8 unlikely MLB players who pulled off some of baseball's rarest feats
Not every Major Leaguer can be a Hall of Famer. Not every Major Leaguer is an All-Star. Sometimes, a player reaches the big leagues and simply plays, without the acclaim or awards. But here's the cool thing about baseball: Those players can still make history.
Some of the rarest feats in MLB history have been accomplished by players whose careers came and went without much fanfare otherwise. Sure, everyone knows Don Larsen's perfect game, and you probably remember
Below are seven players who played fewer than 10 seasons, went their entire careers without an All-Star appearance or both, but nonetheless put their names in the MLB record books.
Pat Seerey's four home runs in a game in 1948
Seerey played seven seasons in MLB, mostly with the Indians, and he was perhaps best known for his unflattering knack to strikeout: He led the American League in strikeouts four times between 1944 and 1948. But in July 1948, in his last full Major League season and just a few weeks after being traded from the Indians to the White Sox, Seerey slugged four dingers against Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics in Game 1 of a doubleheader (alas, he did not homer in Game 2).
Seerey was not exactly a prodigious home-run hitter -- he never hit more than 26 in a season -- but that four-dinger game gave him a reputation, bringing him Babe Ruth comparisons and even envy from Ted Williams.
Seerey's career sputtered out after that game, however: He finished out the season with the White Sox, but played only four games in the Majors in 1949, and spent his post-baseball career working as a school custodian.
Rennie Stennent's seven-hit game in 1975
Did you know that only one player since the turn of the 20th century has recorded seven hits in a single nine-inning game? And did you know that player is former Pirates infielder Rennie Stennett?
He may have played 11 nondescript years (though he did garner MVP votes in two of them), but Stennett accomplished something that no one else has. On Sept. 16, 1975 the Pirates beat the Cubs, 22-0, and Stennett went 7-for-7. But despite the blowout, no other Pirate had more than three hits, while Stennett himself accounted for nearly a third of his team's production. And with his seven hits, Stennett was just a home run shy of adding a cycle to his game.
Yet Stennett himself even seems to recognize the relative obscurity of his feat: "Well, I hear about Joe DiMaggio and [other 'unbreakable' records], but I never hear mine mentioned," he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2009.
Mark Whiten's four home runs in a game in 1993
Whiten played slightly longer than Seerey -- 11 journeyman years in MLB -- but like him, there's one game that sticks out above the rest: Sept. 7, 1993. The Cardinals beat the Reds, 15-2, and Whiten drove in 12 of those runs thanks to his four homers. Fifteen other players have gone yard four times in a game, but with names like Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt and Lou Gehrig, Whiten is the only non-All-Star since Seerey to pull it off.
Mark Bellhorn's home runs from both sides of the plate in the same inning in 2002
Hitting two home runs in one inning isn't the most unheard of thing in the world -- Fernando Tatis' two grand slams might be a different story -- but only two players in history have done it from both sides of the plate: Switch-hitters Carlos Baerga and Mark Bellhorn. Baerga played 14 seasons and was a three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, while Bellhorn played 10 seasons for seven teams and finished with a .230/.341/.394 slash line.
While his lefty/righty homers on Aug. 29, 2002 were two of 27 he hit that year (by far a career high), his most memorable season was likely as the starting second baseman for the curse-breaking 2004 Red Sox, for whom Bellhorn hit the eighth-inning difference-maker in Game 1 of the 2004 World Series
Kevin Mench's seven consecutive games with a home run in 2006
Mench might be the least heralded player on this list -- he did, reportedly, have the largest cap size in MLB history. But, considering the company he keeps, Mench's seven-game homer streak in 2006 was pretty wild: Ken Griffey Jr., Don Mattingly and Jim Thome all homered in at least seven straight games.
Not many may remember former Pirate Dale Long's eight-game streak in 1956, but he did play slightly longer than Mench (10 seasons to Mench's eight) and was an All-Star that year, which makes Mench's feat a tad more shocking.
Three months after Mench became the first right-handed batter to go seven straight games, he was traded to the Brewers in a deal for Carlos Lee and
Eric Bruntlett's unassisted triple play in 2009
Eric Brunlett is the most recent player to execute an unassisted triple play, yanking down a liner and finishing off a Phillies' 9-7 win over the Mets in '09. It was both the second unassisted triple play in Phillies history and the second in MLB history to end a game. It was also one of the last things he did as a Major Leaguer.
Bruntlett joined the Phillies in 2008 after five seasons with the Astros, but he played in only 12 MLB games after his historic feat -- most of which were pinch-runner/hitter appearances. Still, as
Plus, Bruntlett's teams made the postseason in four of his seven seasons and he took home a ring with the 2008 Phillies
Dallas Braden's perfect game in 2010
On Mother's Day in 2010, in a game against the Rays, Braden cemented himself in the record books. It was one of 30 starts for him that season, but he'd follow it with just three in 2011 before injuries hampered, and more-or-less put an end to, his career. All told, Braden spent five years in the Majors -- the shortest career length of any of the 23 pitchers who have thrown a perfecto. His post-MLB career, though, has been slightly more in the spotlight: Can you identify Braden's voice in the ESPN broadcast booth?
Philip Humber's perfect game in 2012
Humber's career consisted of eight seasons (seven, if you don't want to count his two innings in '06) with five teams and a 5.31 ERA. He pitched in the Korean Baseball Organization in 2015 and attempted to work his way into the Padres' rotation last season, but 2013 with the Astros may have been Humber's final MLB season. Still, Humber will be remembered for two things: His inclusion in the deal that brought Johan Santana to the Mets and, of course, his perfect game.