A Brief History
On May 1, 1991, two of major league baseball’s greatest players set records that had baseball fans buzzing.
The fleet footed Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics stole his 939th base, giving him the career lead as the all time base stealing champ. We also find on that same day Nolan Ryan pitching his 7th career no-hitter, giving him 3 more than any other pitcher in history.
Henderson went on to steal a career total of 1406 bases, a staggering 50% more than Lou Brock, the previous record holder who had stolen “only” 938 bases. Not a one dimensional player, Henderson retired with career records for most runs scored, most lead-off home runs, and most (unintentional) walks. The Man of Steal also holds the season record for stolen bases at 130.
One of the all time great players, Henderson was the 1990 MVP, had 3055 career hits, led the league in runs scored 5 times, was an All Star 10 times, and led the league in stolen bases 12 times. Actually, these are just some of his baseball accomplishments and this dynamic player was voted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Nolan Ryan is the best hard throwing pitcher in baseball history with an incredible career that started in 1966 and went until 1993, a total of 27 years! Known for throwing high velocity pitches (not always accurately) Ryan regularly pitched at 100 mph almost to the end of his career. Some of Ryan’s other accomplishments include winning 324 games, striking out 5714 batters (almost 900 more than the next best in baseball history), throwing a (tied with bob Feller) record 12 one hitters and 18 two hitters. He is also the only player in major league history to have his number retired by 3 (of the 4 he played for) teams. Leading the league in strikeouts 11 times and an All Star 8 times, it is no surprise that Ryan is in the Hall of Fame.
The real surprise is that Nolan Ryan was never selected as the Cy Young Award winner! Nor was he ever MVP. One accomplishment of Ryan’s: He struck out 7 father-son combinations in his career, something no other pitcher has ever done.
There have been plenty of good baseball players over the years, and impressive records are set every so often, but rarely are two such prestigious records set on the same day. Our hats are off to these fine ball players.
Question for students (and subscribers): What is the most impressive baseball record? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Major League Baseball. The Major League Baseball Ultimate Book of Records: An Official MLB Publication. FENN-M&S, 2013.