The 10 Most Impressive Streaks in Sports, Inspired by Harry Caray
Harry Caray was a legendary broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. He unfortunately passed away in 1998, but his legacy lives on thanks to the discovery of his diary, maintained during the 1970s. One of the most impressive streaks of all time was unearthed for everyone to enjoy: he attended at least one bar for 288 straight days, or 41 consecutive weeks in 1972.
Caray wouldn’t just visit one bar for a drink, though. He visited multiple bars and racked up quite the bill each day.
While this is clearly a streak of epic proportions, it got us thinking about what are some of the most impressive streaks in sports history. Here are our top-10:
10. Edwin Moses’ 122 straight wins on the track
There was no question which track & field event was Edwin Moses’ best. He ran the 400-meter hurdles and didn’t lose a single race for a decade (1977-87). To maintain a dominant level of speed for that long is a feat no track runner will ever come close to.
9. Orel Hershiser’s 59-inning scoreless streak
Keeping opposing hitters scoreless for 59 innings is impressive however a pitcher does it, but anyone who sniffs this record in the future won’t do it the way Orel Hershiser did. His first five starts resulted in complete game shutouts, followed by a 10-inning shutout performance after that. His streak ran into the ninth inning of his first postseason start in 1988, so he actually threw up goose eggs for 67 straight frames.
8. Boston Celtics’ eight-straight NBA titles
From 1958-66, the Boston Celtics were royalty in the NBA. We’ve talked about how the Miami Heat reaching four straight Finals is impressive. They would have to double that and win every time to equal the type of dominance Red Auerbach’s team had. It was a different time, though, as no free agency allowed this group to stay together.
7. UCLA men’s basketball 88-straight wins
In the history of men’s college basketball, seven teams have won the National Championship with a perfect season. John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins have two of those, coming in consecutive seasons. Top-ranked teams are always on upset alert in today’s game, and it’s become more common for “inferior” teams to take down one perceived as more dominant. The Bruins not wilting under pressure for approximately three years (1971-74) is unbelievable.
6. UConn women’s basketball 90-straight wins
Not to be outdone by UCLA, the UConn Lady Huskies have four undefeated seasons, all of which have come within the last 20 years. They’ve also grabbed nine National Championships in school history. This 90-game winning streak ran from 2008-10 and is more impressive than UCLA’s because of when it happened. UConn had to deal with 24-hour news outlets and social media covering their every move, yet head coach Geno Auriemma kept his team focused.
5. Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak
No major leaguer will be coming close to in the near future. It can be argued that hitting a baseball is one of the toughest things to do in sports, and Joe DiMaggio was one of the best at it. He set this record in 1941, and the closest anyone has come since was Pete Rose’s 44-game streak in 1978. The most recent run at this historic mark was Jimmy Rollin’s 38-game streak from 2005-06.
4. Jerry Rice’s 274-straight games with a catch
In the first two decades of Jerry Rice’s Hall of Fame NFL career, there wasn’t one game where he didn’t record a catch. That’s a testament to his ability to get open for his quarterback, but it’s not up to him to catch a pass until his signal-caller actually tosses it his way. Being on top of the depth chart with the San Francisco 49ers helped him get plenty of targets, but he still had to complete the plays.
3. Trinity College men’s squash 252-straight wins
The earlier college streaks we talked about are impressive in their own right, but this run by Trinity College is by far the longest in collegiate sports history. Teams tried to beat them for 14 years, but consistently came up short, while Trinity collected 13-straight National Championships.
2. Brett Favre’s 321 consecutive starts
Punter Jeff Feagles holds the NFL-record for consecutive games played at 352, but it’s safe to assume Brett Favre’s streak is more impressive. The legendary quarterback took plenty of punishment from opposing defenses during this run. Even when it looked unlikely he’d even be able to suit up on any given Sunday, he persevered and not only put on his uniform, but was the starter and had an impact. He started every game for the Green Bay Packers for 18 years.
1. Cal Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive games played
Records are made to be broken, but it’s hard to see how any big leaguer will ever come close to Cal Ripken’s incredible mark. The shortstop turned third baseman played through every bump and bruise for 16 years while playing for the Baltimore Orioles. His level of durability is something no player possesses in today’s game. Heading into 2013, Prince Fielder was the active leader with 505 consecutive games played. He’s out for the rest of 2014, so he’ll start from scratch in 2015.
Which streak is most impressive to you? Is there one you believe should be on the list? Let us know what you think.
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