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Readers' List: Greatest streaks by individuals
From the Page 2 mailbag
On Monday, Page 2 offered its list of the greatest streaks by individuals in sports history. We asked for your take, and you filled our mailbag with plenty of choices.
1. Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak (99 letters)
Forgotten about this streak is the fact that were it not for some bad luck in game 57, the streak would be 75 games (for perspective on how far ahead of Pete Rose's second-best total he then would've been, imagine Hank Aaron's closest competitor hitting just 443 home runs). Regardless, this record will never, ever be touched.
Notre Dame, Ind. DiMaggio's 56. This unparalleled feat created the need for a word like "streak." Previously, it had just been called doing something a lot.
2. Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,632 straight games played (68 letters)
Enter a conversation by talking about "The Streak," and all listeners know that you are talking about Cal Ripken, Jr. I will never again say "a record that will never be broken," but it will take quite some time before it is. I can't fathom how there could be a list without "the Streak" coming in at No. 1.
College Park, Md. I was born in 1980. I grew up watching the O's. Ripken was always there and always the heart of the team. Never took a day off and always played. I remember when he broke the record. I've never seen a base game stop like it did for him, or any other sporting event for that matter. This streak was never suppose to be broken and now he smashed the record. I don't know the nearest player to the record currently, but I know they are at least 10 years away from even coming close. Most of the other records you have can be done within a matter of a season or two. This record took over 15 years to build.
3. Brett Favre's 146-plus consecutive games started at QB (66 letters)
How could you possibly forget Brett Favre's 146 (and counting) consecutive games started by a quarterback? To honor Ripken is understandable, but Favre's accomplishment is equally noteworthy. Ripken extended Gehrig's streak by 23.6 percent (2,130 to 2,632), while Favre has extended ESPN's Ron Jaworski's former record by 25.9 percent (110 to 146+). To not even give Favre an honorable mention is shameful at best, insane at worst.
Bradenton, Fla. What about Brett Favre's streak of consecutive games started by a quarterback? Here in Buffalo we are lucky if Rob Johnson can finish a game, let alone a season. Favre's streak is amazing considering the abuse quarterbacks take nowadays. This streak serves testament to not only Farve's durability and toughness but to his will to win under any circumstances.
4. Johnny Vander Meer's two straight no-hitters (39 letters)
Far and away the greatest individual streak -- hardest to break and most enduring -- is also the shortest. Johnny Vander Meer's two consecutive no-hitters stands alone as not only the most difficult to tie, but the most astronomically impossible to break. I cannot believe that Page 2 does not even give it a mention. Even DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak would be considerably more easily broken than Vander Meer's.
Cincinnati It's got to be Johnny Vander Meer's double no-hitter. Just tying it seems impossible, but to break it would require three straight no-hitters. Short of Sidd Finch's comeback, that ain't ever gonna happen!
King of Prussia, Pa.
5. Alexei Karelin's 13-year winning streak (30 letters)
East Islip, N.Y.
6. Orel Hershiser's 59 consecutive scoreless innings (27 letters)
Orel Hershiser's scoreless-innings streak deserves more than an honorable mention. There is probably no other feat by a pitcher that so perfectly combines durability with the time-honored virtue of getting the job done. When a pitcher walks to the mound each inning, foremost among his goals is to allow no runs. Other pitching achievements are nice, but never supersede this task. Now imagine succeeding at your main task 59 times in a row. Where else in baseball has that been done?
7. Johnny Unitas' 47 straight games throwing a TD pass (18 letters)
Johnny Unitas' streak of 47 straight games with a TD has to be the top choice. Nowadays, with the exception of Brett Favre, QB's don't even play 47 straight games. In addition, Unitas' 47 games is 36 percent higher than his nearest competitor, while Joe D's 56 games in a row is only 21 percent above Pete Rose's 44-game streak. You would think that with all the innovations in pass offense, rule changes and the absolute increase in passing attempts that someone would threaten the Legend that is Johnny U, but no one has. This record will stand for a while.
8. Byron Nelson's 11 straight golf tournament wins (16 letters)
9. Glenn Hall's 506 straight games played (15 letters)
Without a doubt, Glenn Hall's streak of games played at goalie. To play sports' most difficult position every night for 506 straight games, no substitutions, no night off, all without a mask, like Hall did it, is by far the greatest sports streak of all time.
10. Edwin Moses' 122 400-meter hurdle wins (12 letters)
Edwin Moses has the greatest streak by an individual. To win that many consecutive times at any track event against the best in the world (not just the U.S. or North Americans) is incredible. To do it in hurdling -- where there are so many things that can go wrong -- is otherwordly. An example: Angelo Taylor, the Olympic champion in 2000, could not even make the finals in the 2001 World Championships. All of this was done in one of the tougher eras of the sport against the best the world had to offer. DiMaggio's record was achieved when many of the best players were not allowed to compete because of the color of their skin, and the game wasn't international at all. Chamberlain played against 6-6 guys who couldn't jump, and Nelson played against the four other guys who had nothing better to do in 1945 than play golf. Moses took on all comers and his best of 47.02 still ranks as second of all time. That's not simply luck, persistence, having some good teammates, or being the product of a hype machine. That is consistent transcendent performance.
Honorable mention (six or more):
Tiger Woods' four straight pro grand slam titles, Barry Sanders' 14 straight NFL games of 100 or more yards rushing, Wayne Gretzky's 51-game pointsn streak, Jim Marshall's 282 consecutive NFL games played
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