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Monday, October 8, 2001
Updated: October 10, 11:17 AM ET
Page 2's List: Greatest career records

Page 2 staff

Two weeks ago, Page 2 looked at the greatest single-season records in sports history. Now, we turn our attention to the most unattainable career records.

Check out our top 10 below, and then take a look at our readers' top 10 choices for the most impressive career mark.

Ty Cobb
Ty Cobb's lifetime average of .366 probably will never be matched.
(One note: For Page 2's list, we gave special weight to the records that seemed most unbreakable. That's why Hank Aaron's home-run record doesn't quite make our top 10 -- the Hammer's mark just might fall in the next decade.)

Here's Page 2's list:

1. Ty Cobb's .366 batting average
Nobody in the history of baseball has ever come close -- live-ball era, dead-ball era, Coors Field, even the 19th century with its quaint rules and lousy gloves. Rogers Hornsby is closest with a .358 average, and he hit over .400 three times.

2. John Wooden's 10 NCAA basketball titles
The three best college coaches of the past 30 years put together -- Bob Knight (three titles), Mike Krzyzewski (three) and Dean Smith (two) -- can't match the Wizard of Westwood's championship haul.

3. Cy Young's 511 wins
Nowadays, a workhorse pitching ace might get 32 or 33 starts in a season. To match Young's record, a pitcher would have to avoid injury and win every single start he got for 16 or 17 years in a row. Needless to say, this is not going to happen.

Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky owns the NHL record book.
4. Wayne Gretzky's 2,857 points
The Great One retired with the NHL records for both career goals (894) and career assists (1,963). Enough said.

5. Bill Russell's 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons
No player in any major sport has ever had a better championship run.

6. Jack Nicklaus' 18 major professional golf titles
Tiger Woods, as great as he is, isn't even halfway there yet.

7. Rickey Henderson's 1,395 stolen bases
That would be 457 more than Lou Brock who is second all-time. If Tim Raines (808) retires, it will leave Barry Bonds (484) as the active leader -- and he hasn't even hit 500 yet.

8. Jerry Rice's 19,483 career receiving yards
It's tough to pick out which of Rice's records is most impressive. His 190 career touchdowns are 34 ahead of Emmitt Smith. His 1,302 career receptions are 267 ahead of Cris Carter. But it's in receiving yards where Rice has the widest lead -- nearly 5,500 yards ahead of second-place James Lofton (14,004).

Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice continues to add to his numerous NFL career records.
9. Richard Petty's 200 NASCAR wins
They don't call him the King for nothing. Petty is 95 victories ahead of second-place David Pearson, the only other driver to top the century mark. The top active driver is Jeff Gordon with 58 wins.

10. Nolan Ryan's 5,714 strikeouts
Ryan has nearly 1,600 more punchouts than second-place Steve Carlton and is nearly 2,000 ahead of active leader Roger Clemens (3,717). He also threw seven no-hitters, another record that will probably never be challenged.

Honorable mention
Hank Aaron's 755 home runs, Rocky Marciano's 49-0 lifetime mark, Carl Lewis' nine Olympic gold medals in track & field, Dan Marino's 61,361 passing yards, Pete Maravich's 44.2 scoring average in college hoops, Pete Rose's 4,256 hits.