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Readers' List: Greatest single-season record
From the Page 2 mailbag
On Monday, Page 2 ran its list of the greatest single-season records by individuals in sports history. We asked for your take, and you filled our mailbag with plenty of choices.
1. Wilt Chamberlain's 50.4 scoring average, 1962 (97 letters)
I gotta go with Wilt's 50.4 average. This average just speaks volumes about the man as a basketball player. It shows how much he dominated the game. Say what you will about Michael Jordan, no player could dominate a game like Chamberlain could. Perhaps he couldn't average 50.4 points in today's game. I doubt it -- the level of play is just so much better all around than in Wilt's day, but that's what makes it so much more amazing. For someone to be that much better than the players who were still the best in the world at their sport is absolutely amazing. One day, there will be another Jordan. However, as with Babe Ruth in baseball, basketball will never see another Wilt Chamberlain.
Prague, Czech Republic
Fifty is a ridiculous amount for a player to score in a game, but average it for a whole season? C'mon folks!Big Mac's record is impressive, but parks are smaller these days (or so I hear), and let's not forget the andro (he probably could've hit 70 without them, but still ...). And let's not forget that Barry Bonds is cruising along and might even break that record. But Wilt's single-season scoring average will stay for a long, long time.
2. Oscar Robertson averages triple-double, 1961-62 (57 letters)
Portland, Ore. How can a man average a triple double- 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game for an entire season and be left off the list. These days, we get excited if a player averages double double or almost has a triple double.
State College, Pa.
3. Wayne Gretzky's 215 points, 1985-86 (54 letters)
Me being a guy who's only been into hockey for a few years now, that just blows my mind. No one even comes close, and it's not like the game was dramatically different then, as is the case with many of the other records.
Dallas It's hard to decide which of Wayne Gretzky's records are the most impressive, but I'll say the 215 points. It's not so much that he put up higher numbers than anyone ever had, he put up numbers that no one thought were even possible.
No contest. Wayne Gretzky upped the prior record of 76 held by Phil Esposito by 21 percent whereas McGwire beat Maris' 61 by 15 percent. On top of that in 1998 when McGwire hit 70, he beat the next player, Sosa, by four homers or 6 percent. The next closest player to Gretzky in '81-82 was Mike Bossy with 64 goals, Gretzky manhandled him by 44 percent! Finally, McGwire's 70 is in serious jeopardy only three years after he set it. Gretzky's goals record hasn't been remotely challenged since Brett Hull had 86 in 1991. Sorry, Big Mac, the Great One is the king of the single-season record.
Calgary, Alberta It would have to be Great One's 92 goals in one season. Look at the home run race, it is as if every year someone is in contention to break it. A true record must be untouchable to anyone, and looking at the NHL, it is lucky to be a 50-goal scorer. Also, Wilt Chamberlain's average of 50.4 points a game should not be above Gretzky because of the talent he played against. Most of the centers Wilt played against were so much smaller than he was that he could just turn around and dunk on them at will. Yes, there were some great centers, such as Bill Russell, but come on, Gretzky was playing against the elite hockey players of NHL history. Super Mario in his prime, Mark Messier in his prime, Steve Yzerman and the list goes on. The record should be held by someone who is so far above and beyond the greatest player in his sport that it can't be disputed, and that man is Gretzky. His 92 goals will never be touched and is the single most impressive achievement in sports history.
5. Mark McGwire's 70 home runs, 1998 (34 letters)
Home Run King because chicks dig the long ball.
6. Rogers Hornsby's .424 batting average (28 letters)
Rogers Hornsby's .424 batting average in 1924 is absolutely ridiculous. Even in today's era of the live ball, no one can hit for such a high average. Sixty-one was the magical home run record. That was broken three years ago and it might be broken again this year. But .424? I'm only 20, and I don't think that I'll see that record fall in my lifetime.
7. Jack Chesbro's 41 wins, 1904 (27 letters)
The record that I think will never be broken is 41 wins in a season by Jack Chesbro in 1904. Today's pitchers don't even start 41 games, let alone win 41. The fact that there hasn't been a 30-game winner since 1968 even further proves my point. With five-man rotations and an emphasis on the bullpen, this record won't be in danger of being broken ever.
8. Hack Wilson's 191 RBI, 1930 (21 letters)
There have been hundreds of sluggers and power hitters since Hack, and no one has come even remotely close to breathing in the direction of this record. Why? Because the level of consistency required borders on almost superhuman. The man averaged well more than an RBI per game. Guess what? It'll be there for the lifetime of my children and my children's children. Period!
College Park, Md.
9. Rickey Henderson's 130 steals (14 letters)
Nobody will ever duplicate the Man of Steal's 130 stolen bases. Now players are leading the league in steals if they reach the 50 mark. That shows you the dominance Rickey Henderson showed on the basepaths in 1982. If I could pick a record that would never be broken; this would have to be the one.
10. Dan Marino's 48 touchdown passes, 1984 (13 letters)
Paul Hornung's 176 NFL points scored in 1960; Nolan Ryan's 383 strikeouts in 1973; George Sisler's 257 hits in 1920; Barry Sanders' NCAA 2,628 rushing yards in 1988; Tiger Woods' three golf majors in 2000
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