The longest-standing MLB records have either been broken or will never be reached. For instance, Roger Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961, surpassing Babe Ruth’s long-standing record of 60. Maris remained the record holder until 1998, when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hammered their way into baseball’s record books. That home run chase, in particular, shows that numbers have become as important as winning titles. Here are some baseball records that were accomplished over an 80-year span.
Longest Standing MLB Records
From Williams To Bonds
On-Base Percentage (Single Season)
.553- Ted Williams (1941)
Broken By: Barry Bonds (.582) in 2002 (61 years)
Barry Bonds was untouchable from 2001 to 2004. He hit five home runs in the first four games of the 2002 season. He tied Lou Brock’s 35-year record for most home runs in four games. The slugger became the older player to win the NL batting title, hitting .370. Furthermore, Bonds had a .582 on-base percentage, topping the old mark of .553 Ted Williams in 1941. Bonds would break his record in 2004 with a .604 on-base percentage. Interestingly enough, Bonds out-hustled two other greats. Babe Ruth’s highest OBP was .545, whereas Hank Aaron’s highest was .410.
Rickey Does It Twice
Career Base on Balls
2,062- Babe Ruth (retired in 1935)
Broken by: Rickey Henderson (2,190) in 2001 (66 years)
Rickey Henderson is the greatest base-runner of all time. He holds the record for stolen bases, but he also owns a record once held by the Babe. Henderson, then of the San Diego Padres, surpassed Ruth as the all-time career leader in base on balls. Henderson would hold onto the record until Bonds surpassed him as the all-time leader in that statistic.
2,246- Ty Cobb (retired 1928)
Broken by: Rickey Henderson (2,295) in 2001 (73 years)
Henderson set yet another record on October 4, 2001. Ty Cobb held the record as the base-runner everyone knew he was. However, with Henderson’s speed, durability, and wisdom, he surpassed the Hall of Famer with the all-time runs record. With one out in the bottom of the third against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Henderson came into the batter’s box. After a 1-0 count, Henderson launched the ball over the left-field fence. It was his 2,99th hit, but most of all, it was his 2,246th career run. Henderson’s record remains as he finished his Hall of Fame career with 2,295 runs.
Barry and Ichiro
Base on Balls (Single Season)
170- Babe Ruth (1923)
Broken by: Barry Bonds (177) in 2001 (78 years)
It’s not surprising that pitchers intentionally walked Bonds 688 times in his career. In fact, the more a player walks, the higher their on-base percentage gets. But, he had a season for the ages in 2001. He broke Mark McGwire’s mark with 73 home runs. He removed two lines in the record book owned by Babe Ruth. First, Bonds walked 177, seven more than Ruth’s season total in 1923.
Slugging Percentage (Single Season)
.847- Babe Ruth (1920)
Broken by: Barry Bonds (.863) in 2001 (81 years)
Not only did Bonds break Ruth’s single-season base on ball record, but his slugging percentage as well. Bonds’ .863 slugging percentage was 16 points higher than Ruth’s in 1920.
Hits (Single Season)
257- George Sisler (1920)
Broken by: Ichiro Suzuki (259) in 2004 (84 years)
Firstly, Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak is one record of being the most untouchable. Secondly, what’s more unbreakable is Ichrio’s record of 262 hits in one season. Thirdly, and most importantly, Ichiro completed the feat in 2004, and given the recent trends of pitching, it’s hard to imagine anyone approaching that mark. The previous record, held by George Sisler, had 257 hits in 1920. The player who came close to reaching Sisler’s record was Billy Terry, who had 254 hits in 1930.
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