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NEWS | July 31, 2009

The 10 most unbreakable records in sports(pt. 4)

By Airman 1st Class Patrick McKenna Capital Flyer sports writer

Editor's Note: This article is the fourth of a five part series counting down the 10 most unbreakable records in sports from 10 to 1.

#4 Joe Dimaggio's 56 game hitting streak - Joe Dimaggio's 56 game hitting streak is one of the most magical numbers in sports. Unlike the other records on this list, there was no "next day" for Dimaggio. If he had a bad night at the plate, he couldn't make up for it the next game like any other record. Each and every game was an obstacle that needed to be overcome.

Dimaggio is one of the greatest hitters to ever step on a baseball diamond, but if anyone is going to break his record, they'll have to deal with certain factors that Dimaggio didn't encounter.

The first being that bullpens are a lot more powerful weapon then they were in 1941. Dimaggio could typically count on facing the same pitcher three or four times in a game, which had to aid Dimaggio more than the poor hurler on the mound. Nowadays, it seems every bullpen has a left-handed specialist, a ground ball pitcher and a flamethrower at its disposal. Just when a batter thinks he has a read on the starter he's faced twice, the opposing team decides to bring in a reliever who can touch triple digits for his third at bat and then a closer with a filthy change up for his last at bat. Talk about tough.

Secondly, the pressure. The days are long gone when all a player had to do to avoid hearing about their streak was avoid the sports page in the local paper. In this day and age of ESPN, sports radio and the internet a player can't get a away from the hysteria that inevitably builds with a hitting streak of more than 25 games.

The closest anyone has gotten to Dimaggio's record was Pete Rose who made it to 44 straight games in 1978. A hitting streak like Dimaggio's, or even Rose's, takes more than just skill. It takes thick skin and a little luck as well. That combination came together at the right time for Dimaggio. I don't see any player being that fortunate again.

#3 Pete Rose's 4,256 career hits - Nobody is saying Pete Rose was a choir boy, but despite his transgressions during his managerial career, his career hits record was one of the records I knew would be on my list, and the top baseball record at that.

Not to be "A1C Obvious," but in order for a player to even reach 4,000 hits (something only Rose and Ty Cobb have done) they'd have to average 200 hits a year for 20 years. Saying the numbers out loud really helped convince me there was no baseball record that could be listed above Rose's mark.

To play 20 years is one thing. Baseball players certainly have a better shot to do it than football or basketball players. But to play 20 years at a high enough level where your manager is still giving you consistent at bats is a different story. That's the "edge" that Rose had that no player will be able to match.

Not to take anything away from Rose, but let's just say he had a much easier time finding at bats late in his career than any other would have. That's because in his final two seasons, Rose was the player-manager for the Cincinnati Reds. Let's be honest, can you blame the guy for throwing himself in the lineup with Ty Cobb in his sights?

Sure enough, he battled through those last two years, past Cobb, and secured himself at the top of the career hits list forever.

The series will continue next week with #2 and #1.