10 Obscure Sports Streaks Even More Impressive Than UConn’s Winning Run
In recent decades, women’s college basketball has been dominated by two teams: Pat Summitt’s Tennessee Lady Vols and Geno Auriemma’s Connecticut Huskies. (By the time Summitt retired due to Alzheimer’s in 2012, she had won eight national titles and Auriemma had won seven.)
Now, the court belongs to UConn alone. Seriously, they own it.
UConn is currently going for its fifth straight national title and has won an unprecedented 107 straight games and counting. In honor of this remarkable feat, RCL is highlighting some other streaks that don’t get the attention of DiMaggio or Ripken/Gehrig, but are no less stunning.
87 straight fights without a draw or loss. Yes, Julio Cesar Chavez could have retired a ridiculous 87-0, but wouldn’t give up the sport. He ended his career with a record of 107-6-2 with 86 knockouts, making Floyd Mayweather’s 49-0 with 26 KOs seem pretty amateurish by comparison.
Eight straight NHL MVPs in first eight seasons. Not only does a player have to be the best for eight straight years, but he has to get sportswriters to acknowledge it. (Arguably, Michael Jordan missed out at least one award just because reporters got sick of writing down his name all the time and swapped in Karl Malone.) Yet Wayne Gretzky would not be denied: The Great One won seven scoring titles and four Stanley Cups during the first eight years of his career to earn the honors fully. And after Mario Lemieux finally broke the streak, Gretzky added another MVP the next season.
122 straight races won. In 1977, Edwin Moses started a run of victories in the 400-meter hurdles. In 1987, the streak finally came to a close after nearly a decade during which he went for gold at the Olympics, World Championships, IAAF World Cup, Goodwill Games, and anywhere else he felt like running.
23 straight Grand Slam semifinals. That adds up to making the final four at four different tennis tournaments on three different surfaces for nearly six straight years. (Just playing 23 consecutive Grand Slams is brutal.) Roger Federer obliterated the previous record of 10 and highlighted his dominance by winning 14 titles during this stretch.
17 straight years with a Grand Slam title. In 1974, Martina Navratilova won the mixed doubles title at the French Open at just 17. In 1990, she won the singles title at Wimbledon and doubles at the U.S Open. That would conclude a streak that saw her collect at least one Grand Slam title each year in singles, doubles, or mixed doubles. Her totals in those respective categories during the run: 18, 31, and 6 respectively for a total of 55. Navratilova has since added four more Grand Slam titles, the last one in 2006, which she won at the age of 49.
16 straight World Cup quarterfinals. Since 1954, Germany has won four World Cups. Equally impressively, each tournament they’ve managed to make at least the final eight. (Something much of the rest of the globe would be grateful to do just once.) As defending champs, Die Mannschaft seem set to push this streak to 17 come 2018.
Nine straight decades with at least one Stanley Cup. From the 1910s through the 1990s, the Montreal Canadiens took at least one title a decade, collecting 24 in total in a remarkable show of consistent excellence. Quite simply, the Habs can look back and say, “Yep, it was a good century.” The 21st Century, however, has been less kind to Montreal fans.
321 straight NFL starts. That’s 297 in the regular season and 24 in the playoffs over nearly 19 seasons, as Brett Favre literally shrugged off being slammed to the turf thousands of times. (He was sacked a record 525 times in the regular season and 36 more in the playoffs over that span.) Other quarterbacks may break Favre’s passing records but it’s going to be a while before any player approaches this. Currently the closest pursuer is Eli Manning, who at age 36 trails by over 100 starts, meaning he can’t equal the mark until sometime in his early 40s.
19 straight seasons with at least 25 complete games. Let’s be clear: This record is beyond unbreakable. Baseball has become so dependent on relievers that in the current millennium only one pitcher has managed to complete as many as 11 games in a year. Yet even in Cy Young’s time, it was absurd. Over his career, lasting from 1890 to 1911 (the streak itself ran from 1891 to 1909), Young threw a record total of 749 complete games. That’s over 100 more than the runner-up. No wonder they named a trophy after him.
Two straight no-hitters. Theoretically, this record can be tied (or broken) by any pitcher today: all it takes is a couple great games. Of course, a lot of pitchers go their entire lives without tossing a no-hitter. Johnny Vander Meer did it in consecutive starts in 1938, ensuring himself sports immortality in less than a week.
—Sean Cunningham for RealClearLife