A Dozen Numbers You Need to Know

By: Austin Alexander-February 3, 2006 

More than any other sport, baseball and its storied history are about the game’s statistics. A player’s mettle is often measured by his batting average, homerun totals or his earned run average. Using stats have become an easier way to compare generations of players and debate “who’s really the best.”

While I tend to be more of a baseball historian than the casual observer, I still believe there are certain numbers that are synonymous with the game itself.

Below are twelve numbers you need to know:

12) 59-Orel Hershiser’s consecutive scoreless innings streak in 1988. He broke the 20-year old record of fellow Dodger Don Drysdale, he posted zeroes in 58 straight.

11) 130-Rickey Henderson’s single season record for stolen base accomplished in 1982. He passed Lou Brock’s previous record of 118. Henderson went on to run past Brock’s all-time mark of 938 as well. Henderson retired (we think he’s done) with 1,406. Henderson also holds the MLB record for runs scored and walks in a career.

10) 1.12-Bob Gibson’s ERA in 1968, still remains a single-season low. As an aside, this was the year the pitching mound was raised from 12 to 15 inches. In 1968, Carl Yastrzemski won the AL batting crown with a record-low .301 batting average and Denny McClain won 31 games, the last time a pitcher eclipsed the 30-win mark in a season.

9) 73-Barry Bonds homerun total in 2001. Bonds broke the record that Mark McGwire had had set three years before. In 1998, McGwire blew past Roger Maris’ 61 dingers hit in 1961.

8) 511-Cy Young’s career win total. Number two on this list is Walter Johnson’s 416 wins. As a comparison, Roger Clemens presently has 341 victories in his 22 seasons. Young also holds the record for losses in a career, 313.

7) 7-Nolan Ryan’s final tally of no-hitters. Ironically the final no-no of his career was at the age of 44. Ryan also had 13 one-hitters. Sandy Koufax comes in second in this category with four no-hitters, Ryan passed him in 1981.

6) .406-Ted Williams’ batting average in 1941. Williams is the last person to hit over .400, Tony Gwynn has come the closest hitting .394 during the strike-shortened 1994 season.

5) 4,256-Pete Rose’s record number of hits in a career. He surpassed Ty Cobb’s total of 4,191 in 1985, a mark that stood for 57 years.

4) 42-Jackie Robinson’s uniform number. Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 and had his number retired by all of professional baseball in 1997.

3) 2,632-Cal Ripken’s consecutive game streak. Ripken did not miss a game from 1982-1999, breaking Lou Gehrig’s mark of 2,130 in 1995. Gehrig’s record stood for 56 years.

2) 56-Joe DiMaggio’s consecutive game hitting streak in 1941. Of note, after having the streak snapped in Cleveland, Joltin’ Joe went on to hit in 16 more games in a row. In the minor leagues, he pieced together a 61-game hitting streak as a member of the San Francisco Seals. Pete Rose has come the closest, 44 games in 1978. Jimmy Rollins will open 2006 in pursuit of this record, he is sitting on 36.

1) 755-Hank Aaron’s record total of homerun’s in a career. He passed the immortal Babe Ruth with number 715 in 1974. Barry Bonds is closing in on baseball’s most sacred record, he presently has 708.

Bonus: For those of you wondering how many of these facts are inaccurate, the last number you need to know…ZERO!