Few things fuel the fire for bar stool banter like the subject of extraordinary feats in sports.
Regardless of the sport, sports fans of every age and background have sparred with relatives, friends and colleagues about their unforgettable individual performances and favorite classic games.
When it comes to Epic Sports Performances, all sports fans wish they could have been there.
Whether sitting in a front row seat or standing in the upper deck, they would have loved to witness the memorable achievements of now legendary athletes who, for one glorious night, were truly “unconscious” or literally had “stepped into that magical zone.”
Here’s my top 10 list:
10. In 1998, Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs struck out an amazing 20 Houston Astros batters. Only 20 years-old at the time, Wood totally dominated the Astros in what many consider the greatest MLB game ever pitched. Wood walked no batters and allowed only one infield hit.
9. In 1993, Darryl Sittler of the Toronto Maple Leafs accumulated 10 points in a game against the Boston Bruins. Sittler scored six goals on 10 shots while assisting on four others. It was a feat that no other NHL player has yet to duplicate.
In MLB history, 15 players have hit four homers in a game. Only one had driven in 12 runs in a game. However, no one in MLB history managed what Whiten did on his magical night by hitting hit four dingers and driving in 12 runners in the same game.
7. In 2010, John Isner made epic sports history in both endurance and performance. He recorded an astonishing 113 aces in his seemingly endless (11 hours and 5 minutes in length) first round Wimbledon match against Nicolas Mahut.
6. In 1956, while playing against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Don Larsen of the NY Yankees pitched the only perfect game ever in a World Series Game. Larsen’s remarkable performance enabled the Yanks to win Game 5 and, subsequently, the World Series in which he was also named MVP.
5. In 1951, Norm Van Brocklin of the then Los Angeles Rams set an NFL record by passing for an incomprehensible 554 yards. With NFL record books showing 11 quarterbacks passing for more than 500 yards in a game, not even Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Montana, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning have yet come close to surpassing Van Brocklin’s record.
4. In 1990, the late Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs recorded an amazing 7 sacks in one game against the Seattle Seahawks. By today’s NFL standards recording 7 sacks in a season will probably secure a defensive player a pretty sweet contract extension. Imagine accomplishing that in a single game.
3. In 2007, Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings set an NFL record by rushing for an incredible 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers. A rookie at the time, Peterson ran for a staggering 253 yards in the second half of the game. A truly epic performance.
Like Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak; Wayne Gretzky’s 9 NHL MVP Trophies; Usain Bolt’s back-to-back gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics; Lionel Messi’s 91 total goals in all competitions in 2012; and Derrick Thomas’ 7 sacks in a game; Wilt’s historic night is a sports milestone which will never be broken.
1. In 2008, USA swimmer Michael Phelps’ performance in the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China stands as arguably the greatest personal achievement in all of sports. The most honored Olympian ever with 22 total Olympic medals, Phelps collected 8 gold medals in Beijing, 5 of which were in individual races. Now that’s epic!
This chapter on epic sports performances is one of 25 in my FREE sports book Best About Sports.
MIKE – aka Mike Raffone – thee ultimate talking head on sports!