I’m not into tooting my own horn, but for the purposes of this column, I can acknowledge that I do have bona fides as an expert on sports endurance.
A few months ago I published a book titled “The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Baseball’s Most Historic Record.” Four-and-a-half years in the making, it studies baseball’s consecutive-game record from all angles. Ripken holds the record, probably forever, after playing in 2,632 straight games for the Orioles. That’s more than 16 seasons of games.
The book doesn’t get into Ironmen in other sports, but I’ve done many interviews while promoting it, and the question has arisen: How does Ripken’s feat stack up against those of endurance record-setters in other sports?
Brett Favre started 297 straight games at quarterback, mostly for the Green Bay Packers. His streak lasted more than 18 years, and it’s the NFL record — a feat that certainly compares with Ripken’s, especially when you consider Ripken’s opponents weren’t trying to take his head off.
Andrew Cogliano of the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks has played in 786 straight games, leaving him several years short of that sport’s record of 964 straight, held by Doug Jarvis, a retired player who never missed a game in his 13-year career. Impressive.
But now I’m hearing about a streak that, in my opinion, can’t possibly rank below any in terms of degree of difficulty – a streak that, coincidentally, will reach a major milestone Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, just across the parking lot from where Ripken played.
Joe Thomas, a 32-year-old tackle for the Cleveland Browns, has…
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