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Top 10 Individual Performances in MLB History

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Top 10 Individual Performances in MLB History

Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Fans thoroughly enjoy going to baseball games. The tailgating, the food, the beer and good friends having a great time together all make up an outstanding ball game experience. Even better than enjoying a typical baseball game is the chance that something amazing could happen at any moment.

Whether it is a grand slam or an incredible catch at the wall that prevents a home run, unbelievable plays happen all the time. To see a pitcher toss a no-hitter or a perfect game, or a batter crush four home runs in a single contest is something fans will cherish forever. What people really want to see is the great individual performances.

There have been so many outstanding individual performances over the years that it is very difficult to narrow it down to just 10. Whether the performance occurs in a single game, a series, a season or a career, there have been too many to even count.

The following slideshow is a top 10 list that I believe represents a solid group of performances that can be considered the best. I am sure other people will know of performances that are better, and the great part about it is they could very well be right. There really is no right or wrong answer to this question; it is just one person’s opinion versus another. Obviously, fans who have followed a specific team over the years will voice their opinion on several great performances their favorite players accomplished. Once again, it is all personal preference.

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10. Mariano Rivera’s Postseason ERA

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Closer Mariano Rivera is one of the greatest relief pitchers ever, if not the best of all time. His numbers in the postseason are absolutely staggering. He holds the Major League Baseball record for saves (42) and games (96), but what is even more impressive is his record for earned run average (0.70), especially since he has pitched 141 innings. To toss so many pitches and to still have an ERA less than 1.00 is very impressive. There is no question it is one of the greatest career postseason individual performances in the history of baseball.

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9. Ted Williams Hits Over .400

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Many players have hit over .400 in their careers, but Ted Williams was the last one to do it. When he batted .406 in 1941, the feat had not been accomplished for 17 years. The crazy part about it is it will most likely never happen again in the history of the game. Williams was only 22 years old when it happened, which makes him the youngest person ever to do so.

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8. Sandy Koufax’s Complete Game in Game 7 of 1965 World Series

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Sandy Koufax allowed just three hits and struck out 10 batters in a complete game in Game 7 of the 1965 World Series. What makes it even more special is that he accomplished the feat after pitching on only two days of rest. Not to mention, he was battling arthritis throughout the contest. It was by far his top shining moment in a great career, and one of the most spectacular pitching performances in postseason history.

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7. Reggie Jackson Dominates Game 6 of 1977 World Series

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie Jackson, also known as Mr. October, is a legend when it comes to the playoffs. In fact, his performance in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series is the top reason he was given the greatest nickname in baseball. Jackson crushed three consecutive pitches off of three different pitchers for home runs for a total of five RBI. Without his stellar performance, the New York Yankees would have played a Game 7 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, thanks to Jackson’s effort the Yankees got to go home winners.

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6. Babe Ruth’s 1921 Season

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Babe Ruth’s entire career can be considered one big outstanding individual performance. He had accomplished feats that no one else even came close to achieving. There are numerous seasons that stand out in Ruth’s career, but the 1921 season is one that stands above the rest. Ruth batted .378 with a whopping 59 home runs, 171 RBI, 44 doubles, 16 triples, 177 runs, a .512 on-base percentage and a .846 slugging percentage. He also recorded 457 total bases, which is a record that is still held to this day.

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5. Nolan Ryan Throws Seventh No-Hitter

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Nolan Ryan had a marvelous pitching career in which he tossed seven no-hitters and struck out 5,714 batters, both of which are MLB records. What is even more impressive is that Nolan recorded his seventh no-hitter in 1991 at the age of 44 years old. It is hands down one of the greatest pitching performances of all time, and one of the first things people think of when it comes to outstanding individual efforts on the mound.

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4. Hank Aaron Breaks Babe Ruth’s Record

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The fact that Hank Aaron broke Ruth’s all-time home run record is incredible all on its own. However, how he did is even more impressive. Aaron fell one short of Ruth’s record at the end of the 1973 season, which means he had an entire offseason to think about breaking the most respected record in baseball. Unfortunately, he was forced to deal with an abundance of hate mail and death threats because no one wanted to see an African American man break Ruth’s record. Thankfully, he was able to stay tough and battle through. He eventually became the home run king on April 8, 1974.

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3. Don Larsen’s Perfect Game in 1956 World Series

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series is regarded by many as the single greatest individual postseason performance of all time. The right-hander struck out seven batters and sat down 27 straight Brooklyn Dodgers players. Larsen is the only player to ever toss a perfect game in the World Series, which makes it that much better. There is no question his performance inspired his teammates to go on to defeat the Dodgers in seven games.

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2. Joe DiMaggio’s 56-Game Hitting Streak

Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Joe DiMaggio is one of the greatest players to ever put on the Yankee pinstripes. His career .325 batting average and 1,537 RBI are certainly impressive, but it is his record-breaking 56-game hitting streak that sets the bar above everything else. It is a record that will in all likelihood never fall, as Pete Rose was the closest to ever coming close to it when he collected a hit in 44 consecutive games. What many people may not realize is that after DiMaggio failed to collect a hit in game No. 57, he started a new streak of 17 straight games with a hit. He is the only person to ever record at least one hit in 73 of 74 games.

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1. Cal Ripken Jr. Iron Man Streak

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cal Ripken Jr. is most famous for starting 2,632 consecutive games over a 17-year span, a record that will never be broken. There is no question the Iron Man streak is the greatest individual performance in baseball history, if not all of sports. To suit up every game and fight through injuries for 17 straight years is very impressive.