Just in time for the Olympics, Bleacher Report has compiled a list of the 100 worst athletes in sports history.
My immediate thought is that this is a bogus list because I’m not on it. Anyone who saw me attempt to play softball in the late Lancaster men’s league in the late 1980s knows that I deserve to be on this list, for inability to connect bat with slowly-pitched softball, running as if I was in an NFL Films highlight (and remember NFL Films films in slow motion), treating hit balls as if they were hand grenades without the pins, and for having a throwing arm that was weak, yet inaccurate.
Nevertheless, this incomplete list includes …
100. Michael Haddix [formerly of the Packers]
The eighth pick of the ’83 draft actually did record some decent numbers at first glance. 1,635 yards on the ground and 1,310 receiving for fullback Michael Haddix…not bad.
But considering it took him eight seasons to total those numbers and he finished his career with an average of 3.0 yards per carry, Haddix remains locked in scrub territory. …
96. Dan McGwire [who played at Iowa before ...]
Known more as the brother of former slugger Mark McGwire rather than as a first-round bust. Dan McGwire remains the tallest quarterback drafted into the NFL (6’8″), he finished his career with limited opportunities and lacking highlights.
Two touchdowns, six picks, 745 yards and a rating of 52.3 in five seasons. Oh, and by the way, Brett Favre was drafted in the second round of that 1991 draft. …
86. Doug Strange [formerly of the Cubs]
With a batting average of .233 and 31 homeruns in nine seasons, infielder Doug Strange cemented himself among the most obscure players in baseball history.
81. Fred Merkle
When you’re nicknamed “Bonehead” and the highlight of your career is a play referred to as “Merkle’s boner,” you may want to find another career.
While a .273 average and 82 homeruns in 19 seasons isn’t quite as horrific as some may believe, Fred Merkle’s baserunning fail as a 19-year-old will forever shadow his very ordinary career.
Missing second base, and eventually costing his Giants the pennant. …
40. Tony Mandarich
“I am not like other players, I am Tony Mandarich, and they have to understand that. If they don’t like it, that is just the way I am and they are going to learn to like it.”
From perhaps the most heralded offensive line prospect ever (chosen second overall by the Packers in ’89) to arguably the greatest bust. What a road for the Mandarich.
Mandarich was on the cover of the second issue of the late Marketplace Magazine. I noted this in the late Marketplace of Ideas blog, which got a response from Mandarich, all the way from Arizona. The story was about the marketing opportunities for the Packers’ second round pick. He played three years for the the Packers, then, after a three-year absence, played three more years for Indianapolis, which means that he did exceed the average NFL career length, about 4.5 years.
17. Jim McIlvaine [formerly of Marquette]
A second-round pick of the Bullets in 1994, center Jim McIlvaine is known more for his controversial signing with the Sonics than he is for his mediocre play.
With Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton and a solid collection of role players filling out the lineup, Seattle was left with a void at center, and decided to sign this free agent shot-blocker to a seven-year, $33.6 million contract (despite averages of 2.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game the year before).
Not only was he useless on the court, but McIlvaine’s contract angered the Seattle faithful, especially Kemp and Payton. The team crumbled the following season. …
11. Tommy Lasorda
Long before winning two championships and two Manager of the Year awards with the Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda was an undrafted hurler looking for a shot.
But in three Major League seasons, Lasorda took that opportunity and turned it into a 0-4 record with a 6.48 ERA. He had plenty of time to study the diamond from the bullpen.
Lasorda won two World Series, managed in two others, led the 2000 Olympic baseball team to a gold medal, and went off on an epic rant after a game in which the Mets’ Dave Kingman hit three home runs and drove in eight. Lasorda also tried to lobby Dodgers management to go with him instead of another left-handed pitcher, Sandy Koufax.
6. Maurice Flitcroft
Scoring a 49 over par, 121 at the 1976 Open (the worst ever in the tournament’s history) was all “chain-smoking shipyard crane-operator” Maurice Flitcroft had to do to cement his name in the record books.
A true legend.
5. Bob Uecker
Some know him as George Owens from the 1980 sitcom Mr. Belvedere, others as comically inebriated broadcaster Harry Doyle from Major League. But once upon a time, Bob Uecker was a mediocre catcher getting his feet wet in the Majors.
Even if he only hit .200, at least Uecker has a homerun off legendary southpaw Sandy Koufax to smile about. And he’s always smiling.