The history of professional sports has seen a lot of games that boggle the mind with the number of points, goals or runs that were scored. Those are the types of games where fans can’t leave their couches to get a snack while play is going on. There are ten games in particular that left fans glued to the seats in one form or another.
This top ten list hits all four major North American sports leagues, and while there have been other games that have seen a lot of points put up, these are the games that saw the most scored between both teams. The key to this list are high-scoring games where both teams are racking up the points. An example of this would be the Texas Rangers’ 30-run outburst against the Baltimore Orioles in 2007 because the score ended up being 30-3 which doesn’t make the list. There is one blowout to lead off this list but the other team involved at least put up more than three runs in the process.
Here are the top ten highest-scoring games in sports history.
10 Chicago White Sox 29 - Kansas City Athletics 6 (1955)
The list begins with a blowout by the Chicago White Sox over the Kansas City Athletics 29-6 on April 23, 1955. The Sox put up 29 hits on the day as Bob Nieman and Sherm Lollar each hit two home runs in the win. Chicago scored 16 runs in the first four innings before adding on 13 more later in the game. Most of the Chicago lineup got seven plate appearances during a nine-inning game as well, which is unheard of. Kansas City used just six pitchers in the game which wouldn’t normally happen in this day and age. Bobby Shantz took the loss, giving up nine runs in just 1 2/3 innings. It was a day for the ages and one White Sox fans will always remember.
9 Montreal Canadiens 14 - Toronto St. Patricks 7 (1920)
This game from January 10, 1920 is one that is not often remembered but it witnessed the most combined goals scored in an NHL game ever as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto St. Pats 14-7. Montreal was a scoring machine during that season with 129 goals in 24 games, averaging over five a game. Montreal scored 16 goals in a game later that season but also gave up 11 to Toronto during the final game of that same season. A name during that game that rings a bell for hockey fans would be Georges Vezina, who now has the best goalie trophy named after him. It was definitely one wild night in Montreal for this score-a-thon.
8 Seattle Seahawks 51 - Kansas City Chiefs 48 (1983)
Week 13 of the 1983 NFL season saw a battle between AFC West rivals as the Seahawks beat the Chiefs 51-48 in overtime inside the Kingdome. Seattle running back Curt Warner rushed for 207 yards and three touchdowns while Kansas City wide receiver Carlos Carson had seven catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. Kansas City had a 28-14 lead by halftime but the Seahawks scored the first 17 points of the second half to take the lead. The Chiefs retook the lead at 42-31 in the fourth quarter but once again Seattle took the lead at 45-42. After Kansas City scored late in the game however, their extra point was no good, allowing Seattle to tie the game to force overtime. Norm Johnson’s 42-yard field goal in the extra session gave the Seahawks the hard-fought win.
7 San Antonio Spurs 171 - Milwaukee Bucks 166 (1982)
March 6, 1982 brought a triple overtime game that went down in the record books as the Spurs beat the Bucks 171-166. The two teams each shot over 58% from the field as it seemed every shot that was put up was going in. The game was tied at 127 going to overtime before the Spurs finally pulled out the win during the third extra session. George Garvin scored 50 points in 56 minutes for San Antonio while Mike Mitchell added 45 points while playing 58 of the possible 63 minutes. Brian Winters had 42 points for the Bucks while Junior Bridgeman had 31 and Bob Lanier added 29. There were 12 players who finished with at least 14 points in the contest.
6 Denver Broncos 51 - Dallas Cowboys 48 (2013)
The Broncos set an NFL record for most points in a single season in 2013. This October 6 battle with the Cowboys ranks up there with one of the greatest games in NFL history as Denver pulled out a 51-48 win. Tony Romo threw for 506 yards and five touchdowns while Peyton Manning had four touchdown passes and 414 passing yards. The Cowboys had three receivers break the 100-yard mark as the two teams traded blows all game long in a game that didn’t go to overtime. Denver led 35-20 early in the third quarter before Dallas rallied to take a 48-41 lead late in the fourth quarter. Manning led the Broncos down for a tying touchdown and finally a game-winning field goal as time ran out.
5 Philadelphia Phillies 23 - Chicago Cubs 22 (1979)
Many people consider the 23-22 Phillies win over the Cubs on May 17, 1979 to be the best offensive game ever. The wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field and the two teams combined for 13 runs in the first inning alone. Philadelphia led 15-6 after three innings and 21-9 going into the Cubs’ half of the fifth before Chicago exploded for seven runs to make it 21-16 after five innings. The Cubs would tie it but Mike Schmidt’s home run in the tenth off Bruce Sutter gave the Phillies the win. There were 50 hits in the contest and 11 home runs. Dave Kingman hit three homers for the Cubs, including one that went out of Wrigley Field and three houses down the next street. Neither starting pitcher got out of the first inning in a game that was a true classic.
4 Edmonton Oilers 12 - Chicago Blackhawks 9 (1985)
The fans at Chicago Stadium got a treat on December 11, 1985 as the Oilers beat the Blackhawks 12-9. Edmonton led 4-0 after one period before a second period that featured 12 goals. The Oilers had a 7-1 lead before the Hawks finally rallied to pull within 2 goals at 7-5. Edmonton ultimately would keep scoring though, and came away with the win in a game that tied the Canadiens-St. Patricks game for most goals in one game in NHL history. Wayne Gretzky didn’t score a goal in the game for the Oilers but had seven assists including one on each of Jari Kurri’s three goals. Glenn Anderson also had a hat trick for Edmonton while Troy Murray and Ken Yaremchuk each scored twice for Chicago.
3 Oakland Raiders 52 - Houston Oilers 49 (1963)
The AFL was known for high-scoring and creative football. That was evident on December 22, 1963 as the Oakland Raiders scored a 52-49 win over the Houston Oilers. From the looks of the first half, it appeared both teams were going to score 70 points. During a wild first half, the two teams found themselves in a 35-all tie at the break. Things settled down in the second half and a Mike Mercer field goal in the fourth quarter gave Oakland the victory. Tom Flores threw six touchdown passes for Oakland including four to Art Powell, who had ten catches for 247 yards. George Blanda threw for five touchdowns with two going to Willard Dewveall. This is the game that really defined what the AFL was all about.
2 Chicago Cubs 26 - Philadelphia Phillies 23 (1922)
August 25, 1922 at Cubs Park was another game for the books in Cubs-Phillies history. This time around though, the Cubs would come out on top 26-23 in front of a small crowd. The Cubs scored ten times in the second inning and added 14 more in the fourth to take a 25-6 lead. Philadelphia would rally for eight runs in the eighth and six more in the ninth to make it interesting. The two teams combined for 51 hits and were issued 21 walks. Hack Miller and Charlie Hollocher each had six RBIs for the Cubs while Russ Wrightstone had four RBIs for Philadelphia during his eight at-bats in nine innings. It was another epic day at the Friendly Confines to say the least.
1 Detroit Pistons 186 - Denver Nuggets 184 (1983)
When lists of highest-scoring games are made, the 186-184 triple overtime game between the Pistons and Nuggets from December 13, 1983 tops the list. Detroit would come out on top in the end in a game that ended at 145 apiece after regulation. The two teams kept going up and down the court for another 15 minutes before the final conclusion. Isiah Thomas had 47 points to lead the Pistons while John Long added 41 and Kelly Tripucka had 35 points. Kiki Vandeweghe scored 51 points for Denver and Alex English scored 47 of his own. The teams combined for 251 field goal attempts and 117 free throw attempts. There were just 9,655 fans in attendance that night in Denver but those who saw this game go well into the night came away with a memory they will never forget.