 seasons, and even then, he would only get to 5,625. At an average of 250 strikeouts over 23 seasons, he can surpass the record with 5,750. Between 2000 and 2009, he also became the MLB leaders in strikeouts finished every season with an average of 287. But this is a skewed average, with Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez making large strikeout seasons by early in the decade. Since 2004, Yu Darvish has been the only player to exceed 270 strikeouts, with 277 in 2013. Of the active players, the pitcher who has come closest is Sabathia, with 2,437 strikeouts.
Most career saves – 652
Mariano Rivera, during his career between 1995 and 2013, set the record for the most career saves with 652 saves. And with that, he also set one of the most stunning of the unbreakable records of pitching in Major League Baseball. He has 15 consecutive seasons with 25 or more saves. Besides, he has 9 consecutive seasons with 30 or more saves and 15 seasons with 30 or more saves. In fact, all three of these are MLB records. The second one in the list is After Trevor Hoffman, who retired with 601 career saves, and Lee Smith with 478 saves.
To match Rivera’s record, a player needs to earn an average of 35 saves for 17 consecutive seasons, and he would still just to get to 595 saves, while 40 saves for 15 consecutive years would help to reach 600. As of the end of the 2014 season, the active player who has reached the closest is Joe Nathan, with 375 saves, and is 277 saves short of reaching the record.
These records are considered unreachable, as they are quite understandably hard to attain. Besides, players have created precious moments in the league when they created these records. While baseball lovers hold these moments dear, young players consider them inspirations to do better. So these were the topmost unbreakable pitching records in Major League Baseball. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments down below.