Garceau: Top 6 Greatest Sports Performances

Last week was the 55th anniversary of one of the greatest performances in sports history. On a cold, rainy March night in 1962 Wilt Chamberlain did what no NBA player had done before or has done since. Wilt scored 100 points as his Philadelphia Warriors beat the New York Knicks 169-147 at the Hershey (PA) Arena. On this incredible night the 7-1 Chamberlain converted 36 of 63 field goal attempts and most impressive, one of the game’s worst free throw shooters, he hit 28 of 32 from the line. Remembering Wilt’s 100 got us thinking about some of the other great performances in sports. Below are some of the best.

These may not be the most dramatic but would have to be considered some of the best for a game or single day performance.

Norm Van Brocklin, 1951

Rams quarterback Norm Van Brocklin made only 2 starts this season but in this game against the New York Yanks “The Dutchman” hit 27 of 41 passes for a record 554 yards and 5 touchdowns. The 554 passing yards still remain an NFL record.

Don Larsen, 1956

Game 5 of the ’56 World Series and Yankees right-hander Don Larsen was better than great he was perfect! Larsen faced a Brooklyn Dodgers lineup that included Hall of Famers Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella and they didn’t have a chance. The Dodgers went 27 up 27 down, the only perfect game in World Series history.  

Bob Beamon, 1968

In the Summer Games in Mexico City USA long jumper Bob Beaman’s Gold Medal performance was jaw dropping. He broke the world record but not by a half inch or 2 or 3 inches, Beamon soared an amazing 21 inches beyond the previous record. The Olympic record still stands today nearly 50 years later.

Bill Walton, 1973

In St. Louis the UCLA center was near perfect in the 1973 NCAA Championship game against Memphis. Walton scored on 21 of 22 field goal attempts for 44 points as UCLA won their seventh straight national championship and ninth in ten years.

Secretariat, 1973

After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness  in record times Secretariat was a 10-1 favorite to win the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown.  Jockey Ron Turcotte got the ride of his life, not only did Secretariat become the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years the three-year old destroyed the field winning by a staggering 31 lengths. His winning time of 2 minutes and 24 seconds was not only a Belmont record but also an American record for a mile and a half on dirt that still stands today.

Mark Whiten, 1993

Since 1900 only 14 MLB players have hit 4 home runs in a game. Only 2 hitters have ever driven in 12 runs in a game. Mark Whiten did both for the Cardinals in the second game of a doubleheader in Cincinnati. Whiten started the game with a grand slam in the first inning. In the sixth inning he blasted a 3-run homer. In the next inning another 3-run bomb, 3 homers and 10 RBI’s for the game. The final chapter in this incredible story came in the top of the ninth, Rob Dibble threw it and Whiten launched a 2-run shot into the history books. In what might be the best game ever for a hitter the box score shows four homers and 12 RBI’s for hard hittin’ Mark Whiten.

Go ahead and vote for your favorite sports moment:

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