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Made to Be Broken: The 50 Greatest Records and Streaks in Sports Hardcover – September 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

As Barry Bonds nears breaking Hank Aaron's career home-run record, this gloriously illustrated account of the 50 greatest sports records and streaks will be even more relevant. St. John, a sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal, ranks Hammerin' Hank's amazing 755 home runs (the last came in 1974) as number 1 on the list. St. John also captures all the elements of that moment, including the ugly racist attacks Aaron endured. The treatment of all the milestones is equally compelling, from Jerry Rice's 197 touchdown passes (number 2) through Cal Ripken's 2,632 consecutive-game streak (number 50). Along the way, St. John isn't afraid to go against the grain (e.g., did Cal Ripken's pursuit of the consecutive-game record hurt the Orioles?). Interesting sidebars, vivid photographs, and quotes from the players round out this fascinating look at sports pinnacles. A thoroughly enjoyable mix of nostalgia and information—and the accompanying DVD, with live broadcasts of many of the events, is icing on the cake. Wilkens, Mary Frances

From the Inside Flap

Sports are all about numbers. Victory is decided by the numbers on scoreboards, clocks, and judges’ scorecards. Individual performances and entire careers are gauged by mountains of statistical data. But the mystique of some numbers in the world of sports surpasses even the athletes responsible for them. The numbers symbolize achievements and heights once deemed unattainable, or only to be reached once, or, in some cases, used as a benchmark for future athletes. Such numbers include 714, 56, .406, 2,130, 4:00, 47, 100—they are the greatest achievements in sports history, and, more often than not, they are made to be broken. Each number has its own story, and Made to Be Broken brings to life those stories and the men and women who made them come true. This full-color, lavishly illustrated book by Wall Street Journal columnist and best-selling author Allen St. John ranks the 50 greatest records and streaks throughout the history of sports. Some of them took entire careers to accomplish, like Hank Aaron’s heroic pursuit of Babe Ruth’s career home-run record. Others, like Bob Beamon’s superhuman long jump at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, can better be described as lightning-in-a-bottle moments. These 50 greatest records and streaks cover just about every sport, from baseball and football to golf and track and field. Both individual and team achievements are honored, some dating back nearly 100 years, while others are still fresh in our minds. What they all share, though, is the sense of wonder, the thrill of an athlete pushing the absolute limits of human abilities, the suspense of the chase, and the exhilaration that comes with reaching a goal that no one before had accomplished. Made to Be Broken explains the circumstances that conspired to make every one of these milestones possible, profiles each athlete, and spotlights the significance of each event. This book also includes an exclusive DVD with archival footage and interviews that highlight some of these memorable moments and the people who lived them.

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More About the Author

An award-winning journalist, Allen St. John is the author of seven books, including The Billion Dollar Game and Clapton's Guitar, and co-author of The Mad Dog 100. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Men's Journal, Maxim, Playboy, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice,,, and, and he blogs for His work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his family.

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Made to Be Broken: The 50 Greatest Records and Streaks in Sports
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