The beautiful thing about baseball is that you never know what you can see on any given day. No one can imagine seeing a no-hitter, cycle, or four-home run game. 

But there’s no way any fan could have foreseen the best single-game performances in baseball history. 

Shawn Green’s Extraordinary Day

One of baseball’s hidden stars through the “Steroid Era” was Shawn Green. The outfielder had two All-Star selections with the Blue Jays and Dodgers and had three 40-homer seasons. 

In 2002, a year he finished top-5 in MVP voting, Green set the record for total bases in a game with 19. He went 6-for-7, and all six hits were for extra bases (1 1B, 1 2B, and 4 HRs). 

A select few have had a four-homer game, but nothing like Green’s.

Fernando Tatis’s Grand Game

Fernando Tatis’s legacy for baseball is his sons currently playing, even if Junior’s reputation is in question after a PED suspension. 

But on one faithful day, Tatis Sr. hit two grand slams in one inning. What’s more miraculous is that he hit them off the same pitcher, Chan Ho Park.

Carl Hubbell’s All-Star Game for the Ages

You can rarely leave a lasting impression when you pitch in an All-Star game. Yet, Carl Hubbell did that when he whiffed five Hall of Fame players in a row. 

Hubbell, one of the best pitchers in the live-ball era, fanned Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Fox, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin. Those five players combined have over 2,000 career home runs.  

Kerry Wood’s Imperfect Game

If there was ever a player that had one game define their career, it was Kerry Wood and his 20-strikeout game against the Houston Astros. 

Wood’s slider dazzled hitters all afternoon, allowing only one hit* (asterisk because it was a Kevin Orie error), zero walks, and one hit batsman. 

Wood is one of four pitchers to have 20 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Those other pitchers are Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, and Max Scherzer—that’s good company. 

Tom Cheney Goes the Distance & Then Some

The caveat about the 20-strikeout games above is that they happened in a nine-inning game. However, the record for strikeouts in a single game is by Tom Cheney in 1962. 

The Washington Senators hurler got 21 Ks in a 16-inning affair. Cheney threw all 16 innings, earning the win after throwing a staggering 228 pitches. 

Double-Triple for the Twins

This last achievement is a team effort on the defensive side, as the Minnesota Twins turned two triple plays in one game in 1990. 

Both triple plays were groundballs of the 5-4-3 (third base, second base, to first base) variety. Although they got three outs in one fell swoop twice, the only time it ever happened, the Twins still lost 1-0. 


It’s safe to say that these best single-game performances in baseball history will likely never happen again. 

Certainly, the 16-inning Tom Cheney game won’t, since most starting pitchers don’t even get through six innings nowadays.


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