Fantasy Baseball's 12 Greatest Single-Game Stat Lines Ever
Fantasy baseball has produced some massive single-game points totals since Dugout Derby came out in 1989 as the first game open to the public.
Examining the top single-game performances since that time is the purpose of this post, and I was surprised at some of the players who made this list. Baseball is a funny game. Unlike some other sports, it's not always the biggest, fastest guys that end up with the best stats.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the highest single-game scoring totals we've seen since fantasy baseball became popular in the late-80s.
How Points Are Scored
Photo credit: BaltimoreSportsReport.com
For those of us who may not be familiar with the ins-and-outs of how fantasy baseball is scored, here's how MLB.com breaks things down.
Single = 1
Double = 2
Triple = 3
Home Run = 4
Run = 1
RBI = 1
Walk = 1
Stolen Base = 2
Caught Stealing = -1
Win = 3
0-5 = 0
6-7 = 1
8-9 = 2
10-12 = 3
13-15 = 5
16-19 = 7
20+ = 10
Earned Runs Allowed
0 = 7
1 = 5
2 = 3
3 = 2
4 = 1
5+ = 0
Hits + Walks Allowed
0 = 20
1 = 16
2 = 12
3-4 = 8
5-7 = 4
8-10 = 2
11-12 = 1
13+ = 0
12. Mike Cameron: Seattle Mariners, May 2, 2002
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Seattle Mariners outfielder Mike Cameron went off for four home runs against the Chicago White Sox on May 2, 2002, going 4-for-5 on the night.
The crazy thing about this story is that Cameron's efforts only garnered him four RBI. Every single home run was struck without any runners on base.
After the game, Cameron talked about his historic day, via MLB.com:
Today was pretty groovy...I wasn't thinking about anything up there. It was just one of those days. It was like when M.J. (Michael Jordan) hit those six three-pointers (in the NBA finals) against Portland and just shrugged his shoulders...It's very special. I feel like the king of the hill today.
His performance earned his fantasy owners 24 total points—a huge night by any standard. But Cameron's feat is just the tip of the iceberg compared to the rest of the men on this list.
11. Carlos Delgado: Toronto Blue Jays, September 25, 2003
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Carlos Delgado had one of the best years in his 17-year career in 2003, the pinnacle of which is the massive game he had against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in September 25.
In that game, Delgado went 4-for-4, hitting four home runs and driving in six RBI. The Blue Jays needed every single one of his RBI, too, as they struggled to stop the bats of the Devil Rays and barely won the game, 10-8.
After the game, Delgado spoke about his accomplishment, via the AP: "I can't think of any other way to explain it, it just kind of happened. It seems like everything you hit goes up into the air and goes out. I wish I could do it more often."
Delgado's performance earned his fantasy owners 26 total points that night—one of the best scoring totals in the history of fantasy baseball. But he's nowhere near the top of this list...
10. Josh Hamilton: Texas Rangers, May 8, 2012
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Josh Hamilton has never been short on talent.
He has overcome much to become the player he is today, and he is one of only 16 players in MLB history to hit four home runs in a single game. He joined that exclusive club on May 8, 2012, when he went 5-for--5 with four home runs, a double and eight RBI.
He tagged 18 bases in that game, falling just one base short of tying Sean Green's record of 19 total bases in a single game. Yeah, it was kind of a good night.
After the game, Hamilton spoke to the media about his night, via USA Today:
Obviously it's, other than being in the World Series, the highlight of my big-league career. I was saying after I hit two I've never hit three in a game before, and what a blessing that was. Then to hit four is just an awesome feeling, to see how excited my teammates got.
It reminds you of when you're in Little League and a little kid, and just the excitement and why we play the game. Things like that. You never know what can happen. It was just an absolute blessing.
Hamilton's incredible stat line earned his fantasy owners an incredible 30 total points. It doesn't get much better than that.
9. Dallas Braden: Oakland A's, May 9, 2010
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Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game for the Oakland A's on May 9, 2010—Mother's Day—against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Braden was raised by his grandmother, though, and he was thrilled to have the opportunity to honor her on such a special day, according to MLB.com: "It's a more important day for my grandmother than anything...To be able to give her this today was perfect."
At the time of his historic accomplishment, Braden was only the 19th pitcher in MLB history to pitch a perfect game. Out of the 27 total outs, he chalked up, only six of them came via strikeout.
Braden earned his fantasy owners 31 total points—a massive hit for one day's work.
8. Mark Buerhle: Chicago White Sox, July 23, 2009
Photo credit: customauthenticjerseys.com
Mark Buehrle pitched a perfect game on July 23, 2009, for the Chicago White Sox against the Tampa Bay Rays, striking out six batters along the way.
He didn't do it alone, though, as it took a stellar defensive effort from center fielder Dewayne Wise to keep Gabe Kapler's deep shot from landing in the bleachers at the top of the ninth inning. He was mobbed by teammates after the final out, as you can plainly see from this photo, and they exuberantly celebrated his historic accomplishment.
After the game, Buehrle spoke about his perfect outing, via MLB.com:
You just have to have everything go your way. Obviously, that last one that was hit, Dewayne Wise robbed it out there. I was just saying, Keep it in the park to give him a chance to catch it. Hopefully it wasn't too many rows deep. Knowing him, he's going to climb the wall and try to get it.
Buehrle's phenomenal effort garnered his fantasy owners 31 total points.
7. Kenny Rogers: Texas Rangers, July 28, 1994
Photo Credit: SI.com
Kenny Rogers pitched a perfect game for the Texas Rangers against the California Angels on July 28, 1994, striking out eight batters along the way.
He almost didn't get the honor, though, as it took a heroic defensive play from then-rookie center fielder Rusty Greer. Greer made a diving catch in the ninth inning to preserve his pitcher's perfection.
After the game, a humble Rogers spoke to media, via the New York Times:
I never thought he was going to get it. I thought that ball was going to drop, no matter what. Then, I thought the ball was going to pop out...I never thought about a perfect game. I was thinking about the no-hitter until the last out. I just threw strikes. I got ahead of a lot of hitters and that helped a lot.
His accomplishment earned his fantasy owners 32 total points that night.
6. Philip Humber: Chicago White Sox, April 21, 2012
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Sometimes, the best games happen to the least likely of players, as Philip Humber can testify.
Humber pitched a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox against the Seattle Mariners on April 21, 2012, striking out nine batters along the way. He was totally dominant on the mound that day, though he did have his fair share of defensive help along the way.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski spoke to reporters after the game, via the Chicago Tribune: "There's no buildup for this. It just happens. You want it so bad for the guy on the mound and you want him to have that achievement forever and want him to be remembered."
Humber's fantastic game earned his fantasy owners 32 total points—that is, the few people who may have had him on their fantasy roster. Humber hasn't been successful in the majors, posting a 13-14 record in his seven years as a pro.
Unfortunately, Humber has gone cold since his perfect game, and the latest word out of Chicago is that he's been put on notice, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
5. Mark Whiten: St. Louis Cardinals, September 7, 1993
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Mark Whiten tied a MLB record on September 7, 1993, for the St. Louis Cardinals by driving in 12 runners on four home runs against the Cincinnati Reds. The record was originally set by the Cardinals' Jim Bottomley in 1924.
Whiten went 4-for-5 in the game, but nobody remembers his one failed attempt. Nobody has come close to 12 RBI in a game since he did it, and it might be another 50 years before we see anyone do it again.
Whiten wasn't necessarily known for his bat, either. In his 11-year career, he never once hit the 100-RBI mark, and his highest home-run total was 25 in 1993.
His epic performance earned fantasy owners 32 total points, tied with the next man on this list for the most fantasy points by a batter in the history of the game.
4. Shawn Green: Los Angeles Dodgers, May 23, 2002
Photo credit: SI.com
Los Angeles Dodgers' right fielder Shawn Green set a new standard for batting excellence on May 23, 2002. He went 6-for-6 in that game against the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting four home runs, a single and a double, while driving in seven runs in the process.
His 19 total bases set a new MLB record—a record that still stands today.
Green's performance that night was just part of an insane week-long home run binge that saw him rake in nine total homers in one week, according to SI.com. He talked to reporters about his phenomenal week:
This week has been almost like a dream. In my wildest dreams I never hoped to have this type of a week. I'm enjoying every single bit of it, because I know how this game goes in streaks...I was just hoping to hit a home run or two on the road trip to get going. I can't believe it happened.
Green's incredible game earned fantasy owners 32 total points, tying Whiten's mark as the highest batting total in the history of fantasy baseball.
3. David Cone: New York Yankees, July 18, 1999
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David Cone certainly had a sense of drama when he pitched a perfect game for the New York Yankees against the Montreal Expos on July 18, 1999. The 1956 World Series-winning team was on hand for the game, and Mr. perfect game himself, Don Larson, was the man who threw out the first pitch.
Cone struck out ten batters in that game, earning his fantasy owners 33 total points.
After the game, Cone spoke to reporters about his historic performance, via the AP: "You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than this happening, but what an honor."
What a feat. Cone's performance is almost the best in fantasy baseball history.
2. David Wells: New York Yankees, May 17, 1998
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Nobody would ever accuse David Wells of looking like a world-class athlete, but he put on a world-class display of pitching that's almost the best of all time.
Wells pitched a perfect game for the New York Yankees against the Minnesota Twins on May 17, 1998, striking out 11 batters in the process. Until Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants broke that mark on June 13, 2012, his was the best game a pitcher had ever put together in the fantasy baseball era.
He spoke to reporters after the game, according to Baseball-Almanac.com: "In the seventh inning, I started getting really nervous. I knew what was going on, I was hoping the fans would kind of shush a little bit. They were making me nervous."
Wells overcame his nerves to put together a performance that earned his fantasy owners 33 total points.
1. Matt Cain: San Francisco Giants, June 13, 2012
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Matt Cain's performance on June 13, 2012, was the greatest display of dominance I've ever witnessed. He pitched a perfect game against the Houston Astros, striking out 14 batters in the process.
He was assisted by his teammates, Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco, both of whom made spectacular catches in the outfield to save their pitchers' perfect game.
After the game, Cain spoke to reporters, via the AP: "Those were unbelievable catches. I mean that right there, that changes the whole thing."
The crazy part about this to me is that Cain literally did it right as I was almost finished writing this post about the greatest single-game stat lines in fantasy baseball history. Well, Cain just vaulted over everyone on this list by earning his fantasy owners a whopping 35 total points.