Iron man (sports streak)

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An iron man is an athlete of unusual physical endurance.[1][2] This durability is generally measured by an athlete's ability to play without missing a game and/or start for an extended period of time.[3][4][5][6][7] Some of the more notable athletes with significant streaks in sports history includes baseball's Cal Ripken, Jr.,[8] American football's Brett Favre,[9] basketball's A. C. Green,[10] ice hockey's Doug Jarvis,[11] and stock car racing's Ricky Rudd.[12]


In 1941, endurance by an athlete was recognized as an "iron man" by the press when Lou Gehrig had a streak of 2,130 consecutive games end when he had asked the manager to take him out of the line up due to his fading abilities. Gehrig had been a consistent performer on the field having attained a batting average of at least .300 throughout his career until the previous season when he had fallen to .295.[13] A common characteristic of an iron man is the ability to play through injury. Gehrig displayed this trait in 1934 when his streak was in jeopardy of being snapped at 1,427 games. He had been injured during a game and was pulled from the lineup. The next day, after receiving heat treatments and massages for a stiff back, he was able to get a hit before leaving the contest.[14][15] Gehrig's record stood for 62 years until surpassed by Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995.[16][17] After Ripken's record-breaking streak garnered attention from the media,[18] the NBA's A.C. Green received attention for his own streak of consecutive games played in 1997 as he was approaching Randy Smith's record.[19] Then in 1999, Brett Favre set the record for consecutive starts by a quarterback when he started his 117th consecutive game surpassing the mark established by Ron Jaworski.[20] In 2009, Favre would surpass Jim Marshall's starts streak at any position with his 271st consecutive start.[21]

Iron man leaderboard[edit]

League Player Streak Yrs Eq Held since Surpassed Streak Active pursuit Streak Notes
MLB Cal Ripken, Jr. 2,632 16.25 1995 Lou Gehrig 2,130 Hunter Pence 335 Games played[22][23][24][25]
MLB Cal Ripken, Jr. 8,264 5.67 1985 George Pinkney 5,152 Several players <1,450 Innings played[26]
NASCAR Ricky Rudd 788 25.00 2002 Terry Labonte 655 Jeff Gordon 725 Races started[12][27]
NBA A. C. Green 1,192 14.54 1997 Randy Smith 906 Omer Asik 233 Games played[10][22][28]
NFL Brett Favre 297 18.56 1999 Ron Jaworski 116 Eli Manning 151 Starts at the quarterback position[20][22]
NFL Brett Favre 297 18.56 2009 Jim Marshall 270 Eli Manning 151 Starts at any position[21][22]
NFL Jeff Feagles 352 22.00 2005 Jim Marshall 282 Shane Lechler 190 Games played[22][29][30]
NHL Doug Jarvis 964 11.76 1986 Garry Unger 914 Jay Bouwmeester 717 Games played[22][31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Merriam-Webster: Iron Man
  2. ^ Iron Man
  3. ^ Iron Man Competition: Brett Favre vs. Cal Ripken Jr. vs. A.C. Green
  4. ^ Iron man streak of playing games end for Detroit LT Jeff Backus on Thursday
  5. ^ Penguins Adams Suspended, Iron Man Streak Ends
  6. ^ Ryan Phillips' ironman streak appears in jeopardy
  7. ^ Rockets notes: Scola's iron man streak ends at 311
  8. ^ Ripken Ends Iron Man Streak
  9. ^ Battered Favre inactive, ironman streak ends at 297
  10. ^ a b Yearbook, Nov. 20: AC Green's record streak
  11. ^ How to be an NHL ironman like Doug Jarvis
  12. ^ a b Ricky Rudd Ironman 1:24 Scale Die-Cast Car
  14. ^ Lou Gehrig’s Streak Should Have Ended at Navin Field — Not Briggs Stadium
  15. ^ The Original Iron Man
  16. ^ Lou Gehrig breaks record by playing in his 1,308th straight game
  17. ^ Ripken breaks record for consecutive games played
  18. ^ Cal Ripken's 2131 night- A Record That Saved Baseball
  19. ^ Move over Cal Ripken. A.C. Green of the Mavericks
  20. ^ a b History Release: Iron Man
  21. ^ a b Favre runs iron-man streak to 271, breaks Marshall's record
  22. ^ a b c d e f Longest sports streaks
  23. ^ Ripken ends historic playing streak at 2,632 games
  24. ^ Prince Fielder set to play in 500th consecutive game
  25. ^ Hunter Pence 2014 Batting Game Log
  26. ^ Ripken’s Record for Consecutive Innings Played
  27. ^ Gordon's consecutive starts streak intact
  28. ^ And the active leader for consecutive regular season NBA games played is
  29. ^ Giants' Feagles sets consecutive games record
  30. ^ Giants punter Jeff Feagles retires after 22 seasons and record 352 consecutive games
  31. ^ Jarvis the Iron Man