MLB

Top 30 MLB Playoff Performances Of All-Time

Darren - October 5, 2020
MLB

Top 30 MLB Playoff Performances Of All-Time

Darren - October 5, 2020
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

12. Albert Pujols – 2011

It only took Pujols four innings to make this list. The St. Louis Cardinals annihilated the Texas Rangers in the World Series to take the rings home. A long-serving MLB veteran, Pujols won two World Series championships with the Cardinals before heading to the Angels. Both of these performances were great, but his 2011 display was truly awesome.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

His best individual game was the third of the series as the Cardinals blew the Rangers away. First, he set a World Series record with 14 total bases. Furthermore, he achieved five hits during agonizing viewing for Rangers’ fans. Games like these are the stuff of dreams for professional baseball players. Pujols made this into a reality.

Mandatory Credit: UPI.com

11. Billy Hatcher – 1990

The Cincinnati Reds blitzed past the Oakland Athletics in the World Series. Two players were key to their success. Jose Rijo and Hatcher pitched like never before, with the latter having one of the best performances of his life. The Arizona native produced astounding numbers in this dominant victory.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

In short, he batted a ludicrous .750 as the Athletics won the series in just four games. Incredibly, he didn’t win the MVP award which instead went to Rijo. Furthermore, some will question his merit on his list but his efficiency was emblematic of the Reds’ game as a whole. It was tremendous.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

10. Hideki Matsui – 2009

Japanese baseball star Matsui is a Yankees’ cult hero for a number of reasons. First of all, he hit a grand slam in his first game at Yankee Stadium. Even the likes of Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio can’t say that. But he was also a beast in the MLB playoffs, with one of his best performances coming in the World Series.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

‘Godzilla’ achieved six RBIs in the sixth game of the series. Overall, he hit .615 and three home runs. He only played in three games but still won the World Series MVP award for his contribution. An all-round record-breaker, Matsui was the first Japanese player to take the coveted award home.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

9. Roger Clemens – 2000

‘Rocket’ truly lived up to his nickname in Game Four of the ALCS. In short, it was one of the most devastating performances in the history of the postseason. In fact, he came incredibly close to a no-hitter in a 15-strikeout, one-hit shutout. The Mariners melted underneath his power and pressure.

Roger Clemens
Mandatory Credit: Pinstripe Alley

As well as his 15 strikeouts, Clemens threw 138 pitches. If you think Clemens took steroids then this game will surely be one that you’d use as a case study. The relentless pitcher was like an overpowered superhero in his quest to crush Seattle. This was a remarkable moment in the series.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Tim Lincecum – 2010

Four-time All-Star Lincecum had the game of his life against the Atlanta Braves. It came in Game One of the NDLS when he broke his franchise’s playoff record for strikeouts. In short, Lincecum pitched a perfect game against the Braves who just didn’t know what was happening to them. ‘The Freak’ was unstoppable as he led his team to the win.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Lincecum’s 119-pitch, 14-strikeout was a near-perfect performance and baseball at its very best. The Washington-native had a slow start to the season but it ended in great circumstances as he got his hands on a World Series ring for the first time. It was the first of three for the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

7. Brooks Robinson – 1970

Robinson put on a defensive masterclass in the World Series against the Cinncinati Reds. There’s a reason why most baseball historians regard him as the greatest defensive third baseman ever. The 16-time Golden Glove award winner produced one of the best performances of his career as the Orioles defeated the Reds.

Mandatory Credit: Sportscasting

He was brilliant all throughout this World Series but Game Three stands apart. Robinson’s diving stop on Johnny Bench’s line drive was something out of this world. Nothing could get past him and he gave the Reds’ coaching staff nightmares through the series. It was like trying to break a brick wall with a spoon.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Darin Erstad – 2002

To this day, the Angels have only won a single World Series championship in their history. That came when they were still the Angels of Anaheim. Erstad as sublime all throughout their playoff run and the key to their title success. Without his contribution, they wouldn’t have come close to glory.

Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

After a great run to the final series, Erstad saved the Angels’ bacon with a home run in Game Six against the Giants. Then he made a vital catch in Game Seven as the Angels clinched the title. Furthermore, he equaled the postseason record for hits with 25. The three-time Gold Glove Award winner was a hero.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Babe Ruth – 1926

The first time is always the most special. That’s true in many aspects of life but it also applies perfectly to baseball. Game Four of the World Series saw Ruth become the first player to hit three home runs in a single World Series game. Ultimately, the Cardinals still won after seven games, but this remains the most memorable moment from the entire series.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

The home runs came in the first, second, and sixth innings as Ruth made history. The seven-time World Series winner knew how to steal the show as his two appearances on this list convey. That’s why he’s one of the greatest of all-time. He didn’t win the series this time but he won the hearts of fans.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. Kirby Puckett – 1991

The Minnesota Twins have produced some great performances in their history. Puckett’s display against the Atlanta Braves was almost as good as that of his teammate Jack Morris, but more on him later. He was exceptional in Game Six of the World Series as his pitching onslaught was just too hot for the Braves to handle. Honestly, this was like a cannon breaching the walls of a fortress.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Puckett almost singlehandedly forced the series into a seventh game after an 11th-inning home run. Meanwhile, he stoles bases made incredible catches and demonstrated sheer bloody-mindedness in a game for the ages. This is up there with the best World Series of all time, but Puckett deserves as many plaudits as anybody. Baseball at its most entertaining.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

3. Josh Beckett – 2003

The 23-year-old Beckett was an unlikely hero for the Marlins in this miraculous win over the Yankees. He didn’t even expect to feature much because he had never played a postseason game on three days’ notice. But that’s exactly what happened and it was an inspired decision. Beckett put on one of the most remarkable performances in the history of professional baseball.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

After an excellent game three, it looked like he had done his bit for the Marlins’ shot at glory. But he came in from the cold in Game 10 to pitch a complete shutout against the favorites. Furthermore, it was the deciding game of the series so Beckett effectively sealed the championship win for the Marlins. Fans and analysts heavily favored the Yankees before this game, but the Marlins and Beckett proved their worth.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2. Jack Morris – 1991

Morris only played one season for the Minnesota Twins, but what a year it was. He put on one of the greatest World Series performances we’ve ever seen in a stellar win for the Twins in Game Six against the Braves. It was the second of four World Series wins for the Minnesota native but by far the most memorable.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

One of just two players to win the Babe Ruth Award twice, Morris was incredible. In sum, he pitched for 10 innings in a perfect display of throwing. The 36-year-old had only played three games in the series but insisted on carrying his momentum forward. In the end, it was an inspired decision as they brought home the championship ring.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Don Larsen – 1956

Larsen played a perfect game in the 1956 World Series for the New York Yankees. We’re talking about an achievement that has only ever occurred 22 times in the entire history of MLB. He threw one on the biggest stage of them all so, because of this, he deserves to be on top of this list. This was an iconic baseball moment, nevermind a playoff one.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

Dodgers’ fans might not like it, but history only remembers the winners. Larsen was anonymous before Game Five but came alive when it counted. To this day, it remains the only no-hitter and perfect game ever seen in the World Series. Don’t hold your breath for another one either because there was only one other perfect game in a playoff series. This was one of the most remarkable individual performances in sporting history.

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