Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Tom Jones' Two Cents: Records that should stand forever

tom jones' two cents

Last week, the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera became the first major-leaguer to win the Triple Crown (the league leader in batting average, home runs and RBIs) since the Red Sox's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

Nothing against Cabrera, but I was sad to see him to do it. There was always something cool about saying Yastrzemski was the last player to hit for the Triple Crown. Maybe it was the nickname of Yaz, maybe it was because it was so long ago. Whatever the reason, it became one of those marks that was ingrained in the minds of sports fans.

The same applies to another record that likely will fall. The Saints' Drew Brees needs a touchdown pass today to break Johnny Unitas' record of 47 consecutive games with a TD pass. Again, I liked that Unitas held this mark because he did it at a time (1956-60) when the league wasn't quite as pass happy as today. His record withstood challenges from some of the greatest quarterbacks ever such as Joe Montana, John Elway and Dan Marino. It doesn't feel right that Brees will break the record because of how much teams throw the ball today and how the game has changed to help the offense.

It is said that records are made to be broken, but here are other records, marks and milestones I'd rather not see broken or matched.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA career scoring record

No one scored more NBA points than Abdul-Jabbar, who poured in 38,387 from 1969-89 with the Bucks and Lakers. Why is this on the list? Because Abdul-Jabbar is one of the coolest, smartest and most interesting people on the planet. I want him to hold the record forever instead of someone like LeBron James getting it.

Horse racing's Triple Crown

The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and Belmont — horse racing's Triple Crown — was Affirmed in 1978. He was the 11th horse to do it and, at the time, the third horse in six years. Since then, 12 horses have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown but failed to win the Belmont. That includes I'll Have Another, who was pulled from the Belmont last year because of injury.

Just like baseball's Triple Crown, the length of time since horse racing's last Triple Crown winner has made it, as well as Affirmed, even more special. Isn't it more fun to say that no one has won the Triple Crown since 1978 than to say the last Triple Crown winner was last year?

The Cubs' World Series drought

The good people of Chicago won't agree with this, of course, but there is something sort of romantic for the rest of us baseball fans that the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908 and haven't even been in the Fall Classic since 1945. We all have a soft spot for the "Lovable Losers.'' But if they won, they wouldn't be losers anymore. And they wouldn't be lovable.

The Bucs' 26-game losing streak

At the time, it was embarrassing. But looking back now, the Bucs' 0-26 start as a franchise is kind of endearing, isn't it? Sometimes you're remembered for futility. But at least you're remembered. This record is our record. That's what I dig about it.

Miami Dolphins' perfect season

The 1972 Dolphins remain the only team to go through an entire NFL regular season and postseason without a loss or tie. They went 14-0 in the regular season, won two playoff games and the Super Bowl and finished 17-0. The 2007 Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season, won two playoff games but lost Super Bowl XLII to the Giants to finish 18-1.

Actually, those left from that '72 Dolphins team get a little annoying by popping champagne or bragging every year after the last undefeated team loses. It's even more annoying when you look back at how weak the Dolphins schedule was in 1972.

Nevertheless, it's a lot better when you have something in sports that has been done only once, and the Dolphins' perfect season remains the only one on record.

Jack Nicklaus' 18 major victories

For my money, Nicklaus remains the greatest golfer who ever lived. He played in an era of great competition and his 18 major victories are remarkable. For those not old enough to remember the Golden Bear in his prime, think about how good Tiger Woods has been, and Woods still has four fewer majors than Nicklaus. What's even more stunning is Nicklaus finished runnerup in majors 19 times. Anyone who came close to winning 37 majors deserves to keep the all-time record.

Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak

There are certain numbers in sports, especially baseball, that are just special. The number 56 is one of them. Ask any baseball fan what the number "56'' means, and he'll say DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak for the Yankees in 1941. Let's keep that number special.

NFL's longest field goal

Football doesn't have special numbers like baseball, where you just say the number and everyone knows what you're talking about: You have 511 (Cy Young victories), 714 (Babe Ruth's career homers), 56 (DiMaggio's hit streak) and so forth.

The NFL, however, does have one in 63. That's the magic number of the longest field goal in league history. Just last month, 49ers kicker David Akers, above, became the fourth player to boom a 63-yard field goal, joining Oakland's Sebastian Janikowski in 2011, Denver's Jason Elam in 1998 and New Orleans' Tom Dempsey in 1970.

Actually, I wish Dempsey, who was born with only a half a right foot (the same foot he kicked with), held the record by himself because he held it alone for 28 years. At least he still shares the record.

A list of records, marks and milestones that I hope are broken

• Pete Rose's all-time hit record just so we don't have to listen to Rose apologists say, "Baseball's all-time hit king (boo-hoo) is not in the Hall of Fame.''

Barry Bonds' all-time and single-season home run records, as long as the guy who breaks those records is drug free.

A .400 hitter in baseball. We haven't had anyone since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. With relief pitching, shifts and scouting reports, it's unlikely we'll ever see someone even come close to .400 again. Because it's so hard, that's what makes it worth seeing again.

Michael Strahan's record of 22½ sacks set in 2001. It's such a fishy record because it looked as if then-Packers QB Brett Favre laid down to give Strahan the record.

     
     
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