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Here are 5 Cubs franchise career records that are unbreakable

“Records are made to be broken,” goes the saying. These won’t be.

Ernie Banks in action in 1960
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

I suppose it should be said of sports records that all of them could be broken, theoretically, at one time or another.

Some of them, though, are going to stand forever, largely because the sorts of conditions under which they were set no longer exist. The games have changed, and thus I think some Cubs franchise records will stand forever.

Here are five Cubs career marks and why I think no one will challenge them going forward. In general, I’ve limited this to post-1900 (and mainly post-Deadball Era) players because the game, and counting stats, were so different back in the day.

Career home runs

Record holder: Sammy Sosa, 545

Why this won’t be broken: Excluding Sosa, there are 15 players in MLB history, through 2022, who have hit more than 545 home runs. Of those, here’s the list who have more than 545 for a single team: Henry Aaron (Braves, 733), Babe Ruth (Yankees, 659), Willie Mays (Giants, 646), Barry Bonds (Giants, 586), Harmon Killebrew (Twins, 559) and Mike Schmidt (Phillies, 548).

Those are among the greatest players of all time, and there are only six. With many great players seemingly moving around more frequently in free agency these days, I can’t see any player being with the Cubs long enough to break Sosa’s mark.

Career pitching wins

Record holder: Charlie Root, 201

Why this won’t be broken: The next player on the Cubs list who played after the Deadball Era (when pitchers routinely won 30 or more games in a season) is Fergie Jenkins with 167. After that it’s Rick Reuschel with 135 and Greg Maddux with 133. The active leader is Kyle Hendricks, who has 87 career wins. With individual pitcher wins being downplayed these days, unless Hendricks makes it, it’ll be a stretch to get any Cubs pitcher to 100 career wins, much less 200.

Career stolen bases

Record holder: Frank Chance, 402

Why this won’t be broken: The next non-19th Century player on the list is Ryne Sandberg, who had 344. The next player who played after the Deadball Era, when steals were much more emphasized than they are today, is Sosa, who had 181. The only active player among the top 50 in Cubs history is Javier Báez, who ranks tied for 45th with 76, and of course he’s not a Cub anymore.

Among current Cubs, the leaders are Ian Happ (37) and Nico Hoerner (28).

That record’s going to stand forever.

Career extra-base hits

Record holder: Ernie Banks, 1,009

Why this won’t be broken: Banks ranks 38th all-time with that XBH total. Here’s a list of all the players who have had more than 1,009 extra-base hits with a single team:

Aaron 1,429
Musial 1,377
Mays 1,289
Ortiz 1,192
Gehrig 1,190
Ruth 1,189
Yastrzemski 1,159
Cobb 1,136
Speaker 1,131
Brett 1,119
T. Williams 1,117
Ott 1,071
C. Jones 1,055
Schmidt 1,016
Biggio 1,014

Again, for the most part that’s a list of top-tier Hall of Famers, and of those 15, eight played their entire career with one team. That’s just not something that happens much these days. If some truly great player were to come to the Cubs in the future and spend 15-20 years with the team, I suppose it’s possible, but I’m going with “this one’s not gonna be broken.”

Career batting average (minimum 1,000 at-bats with the Cubs)

Record holder: Bill Madlock, .336

Why this won’t be broken: First, let’s be clear. Both Madlock and Riggs Stephenson, a Cubs star of the 1930s, are listed in the team record book as .336 hitters. Madlock’s Cubs BA, stretched out a couple more decimal places, is .33626 and Stephenson’s is .33592, so Madlock gets the top spot.

There is literally only one other Cub in modern times who has even a .300 BA: Bill Buckner. That ranks 19th on the club’s all-time list behind a bunch of 19th Century guys. For players whose careers with the Cubs are in the 21st Century, the BA leader is Derrek Lee at .298. That’s 21st all time for the franchise.

Ian Happ is the only current Cub with more than 1,000 career at-bats with the team. His lifetime BA is .249. Willson Contreras, before he left, posted a .256 BA in 2,481 at-bats.

Incidentally, Stephenson’s overall career BA is also listed as .336, since he hit pretty much the same in five years in Cleveland (.337) as he did with the Cubs. That ranks 26th all-time (minimum 3,000 at-bats).

This one’s gonna stand forever.

Tomorrow we’ll look at five Cubs single-season records I think will stand for all time.

Poll

Which of these five Cubs franchise career records is the most unbreakable?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Home runs (Sammy Sosa, 545)
    (138 votes)
  • 33%
    Pitching wins (Charlie Root, 201)
    (270 votes)
  • 20%
    Stolen bases (Frank Chance, 402)
    (162 votes)
  • 7%
    Extra-base hits (Ernie Banks, 1,009)
    (59 votes)
  • 21%
    Batting average (Bill Madlock, .336)
    (173 votes)
802 votes total Vote Now