30 MLB Player Performances Almost Too Incredible to Believe

Robert Knapel@@RobertKnapel_BRCorrespondent IAugust 10, 2011

30 MLB Player Performances Almost Too Incredible to Believe

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    Throughout baseball history, there have been some player performances that have been hard to believe. These performances have occurred over the course of a season, a game and sometimes, a single play.

    Many of these moments would be the crowning achievements of these players' careers. For others, they would be a black mark on their time in MLB.

    Some of these incredible MLB feats date back to the early days of the game, while others have happened in the modern era.

30. Mark Whiten's 4 HR and 12 RBI in One Game

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    Mark Whiten hit 105 home runs and drove in 423 runners during his major league career. This is what makes his performance on Sept. 7, 1993 so impressive.

    In a game against the Cincinnati Reds, Whiten hit four home runs and had 12 RBI. This performance tied the single-game record for each of these marks.

29. Bill Mueller Hits One Grand Slam from Each Side of the Plate in One Game

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    It is not often that batters come to the plate with the bases loaded.

    It is even more rare for it to happen twice in one game.

    Bill Mueller got two opportunities with the bases loaded in a 2003 game against the Texas Rangers. Mueller took full advantage of what was presented to him, as he hit one grand slam from the right side of the plate and another from the left side.

    Mueller also hit a third home run, a solo shot, in the game.

28. Tommy John Commits 3 Errors on One Play

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    Tommy John is remembered best for the surgical procedure that now bears his name, which he underwent to fix torn ligaments in his elbow.

    However, there is something else John is remembered for.

    He managed to commit three errors on a play in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

    A grounder was hit toward him. John bobbled it, then threw the ball into right field. The relay throw came in to John. He then bobbled that and threw the ball past the catcher.

27. Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson Record 20 Strikeouts

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    Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson are not the only pitchers to strike out 20 batters in a game, but they are the only ones to do it in nine innings. Tom Cheney of the Washington Senators once struck out 21 batters, but it took him 16 innings.

    Wood's feat may be the most impressive of the bunch, as he did it in just his fifth start in the majors. This is an incredibly rare feat, and Roger Clemens was able to do it on two occasions.

26. Walt Dropo's 12 Straight at-Bats with a Hit

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    This is a performance that gets nowhere near the credit it deserves. Getting hits in 12 consecutive at-bats not only requires skill, but also quite a bit of luck.

    What also makes this more impressive was the fact that Dropo was a career .270 hitter. His odds of stringing together 12 consecutive hits were astronomically low.

    Photo Credit: Boston Herald

25. Wilbert Robinson and Rennie Stennett Collect 7 Hits in One Game

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    In baseball history, there have only been two players to get seven hits in a nine-inning game. Neither of the players to accomplish this feat had a batting average higher than .275.

    Wilbert Robinson was the first player to record seven hits in a game when he did it in 1892. Rennie Stennett went 7-for-7 in a game in 1975.

    Photo Credit: Coach Baseball

24. Orel Hershiser's Streak of 59 Consecutive Scoreless Innings

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    In 1988, Orel Hershiser put together one of the more impressive years that a pitcher has had in the past few decades. He had 23 wins and led the MLB with eight shutouts.

    However, the most impressive part of Hershiser's 1988 season was his scoreless innings streak. Hershiser did not allow a run to score for 59 consecutive innings.

23. Barry Bonds' 2002 Season

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    Many people believe Barry Bonds' best season came in 2001 when he hit 73 home runs during the regular season.

    That is not the case.

    He put together an even more impressive performance in 2002.

    Bonds hit only 46 home runs in 2002, but he also managed to have a .370 batting average and 198 walks. His 1.381 OPS in 2002 was slightly higher than his OPS in 2001. Bonds also had an insane 268 OPS+ in 2002.

22. Fernando Tatis Hits Two Grand Slams in an Inning

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    Without a doubt, hitting two grand slams in the same inning is Fernando Tatis' claim to fame. Tatis only has 113 home runs over the course of his career.

    The two grand slams came in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 23, 1999. Each of the grand slams was hit off Chan Ho Park, and the home runs came during an 11-run third inning.

    Tatis is the only player to hit two grand slams in one inning.

21. Tom Seaver's 10 Consecutive Strikeouts

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    Tom Seaver had quickly become one of the top pitchers in the National League by 1970. He had earned his "Tom Terrific" nickname, and he proved he deserved it even further during the game on April 22 against the San Diego Padres.

    Seaver struck out 19 Padres during the game. Even more impressive than this is the fact that Seaver managed to strike out the last 10 batters he faced during the game.

    Photo Credit: New York Daily News

20. Dave Rowe Allows 29 Hits in One Game

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    Dave Rowe was primarily an outfielder for his seven-year major league career. However, there were four different occasions over the course of his career where he took the mound.

    One of these appearances came on July 24, 1882. Rowe had what was arguably the worst pitching performance in baseball history.

    Rowe allowed 29 hits over nine innings. He gave up 35 runs in the game, but only 12 were earned.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

19. Hack Wilson Drives in 191

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    Hack Wilson is the record-holder for the most RBI in one season. In 1930, Wilson drove in 191 runs during the course of an outstanding year.

    Wilson batted .356 during his record-setting season, and he also hit 56 home runs. His RBI record is likely one that will continue to stand for years.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

18. Ichiro Gets 262 Hits in 2004

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    George Sisler had held the record for most hits in a season since 1920. Then, in 2004, Ichiro Suzuki managed to put together an incredibly impressive season.

    Ichiro collected 262 hits and finished the season with a .372 batting average. This means Ichiro averaged more than 1.61 hits per game during the year.

17. Babe Ruth's 1921 Season

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    Without a doubt, Babe Ruth was one of the best players to ever put on a baseball season. This great put together his best season in 1921.

    Not only did Ruth hit .378 with 59 home runs and 171 RBI, but he also had 16 triples and 44 doubles on the year. Ruth ended the year with a .512 on-base percentage and an .846 slugging percentage.

    Photo Credit: Notable Biographies

16. Pedro Martinez's 2000 Season

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    In 2000, Pedro Martinez put together one of the best pitching performances in the history of the modern era. He was absolutely dominant during the 2000 season.

    Martinez won the Cy Young award after he went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA. He also struck out 284 batters that season. Martinez had a 291 ERA+ that season, which is the second-best total in baseball history.

15. Ricky Henderson's 130 Stolen Bases

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    Ricky Henderson was able to make a career out of stealing bases. He is the career leader in stolen bases with 1,406.

    Throughout his career, Henderson eclipsed 100 stolen bases three times. He set the single-season record when he stole 130 bases in the 1982 season—he also played only 149 games that season.

14. George Strief and Bill Joyce Hit 4 Triples in a Game

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    There have been 12 players who have hit four home runs in a game, yet there have been only two hitters who have managed to get four triples in one game.

    Both hitters to record four triples in one game did so before 1900. George Strief hit his four triples in 1885, and Bill Joyce recorded four triples in 1897.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

13. 58-Year-Old Satchel Paige Pitching 3 Scoreless Innings

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    Satchel Paige was one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the Negro Leagues. Unfortunately, he only got to pitch for five seasons in the majors before he retired.

    In 1965, 12 years after he had last pitched in the majors, the Kansas City Athletics signed Paige as a promotional move. The Athletics let Paige make one start, and at age 58, Paige pitched three scoreless innings and only allowed one hit.

    Photo Credit: NNDB

12. Hugh Duffy Bats .440

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    Batting over .400 is an incredibly rare feat. Ted Williams was the last hitter to do it when he eclipsed the mark in 1941.

    Hugh Duffy holds the major league record for the highest single-season batting average. He hit .440 in the 1894 season.

    But that is not the highest mark in baseball history, as three players from the American Association hit for higher averages.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

11. George Gore and Billy Hamilton Steal 7 Bases in a Game

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    Baseball was a much different game in the 1800's. This has led to some statistics that stand as records to this day.

    One of these records is the one for stolen bases in a single game. George Gore stole seven bases during a game in 1881. Billy Hamilton, one of the best speedsters of his time, matched this total during a game in 1894.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

10. Walter Johnson's 1913 Season

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    While he may not have an award named after him, many people believe Walter Johnson is the best pitcher in major league history, and his best season came in 1913.

    Johnson threw 346 innings in 1913 and went on to have a 36-7 record. He also had 11 shutouts and 243 strikeouts. Most impressively, Johnson had an 1.14 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

9. Leon Cadore and Joe Oeschger Pitch 26 Innings in a Game

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    Pitching a complete game is impressive enough when the game lasts nine innings. Some players have even pitched complete games that lasted 10 or 11 innings.

    However, nothing is more impressive than the fact that in a 26-inning game, not one, but both starters threw a complete game. Leon Cadore and Joe Oeschger each went the distance in a game that ended in a tie.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

8. Dutch Leonard's 0.96 ERA

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    To be clear, Dutch Leonard does not have the lowest ERA in MLB history. That record was set in 1880 by Tim Keefe, who had a 0.86 ERA.

    Leonard does have the record for the lowest ERA in the modern era, though. He had a 0.96 ERA in 1914, which gave him a 279 ERA+. Leonard went 19-5 with seven saves that season.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

7. Chief Wilson Hits 36 Triples

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    Triples are the hardest hit to get in a baseball game. That is one of the reasons why the single-season record for triples is less than half of the single-season home run record.

    What makes Chief Wilson's 36 triples in 1912 even more impressive is the fact that it was 10 more triples than that second-best total in a season.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

6. Joe DiMaggio's 56-Game Hit Streak

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    Joe DiMaggio is the owner of what is considered to be the most impressive streak in baseball. Every time a player gets a hit in at least 25 consecutive games, the DiMaggio watch begins.

    DiMaggio had his famous 56-game hit streak during the 1941 season. The Hall of Famer would go on to have an MVP season in 1941, and he not only collected hits, but also batted for power, as he knocked 30 home runs.

    Photo Credit: Joe DiMaggio Biography

5. Ted Williams Reaches Base Safely in 84 Straight Games

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    The most talked-about streak in baseball is not Ted Williams' streak of reaching base safely, but rather Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak. Williams' streak deserves much more attention than it gets, and it may actually be a more impressive streak.

    Williams was able to reach base safely in 84 consecutive games. For more than half a season, he was on base at least once a game in 1949.

    Photo Credit: Ted Williams

4. Will White Pitches 680 Innings and 75 Complete Games in a Season

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    Will White currently holds the record for most innings pitched in a single season. This record looks like one that will never be eclipsed by another player.

    As a member of the Cincinnati Reds, White threw 75 complete games and made a relief appearance in another game. He pitched 680 innings that season.

    Making his numbers even more impressive is the fact that the Reds played only 80 games that year, which means White pitched in almost every game. He was fairly successful, going 43-31 with a 1.99 ERA.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

3. Tom McCreery Hits 3 Inside-the-Park Home Runs in 1 Game

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    The inside-the-park home run is one of the most exciting plays in baseball. There is always a rush of excitement as a player is speeding around the bases trying to beat the ball home.

    Hitting one inside-the-park home run in a game is difficult enough. Tom McCreery managed to hit three of them in a game in 1897. He is the only major league player to do this, although Guy Hecker hit three inside-the-park's in the American Association.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

2. Old Hoss Radbourn's 1884 Season

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    Old Hoss Radbourn had arguably the greatest season in baseball history in 1884 with the Providence Grays. His performance in the 1884 season translated to 20.3 WAR according to Baseball Reference, the highest total in MLB history.

    Radbourn went 59-12 with two saves in 1884. He also led the National League with a 1.38 ERA and 441 strikeouts. He also made some contributions at the plate, driving in 37 runs in 1884.

    Photo Credit: Baseball Reference

1. Johnny Vander Meer Pitches No-Hitters in Consecutive Starts

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    Major League Baseball has officially recognized 272 no-hitters since 1876. Over that time frame, there have been approximately 200,000 MLB games.

    This means there is a 0.136 percent chance of a pitcher throwing a no-hitter.

    All of this makes it much more impressive that Johnny Vander Meer managed to throw no-hitters in back-to-back starts during the 1938 season.

    Photo Credit: ESPN

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