Sports Superlatives
The oldest, the tallest, the fastest, and the longest

by Mike Morrison and Chris Frantz

Have you ever wondered who threw the fastest pitch in Major League Baseball history? Or who is the oldest player ever to play in an NHL game? Well wonder no more. Behold Infoplease's Guide to Sports Superlatives, just a sampling of the oldest, the tallest, the fastest, and the longest from the world of sports. For even more info, check out our comprehensive sports almanac.



baseball
Major League Baseball

Fastest recorded pitch: 100.9 mph. California Angels flamethrower Nolan Ryan's 100.9 mph pitch against the Chicago White Sox in 1974 is still listed as the fastest "recorded" pitch, but many would argue with this, citing the difference in radar gun calibration. Baseball Almanac, The Elias Sports Bureau and The Sporting News all publish baseball record books, but none list pitch speed as a statistic. Active pitchers to eclipse the 100 mph mark include Joel Zumaya, Bobby Jenks, Randy Johnson, Justin Verlander, and Billy Wagner.

Most home runs in one game by a player: 4—15 players. For other hitting records, see also Major League All-Time Individual Hitting Records.
Most strikeouts thrown in one game: 21. Tom Cheney, Washington Senators—Sept. 12, 1962, in 16 innings. For more, see: Major League All-Time Pitching Records.

Most runs scored in a game (since 1900):
  • One team: 29. (tie) Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Browns, June 8, 1950
    Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland A's, April 23, 1955

  • Two teams: 49. Chicago Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 26–23 on Aug. 25, 1922, at Wrigley Field (then Cubs Park) in Chicago.

Longest game (in innings): 26 innings. Brooklyn Dodgers at Boston Braves, 1–1, May 1, 1920 (called because of darkness).

Longest recorded home run: Home run measurements are far from scientifically accurate. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the longest recorded home run at 634 feet by Yankee great Mickey Mantle on Sept. 10, 1960, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit. Many dispute the record as myth or claim that the ball actually landed and rolled to its resting point 634 feet away from home plate.

Tallest player: 6 ft 11 in. Jon Rauch, who started in 2002 with the Chicago White Sox, now pitches for the Washington Nationals. Randy Johnson, now pitching for the New York Yankees, and Eric Hillman, who was with the New York Mets for three seasons, are tied for second at 6'10".

Shortest player: 3 ft 7 in. Eddie Gaedel, of the St. Louis Browns. On Aug. 19, 1951, Gaedel was inserted into the Brown's lineup as a stunt by Browns owner Bill Veeck. Wearing the number 1/8, Gaedel drew a walk in his only plate appearance.

football
National Football League

Most points scored in a game:
  • One team: 72. Washington Redskins defeated the New York Giants, 72–41 on Nov. 27, 1966.

  • Two teams: 113. Washington Redskins defeated the New York Giants, 72–41 on Nov. 27, 1966.

Most points scored in a game (by a player): 40. Ernie Nevers, Chicago Cardinals vs. Chicago Bears, Nov. 28, 1929. Nevers celebrated Thanksgiving, 1929, by scoring all of the Chicago Cardinals' points on six rushing touchdowns and four extra points. The Cards beat Red Grange and the Chicago Bears, 40–6. See NFL Individual, Lifetime, Season, and Game Records.

Heaviest player: Currently Aaron Gibson. After sitting out the 2005 season, former Chicago Bear Gibson signed with the Buffalo Bills. He seems to have packed on the pounds in that year as his weight in April 2006 was listed as 410—40 lbs more than his 2004 NFL weight. He claims to have weighed 450 pounds in high school! Former Lions offensive linemen Les Bingaman is said to have fluctuated between 370 and 400 pounds. And Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Mike Williams is listed at 360.

Longest field goal: 63 yards (tie).
Tom Dempsey, New Orleans Saints vs. Detroit Lions, Nov. 8, 1970.
Jason Elam, Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, Oct. 25, 1998.

Longest touchdown pass: 99 yards by eight players. For a list of players, see: NFL Individual Lifetime, Season, and Game Records.

Longest touchdown run: 99 yards (for a touchdown). Tony Dorsett, Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings, Jan. 3, 1983.

basketball
National Basketball Association

Most points scored in a game:
  • One team: 186. Detroit Pistons vs. Denver Nuggets, Dec. 13, 1983 (3 overtimes).

  • Two teams: 370. Detroit Pistons 186, defeated Denver Nuggets, 184, Dec. 13, 1983 (3 overtimes).

Most points scored in a game (by a player): 100. Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors vs. New York Knicks, at Hershey, Pa., March 2, 1962.

Chamberlain owns 15 of the top 20 highest-scoring games in NBA history. See NBA Individual Records, Game.

Most consecutive free throws made: 97. Micheal Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves, March 24, 1993, through Nov. 9, 1993.

Tallest player: 7 ft 7 in (tie). Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol. Muresan played from 1993–2000 and was voted NBA Most Improved Player in 1996. Bol played parts of ten years and led the league in blocked shots in 1986 and 1989.

Shortest player: 5 ft 3 in. Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues, played for four teams over a productive 14-year NBA career from 1987 to 2001.

Youngest player: Kobe Bryant. When Lakers star Kobe Bryant made his NBA debut in 1996, he was just 18 years, 158 days old.

hockey
National Hockey League

Hardest slap shot: 118.3 mph. Former star Bobby Hull, who played from 1957–1972 and 1979–1980, reportedly blasted the hardest slap shot in league history.

Most goals in a game: 7. Joe Malone, Quebec Bulldogs vs. Toronto St. Pats, Jan. 21, 1920.

Most points in a game: 10 (6 goals, 4 assists). Darryl Sittler, Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Boston Bruins, Feb. 7, 1976.

Most goals in a season: 92. Wayne Gretzky, Edmonton Oilers, 1981–82.

Tallest player: 6 ft 9 in. Zdeno Chara, current Boston Bruins defenseman

Oldest player: Gordie Howe. Also known as "Mr. Hockey," Howe led the Detroit Red Wings to four Stanley Cup titles in the 1940s and 1950s. He retired in the early 1970s but returned to play on the same team as his two sons, Mark and Marty. He finally retired from the NHL in 1980 at the age of 52 (52 years, 10 days to be exact)!

Longest game: 176 minutes, 30 seconds (or 16 minutes, 30 seconds into the SIXTH overtime period). Detroit Red Wings 1, Montreal Maroons 0, March 24, 1936.

golf
Golf

Holes-in-One:
  • Oldest: 101-year-old Harold Stilson, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., 108 yards, May 2001.

  • Youngest: 3-year-old Jake Paine, of Lake Forest, Calif., 66 yards, July 2001, with his Snoopy driver.

  • Longest (non-dogleg, par 5): 517 yards, Michael J. Crean, Denver, Colo., July 4, 2002.

  • Longest (dogleg): 496 yards, Shawn Lynch, Exeter, England, July, 1995.

Lowest round (18 holes)
  • PGA (male): 59. By three players—Al Geiberger, 1977 Memphis Classic; Chip Beck, 1991 Las Vegas Invitational; David Duval, 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Phil Mickelson shot a 59 in 2004 in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, but as it is not an official PGA event, he won't be in the record book. Shigeki Maruyama scored 58 but in a qualifying round for the 2000 U.S. Open, so he's closed out of the records, too.

  • LPGA (female): 59. Annika Sorenstam, 2001 Standard Register Ping.

Longest drive in PGA tournament history: 427 yards. Chris Smith, 1999 Honda Classic.

tennis
Tennis

Hardest serve
  • Men: 153 mph. Andy Roddick, June 11, 2004.

  • Women: 127.4 mph. Venus Williams, Oct. 16, 1998.

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