Unbreakable?

Whether we want to witness it or not, Barry Bonds will, of course, surpass Hank Aaron and become the all-time home run king in the major leagues in the very near future. This comes just six years after the San Francisco slugger smacked 73 home runs in 2001 to become the single-season record-holder. There’s no denying that both of these accomplishments are quite impressive. However, neither were considered unattainable. Especially after Mark McGwire showed the world that we had entered the ster … err, home run era back in 1998.

And, if we’re lucky, Bonds’ new mark will be broken by Alex Rodriguez down the road. Again, certainly not out of the question. But what about those records that truly seem unbreakable? I’m talking about Joe Dimaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, set in 1941. I’m talking about a player hitting .400, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the great Ted Williams managed the mark (.406) during that same season.

John_olerud_autograph_1Though it didn’t last the entire season, John Olerud‘s run at .400 during the 1993 campaign had every Toronto Blue Jay fan watching intently. That season, Olerud had a .400 average as late as August 2, and finished with a franchise-record .363 mark to win the American League batting crown. Perhaps even more impressive was his .473 on-base percentage, which — to put into perspective — is 97 points higher than the current Blue Jay leader in that category (Troy Glaus, .376). Prior to the ’93 campaign, Roberto Alomar held the franchise record with a .405 on-base percentage, which he posted in 1992.

Again, just how impressive was Olerud’s .473? Aside from tainted sluggers Bonds and Jason Giambi, only Edgar Martinez (.479, 1995) and Wade Boggs (.476, 1988) have managed a higher mark over the last 46 years.

No Blue Jay came close to that mark until 2000, when Carlos Delgado enjoyed an MVP-calibre season for Toronto, and finished with an on-base percentage of .470. Among active players, that is the highest single-season mark ever (again, aside from the juicers). Of course, Delgado was a unique slugger who boasted much more power than Olerud. Still, he was walked intentionally just 18 times in 2000 compared to the 33 times that Olerud received in 1993.

After Delgado, the next-highest OBP ever posted by a Blue Jay is .427, accomplished by Tony Fernandez in 1999. So I ask: Will Olerud’s record ever be broken?

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