60 Photos That Capture A Different Side Of Sports History
By Jack Ripley | October 3, 2023
Jim Rice Carrying A Boy To The Dugout After He Was Hit With A Foul Ball, 1982
Any sports fan worth their salt will tell you that statistics and final scores are only half a story when it comes to our greatest pastimes. The most interesting pieces of trivia about our favorite games are the stories behind the stories, the myths and legends about our iconic heroes. Whether you like stories about pitchers throwing no-hitters with a head full of acid, or scams involving entire basketball teams, there’s something on here for you.
These photos showcase some of the most fascinating and vibrant moments in the history of sports. From baseball players that saved the day, to boxers who bit off more they can chew, if you love crazy sports stories you’re going to have a good time, now go long!
At a 1982 Red Sox game, second baseman Dave Stapelton hit a foul ball that ripped into the stands, smashing into a four-year-old boy’s face. Jim Rice, the designated hitter for the Red Sox rushed from the dugout to grab the boy and brought him into the team’s clubhouse. From there, the boy was transported to Boston Children’s Hospital where doctors were able to relieve the swelling on his brain.
The boy survived thanks to Rice’s quick thinking and although he had to spend five days in the hospital he made a complete recovery - although he told Sports Illustrated in 2017 that he has no memory of that fateful day.
Inside the crazy world of Dennis Rodman - the bad boy of basketball who married himself, allegedly been with 2,000 women and is 'soul mates' with Kim Jong-un.
Where do you even start with Dennis Rodman? Of course he’s a five time NBA champion and he lead the league in rebounds seven times between 1992 and 1998, but he also showed up to a book signing event for his memoir in a wedding dress and horse drawn carriage before announcing that he’d be marrying himself.
Rodman’s definitely one of the best defensive players that ever lived, with nearly 12,000 rebounds to his name, but he’s also friends with a North Korean dictator. Regardless of whether you like his style or not, you’ve got to admit that he’s had a wild ride.
In 1980, Rosie Ruiz won the Boston Marathon by taking the subway to a stop about a mile from the finish line.
Who says cheaters never win? During the 84th Boston Marathon in 1980 Rosie Ruiz appeared to have dominated the female category with a stunning time of 2:31:56, which at the time gave her the third-fastest time in a marathon for a woman, however there were multiple tip offs that Ruiz didn’t actually win the race.
Most notably, Ruiz wasn’t sweating, she wasn’t breathing heavily, and she didn’t look like she was in the right kind of shape to run a nearly 26 mile marathon. On top of that, Ruiz couldn’t remember anything about the marathon, and none of the other runners remembered seeing her on the course. There were two people who remember seeing Ruiz, a couple of Harvard students who saw her run out of a crowd half a mile away from the finish line. In 2000 Ruiz commented, “I ran the race.”
David Wells Threw A Perfect Game Against The Minnesota Twins While “Half Drunk” In 1998
It was Beanie Baby Day at Yankees Stadium on May 17, 1998 when David Wells stumbled to the mound “half drunk with bloodshot eyes, monster breath, and a skull-rattling hangover.” He’d been at a Saturday Night Live cast party until 5:30 AM and had slept maybe one hour, it wasn’t the ideal way to start a game but Wells was a pro so he suited up and did his job.
When Wells threw against the Minnesota Twins in ’98 he did so as if he was possessed. Every batter that stepped to the plate was sent back to the dug out with their tails between their legs, and most of them were probably sober. That’s got to be a shot to the ego.
In 1967, heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is escorted from the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station in Houston by Lt. Col. J. Edwin McKee, commandant of the station, after Ali refused Army induction.
On April 28, 1967 Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted into the US Army for service in Vietnam, saying, “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.” That didn’t sit well with the powers that be in the boxing commission. Ali was stripped of his stripped of his heavyweight title, banned from boxing for three years, sentenced to five years in prison, and fined $10,000.
Ali appealed the egregious jail time, but he was kept out of the ring for three years and didn’t return until 1970 when he whomped Jerry Quarry in the third round on October 26, 1970.
Iraq's Natiq Hashim advances with the ball during Iraq's first ever FIFA World Cup match, against Paraguay in 1986. If they lost, they had to face severe punishment from Uday Hussein.
It’s one thing to face the scorn of a nation if you lose a World Cup game, but can you imagine having to face the anger of a despot over a soccer match? Natik Hashim can, during the 1986 games he and his team were under strict orders to win at all cost from Uday Hussein, the eldest son of Saddam Hussein. While there’s no record of what kind of punishment the team would face, it must not have been that severe seeing as how the team lost every one of their games in the World Cup and lived to tell the tale. Still, it’s likely that the team would have performed better had they not had to worry about angering a wild card like Hussein.
Babe Ruth Lying Unconscious After Running Into A Wall, 1924
While playing the first of two games on July 5, 1924 Babe Ruth was running to catch a foul ball hit by a player for the Washington Senators, and boy did he have his eye on the ball. He was so concentrated getting this guy out that he smashed directly into a concrete wall and knocked himself out in the middle of the fourth inning.
Ruth knocked himself out completely with this hit, and things were so bad that the police had to stand around his body to keep bystanders away. After a few minutes Ruth came back to Earth and insisted that he continue playing. He finished the game and even got time on the field during game two.
Pat Tillman quit the NFL went to serve in the U.S. Army as an Army Ranger in the summer of 2002. Tillman completed several tours in combat before he was killed in action while on a mission in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.
This Pac-10 defensive player of the year in 1997 went onto play for the Arizona Cardinals from 1998 to 2001, but following the attacks on September 11, Tillman played his remaining games of the season and turned down a $3 million extension contact to join the U.S. Army. He and his brother - a professional baseball player - enlisted together and they each completed the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program in late 2002.
After being deployed to Afghanistan, Tillman was killed by friendly fire on April 22, 2004. That same year the NFL donated $250,000 to the United Service Organizations in the memory of Tillman.
Lithuanian Basketball Team Sponsored by Grateful Dead for Olympics.
Lithuania may not look like the kind of country that’s good at basketball, but their national team has had more success than most of the larger European nations that surround them. However by the early 1990s the country didn’t have enough money to send the team to the 1992 Summer Olympics. When Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead read about the team in the San Francisco Chronicle he convinced each of his band members to donate $5,000 a piece to the team.
The Lithuanian team soldiered into the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona where they sported tye dyed jerseys featuring the colors of their flag and a slam dunking skeleton logo reminiscent of the Dead’s emblem. The team ended up winning the Bronze medal at the games, beating the Unified Team for third place, and at the ceremony they wore their Grateful Dead jerseys.
Tom "Hollywood" Henderson Was High During Super Bowl XIII
When the Pittsburgh Steelers faced off against the Dallas Cowboys in 1979 at Super Bowl XIII this linebacker was intoxicated and completely soaring all game. At the time, Henderson says that he was so addicted to the white stuff that he wasn’t snorting it, but was instead inhaling it in liquid form through an inhaler he kept in his pants.
Henderson that this anesthetized his face, which is absolutely wild. The Cowboys didn’t win the game but Henderson had two big wins after this Super Bowl: First, he sobered up in the early ‘80s, and in 2000 he won a $28 million jackpot with the Texas Lottery.
Tonia Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were fierce rivals in 1994 Olympics. After Kerrigan finished practice at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, she was smashed in the thigh with a baton. The attacker was hired by Harding.
Take the most fierce sports rivalry you can think of and amplify it by 100 and you’ll get the antagonism between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. These two world class figure skaters were at the top of their respective games in the early ‘90s, but Harding had a chip on her shoulder and she thought the only way to climb to the top of the mountain was to get Kerrigan out of her way.
After the attack on Kerrigan, the XVII Olympic Winter Games in Gilloolehammer, Norway became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons. At the end of the day, Kerrigan went home with the Silver Medal, and Harding faded in and out of obscurity until a film of her life was made in 2017.
June 28, 1997 - Mike Tyson bites off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear.
Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II was billed as “The Sound and the Fury,” and it was a match for the WBA Heavyweight Championship at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was meant to be the fight to end all fights, and it a way it was. The previous match between these two ended in controversy when the fight was stopped in the 11th round, and Holyfield was named the new champ.
As the fight began there was no love lost between these two, with Holyfield head butting Tyson multiple times. These were deemed accidental but Tyson didn’t see it that way. In the third round Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear while the two were in a clinch hold. After a brief pause the fight resumed and Tyson bit Holyfield again. The fight was stopped but Tyson didn’t stop fighting. He charged Holyfield’s corner and tried to beat down everyone there. The two were separated and after mass confusion Holyfield was announced the winner of the bout. Tyson was permanently suspended from boxing.
Officials try to stop Katherine Switzer, the first woman to ever finish the Boston Marathon in 1967.
You’re reading this correctly, at one point in time women weren’t allowed to run the Boston Marathon, something that shouldn’t have anything to do with a person’s gender. In 1967 the marathon was a men’s only type thing, so when she ran, official Jock Semple (what a name) chased her down and tried to rip the number from her shirt.
Fortunately, Switzer’s boyfriend was running with her and pushed Semple to the ground. After she finished the race the Boston Athletic Association was furious, and one member even said that he would “spank her” if he was her father, but that didn’t deter Switzer. She later said:
I knew if I quit, nobody would ever believe that women had the capability to run 26-plus miles. If I quit, everybody would say it was a publicity stunt. If I quit, it would set women's sports back, way back, instead of forward. If I quit, I'd never run Boston. If I quit, Jock Semple and all those like him would win. My fear and humiliation turned to anger.
In a pre-Under Armour era, Fuzzy Thurston opted for alcoholic anti-freeze by pounding 10 vodkas prior to game time.
There’s something about O.G. football players that’s just straight up tough. Fuzzy Thurston is one of those monsters of a man who played in the first two Super Bowls - he’s a six time champion - and who didn’t a let a little something like the weather effect his performance at the 1967 NFL Championship Game, affectionately known as “The Ice Bowl.”
At the time, the temperature was −13 °F (−25 °C), and that’s not even counting the windchill. Thurston said that he drank "about ten vodkas" in order to keep warm during the game. How’s that for staying warm?
Duke University community was rocked and scarred by rape allegations surrounding members of the lacrosse team.
In 2006 three members of the Duke Lacrosse Team were falsely accused of rape by a woman who claimed that the three young men cornered her at a party for the team and forced her to perform sexual acts. During the ensuing court case, prosecutor Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong claimed that the rape had been a hate crime as well as sexual assault.
At the time the entire team was suspended, their season was canceled, and the head coach was forced to resign. However, one year later the three players were exonerated and reached a $60 million settlement with Duke University.
Tennis star Petra Kvitova enjoys comeback after knife attack in 2016.
Even though she was attacked by a knife wielding maniac at her home in the Czech Republic just prior to Christmas 2016,Petra Kvitová still managed to make her way back to the French Open in 2017. Kvitová was expected to be benched for six months due to the tendon and nerve injuries in her left hand, but she didn’t let a little B&E get her down.
With such an intense injury, and time away from the game, it makes sense that Kvitová would have to work her way back to her former stature, but in 2018 she played her way back into being one of the top seven players in the world.
Dock Ellis was scheduled to toe the rubber against the San Diego Padres for a Friday night game. So he figured that he was good to take a hit of LSD on the Thursday before.
Let’s say you’ve got a big meeting tomorrow, or even a big game, what do you do? Probably eat something healthy and get plenty of rest, right? Well not Dock Ellis. On June 12, 1970 this Pirates pitcher faced down the Padres with a head full of LSD and instead of flipping out he ended up scoring the only no-hitter of his career.
According to Ellis, the night before the game he dropped acid with a buddy and stayed up all night partying in Los Angeles. The next morning he thought that his game against the Padres was a day later so he took ANOTHER hit of LSD only to learn that he was due on the mound that afternoon. Instead of canceling, Ellis hopped on a plane to San Diego and made it to the stadium with enough time to warm up.
I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate.
The WWF Went To Trial Over Steroid Use In 1994
Even though the outcome is known before wrestlers get in the ring, that doesn’t mean that their athleticism and muscles are real, well, some of their muscles aren’t real. From 1984 to 1989 Dr. George Zahorian supplied steroids to performers, and in 1994 the US government subpoenaed as many big names as they could to determine whether or not Vince McMahon ordered his wrestlers to get illegally pumped up.
The biggest get was Hulk Hogan, the man who told his Hulkamaniacs to say their prayers and eat their vitamins. He admitted to taking steroids, but he stated that his boss never said that he had to.
Brandi Chastain spontaneous shirt-shedding moment after she made the winning penalty kick of the 1999 Womens World Cup to beat China.
Brandi Chastain is a two time time FIFA Women's World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold-medalist, but the one thing she’s always going to be remembered for is whipping her shirt off after scoring the final point in the 1999 Women’s World Cup Final against China. Even folks who aren’t big fans of soccer remember where they were when this penalty kick was scored. It was a huge moment for the country, and obviously it was a big feather in Chastain’s cap.
This moment of celebration is right up there with Phil Simms announcing that he’s going to Disney World, and it’s going to go down in history as one of the biggest moments in sports, let alone soccer.
Michael Irvin Was One Of The Hardest Partying Members Of The Dallas Cowboys, He Did Most Of It At The "White House"
While the Dallas Cowboys White House might look like a simple house from the outside, the walls on the inside have seen some things. It’s the place where the hardest partying members of the ‘90s iteration of the team went to do drugs and have wild parties. Allegedly, Michael Irvin even had cameras installed so he could see what was going on in every room.
At first it was kind of cool to have all these Cowboys around the neighborhood, but I got disenchanted real quickly. It was obvious what was going on, and it just didn't look right.
The Patriots were fined $1 million, had to give up draft picks and star quarterback Tom Brady was banned for four games for his part in the Deflategate scandal.
After the New England Patriots completely trounced the Indiana Colts during the 2015 AFL championship game, the Colts called foul. Following the game, the Colts suggested that Tom Brady and the Patriots were using balls that were deflated from their standard pressure of around 13 pounds per square inch which makes them slightly easier for the quarterback to control.
Throughout the investigation into Brady’s deflated balls there was scrutiny on the physics and weather conditions in which a football is inflated. At the end of the day Tom Brady was suspended without pay for four games in the following season, and despite winning an appeal, that was overturned. The Patriots still won the Super Bowl the next season.
Bruiser Brody Was Brutally Murdered In The Shower
Bruiser Brody was one of the most popular and feared heels in all of professional wrestling. A journeyman, he spent the ‘70s in the WWWF and in later he went to Japan to compete with both NJPW and AJPW. Standing at 6’ 8” and weighing nearly 300 lbs, Brody wasn’t someone to mess with.
However, on July 16, 1988, Brody was prepping for a match near San Juan, Puerto Rico when he was allegedly stabbed in the shower by José Huertas González, a fellow wrestler and booker. Wrestler Tony Atlas says that he saw González holding a knife, but the murder weapon was never found. It took paramedics so long to get Brody to the hospital that he passed away from loss of blood. González was acquitted in his trial after witnesses to the prosecution failed to appear.
American football player, O. J. Simpson was acquitted of the murder of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman after a lengthy, highly publicized criminal trial in 1995.
To say that the OJ Simpson trial was one of the most important events of the early ‘90s is an understatement. Prior to the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, Simpson was a nationally loved star who managed to make the jump from football - was the NFL’s MVP of 1973 and a five time Pro Bowl player - to acting. He was great in the Naked Gun movies and was working on a TV movie about Navy Seals when his life exploded.
After Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were found brutally murdered outside of Brown’s condo on the morning of June 13, 1994 Simpson was immediately sought after as a person of interest. Four days later he lead the LAPD on a low speed chase through the streets of Los Angeles, and the court case began in November of that year.
It took about 11 months for the case to shake out, and in that time the trial became a total fiasco, complete with catch phrases, press conferences, and an acquittal for Simpson. However, in a 1996 civil trial Simpson was sued for wrongful death, found “responsible” for the murder of Brown and Goldman, and forced to pay $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Vijay Singh Tried To Lower His Golf Score In The Early '80s
In the 1980s Vijay Singh was riding high on the fact that he’d turned pro at a young age. However, while he was on the PGA tour of Asia he made a huge blunder. Instead of playing the game and eating a bad score like so many have before him, he tried to alter his score card. Supposedly, he was one over par and tried to change his score so he was one under.
Singh didn’t get outlandish with his scoring change, but none the less he was still caught and banned from the Asian tour. He claims that he didn’t do anything wrong, and that even if he did he should have just been disqualified.
Monica Seles Was Attacked While She Was In The Middle Of A Game
Monica Seles is one of the most accomplished tennis players to ever step foot on a court, be it clay or grass. In 1990 at the age of 16 she was the youngest competitor to enter the French Open, and she won eight Grand Slam singles titles before her 20th birthday. Unfortunately, three of her four Grand Slam wins were against competitor Steffi Graf.
On April, 30 1993, Günter Parche, a fan of Graf jumped from the middle of the crowd onto the court in the middle of a quarterfinal match and buried a boning knife between Seles’ shoulder blade. Even though Seles healed quickly she took another two years to return to professional tennis.
Bobby Layne was a post-World War II era quarterback for the Detroit Lions who was sneaking swigs of alcohol at halftime speeches.
Bobby Layne is the kind of player that you just don’t see today. He played quarterback for 15 seasons, and 8 of those were spent on the Detroit Lions from 1950 - 1958. He was a hard scrabble player with a penchant for drink, and he didn’t care who knew about it. Not only did Layne like to drink, but Detroit legend says that when he was on a tear the QB would pull his car up to the front door of a bar to cut down on parking time.
Supposedly, the one time Layne was arrested for drunk driving he was able to get out of the charge by explaining that the slur in his voice was just the way people from Texas spoke. A true legend.
1988 Calgary Winter Olympics - The Jamaica team - Dudley Stokes, Devon Harris, Michael White, Chris Stokes
Just because you’ve seen Cool Runnings doesn’t mean that you know the story behind the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team. That year, four members of the Jamaican army were recruited to compete in Calgary, Canada against a series of ruthless athletes trained in winter climates. Jamaican bobsled team member says that while the movie presented the men as outcasts they were actually welcome with open arms by the Olympic community.
The team had to use borrowed equipment to compete, and on the second day of the four-man event their sled fell apart while they were moving at 85 mph. Mid-run, the sled flipped on top of the team and they were forced to move it off the track. Even though they didn’t take home a medal, Jamaica’s still competing in the event.
Alice Hawthorne was killed by a bomb at the Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta on July 27. More than 100 people had been injured.
The 1996 summer Olympics in Atlanta were turned into total chaos when a 40-pound bomb full of nails and screws was detonated in Centennial Olympic Park around 1:30 in the morning on July 27. That morning two people died due to the explosion and over 100 people were injured. The park remained closed for three days while the authorities combed the scene.
At the time the sound of the explosion was caught by a German news crew that was in the middle of an interview with swimmer Janet Evans. No one was caught for the bombing until 2003 when a rookie North Carolina police officer caught Eric Rudolph - the FBI’s number one perpetrator - behind a Save-A-Lot.
Two athletes raise their fists on the Olympic podium in 1968 Summer Olympics - Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
Is there a more evocative image of the 1968 Summer Olympics then that of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists in a black power salute as they accept their medals on the podium after the 200 m race? Both Smith and Carlos were protesting black poverty and showing that they were in solidarity with blue collar workers with their show of strength.
The International Olympic Committee wasn’t happy about the protest, and said that it was unfit for an apolitical forum like the Olympics. In response both Smith and Carlos were suspended from the US team and kicked out of the Games. Interestingly enough, members of the IOC who were present at the ’68 games were also at the ’36 Berlin Olympics and they had no qualms with German players using the Nazi salute.
MLB legend Darryl Strawberry revealed what he was actually doing in between innings when he played on the New York Mets in the 1980s.
When athletes say they have their “eyes on the prize” it usually means that they’re focussed on winning a game. But in the case of Darryl Strawberry, he was trying to score in a completely different way. In 2017 this four time World Series champ said that his addiction was so bad that he was often sneaking into the dug out to hook up with fans during games:
I would go between innings, and stuff like that and run back and have a little party going on. You know, I thought it was pretty cool. That was just the addiction, the drive.
He even said that some of his teammates covered for him.
The Boston College Point Shaving Scandal, 1978
The 1978 - 1979 Boston College basketball team wound up in hot water when they were bribed to make sure they kept their points within a required margin, otherwise known as point shaving, so gamblers who weren’t in on the take wouldn’t be able to cover the spread. It’s unclear how much money the players made, but it’s theorized that some players made as much as $250,000 in one season.
No one would have known about the scandal if Henry Hill, an associate of the Lucchese crime family, hadn’t been arrested on drug trafficking charges in 1980. Hill turned state’s evidence and while answering questions about drug trafficking he accidentally brought up the Boston’s point shaving scheme.
Golfer John Daly claims he played better drunk.
John Daly is the kind of golfer that makes people who don’t like the most laid back sport really get into it. Daly has often said that he plays better drunk because the pressure’s off when he’s three sheets to the wind. Daly explained:
I played a lot hungover. I played a few rounds where I was still drunk from the night before. One time [during a PGA Tour event], I played the front nine, drank four Coors Lights at the turn, then shot like four or five under on the back nine and finished seventh on the tournament…those beers released all the pressure.
The Final Moments Of The 1972 Olympics Basketball Game Were Utterly Heartbreaking
It’s an understatement to say that the 1972 Munich Olympics were terrible for pretty much everyone involved, but the US Men’s basketball team definitely had a bad run. In their game against the Soviet Union the US had took a 50 - 49 lead in the game with three seconds on the clock. When play restarted the Soviet team called a timeout with one second left.
Rather than going through with the the game the way it’s meant to be played, the British secretary of FIBA had the clock set back to the three seconds which allowed the Soviet team another chance to take the brick to the net and beat the US team by one point. To this day the US team has never accepted their Silver Medals.
Gary McClain Met President Reagan While High
Even though President Reagan was all about “Just Say No,” Gary McClain was all about “Just Say Yes.” While playing college at Villanova in 1981 he played point guard on the 1985 team that defeated Georgetown for the NCAA title. This win earned the team a visit to the White House where the members of the squad met with Reagan.
McClain admitted to snorting Columbian feel good powder in a Sports Illustrated article two years later, but says that he wasn’t using during his team’s win against Georgetown. At the time McClain claimed that his coach, Rollie Massimino, was well aware of his addiction.
Waiting for evacuation at the damaged Superdome after Hurricane Katrina - 2005.
After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the gulf coast in 2005 the Louisiana Superdome became one of the few refuges for people effected by the torrential downpour and flooding from the intense storm. Unfortunately, the Superdome had suffered damage to its roof during the storm that made things uncomfortable for everyone staying there.
On August 29, 2005 reports came in that there were multiple holes in the roof of the Superdome and that rain was filling the interior of the stadium. On top of the lack of organization in the dome the water issue was enough to make people want to seek shelter elsewhere.
Mark McGwire, the former Cardinals slugger hit a whopping 70 home runs in 1998, but wasn’t clean when he did it.
The Great Home Run Chase of 1998 was a miraculous time for baseball. People who didn’t care about RBIs or ERAs were suddenly tuning in to see if Mark McGwire was going to knock another ball out of the park. Millions of people across the country joined together to watch McGwire and his home run nemesis Sammy Sosa wrack up runs, except it was all a lie.
At the time McGwire was taking pills called androstenedione to build his muscle mass and help him hit harder. At the time the pills were legal, but they still tainted his home run record. It’s an unfortunate time in sports history.
The legendary Babe Ruth was known for his alcohol abuse, binge-eating, women and gambling, along with reckless driving and lavish spending.
Even while he was alive, Babe Ruth was more myth than man. Even though he was a 12 time home run leader in the American League and a 7 time World Series champion, his appetite for food, women, and alcohol were even more legendary than his career statistics. Supposedly before a game with the White Sox, the Chicago team took Ruth out and got him so liquored up that they didn’t think he’d be able to play. They were wrong, and he showed up with no sleep and absolutely trounced the team before going off in search of more booze.
The man also loved his food. In April 1925 the Bambino allegedly ate somewhere between 12 and 18 hot dogs before passing out on a train. He woke up a week later in St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York.
Space Jam - Bill Murray, Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and Lola Bunny - 1996
Who can forget when Michael Jordan joined forces with the Looney Tunes and Bill Murray to take on the Monstars in a game that had the fates of the tunes on the line? In 1996 Michael Jordan returned from his time in minor league baseball to star in the massive hit Space Jam. It may have seemed silly at the time for Jordan to appear in a cartoon basketball movie, but it became a massive hit, spawning merch and one of the biggest soundtracks of the ‘90s.
The film was released shortly after his return to the NBA, and as he was in the middle of a second three-peat, it proved that he could do no wrong when it came to success.
Tiger Woods at the US Open in 2009 before the controversy surrounding claims of an extramarital affair and an accident in Orlando, Fla. after running his Escalade into a fire hydrant outside his house.
After undergoing knee surgery in 2008, Woods took a break from golf to recover for at the rest of the year. When he returned in 2009 he played well, but he didn’t win any major cups, the first time that had happened in years.
That same year, following the news that he’d been taking part in a series of extra marital affairs, Woods took a self-imposed break from golf to work on his marriage. His plan didn’t work out and he ended up returning to the game in 2010. While it took a while for Woods to wok his way back to where he was, in 2018 he won his first tournament in five years.
Tony Hawk, 1988.
Before he was routinely hitting 900s, and before he had his own video games, Tony Hawk was a 20 year old member of the Vision Pro Skate Team. He was only a few years into being a pro but he’d already starred in more than 10 skate videos and appeared in movies like Thrashin’ and Police Academy 4, and this wasn’t even the peak of his career.
According to Hawk, his parents supported his foray into skateboarding because it helped him work of excess energy. As a young man he was constantly freaking out and needed some way to work off steam. Who knew that working off steam could be so lucrative?
Dennis Boyd Used Every Day Of The 1986 Major League Season
While Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd was pitching for the Red Sox during their 1986 season he won 16 games for the team and was an all around monster on the mound. Boyd claims that while he was destroying batters he was also destroying his body. He says that he used every day during the ’86 season and that he was using it prior to even being in the major leagues.
The wild claim that Boyd makes is that the Red Sox management knew he was using, and that’s why he was never popped by a drug test. Even if that’s true, the Red Sox weren’t a bunch of dummies and didn’t let him play during Game 7 of the 1986 World Series.
Basketball star Bill Walton is a "dead-head."
As a two time NBA champion and the 1978 NBA MVP Bill Walton has done it all. He’s won championships in multiple decades, first with the Trail Blazers and then with the Celtics, and he’s been inducted into the basketball hall of fame. He’s also seen the Grateful Dead live more than 800 times, which is a lot for a guy who was pretty busy throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s.
After releasing his book Back From The Dead, Walton explained to the AV Club how he got into the band, and why he keeps going back for more:
I started going when I was in high school. I was 15. It was the Summer Of Love. I went to my first show, got right up front and never left. The incredible excitement, the family, the spirit, the hope, the happiness, all the different things I love and live for in life are there. The joy, the optimism, the teamwork, the experimentation, the exploration, the curiosity. No band has inspired more artwork, no band has inspired more books. No band has ever inspired a more loyal following and I’m involved in all of that stuff.
Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier when he became the first black athlete to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century.
By 1947 Jackie Robinson had been playing baseball for two years before the LA Dodgers called him up to the majors less than a week before the start of the season. Not only was Robinson being asked to play as the the first African American in the major league, but he was having to do so under a time crunch. On April 15, Robinson started as the first baseman for the Dodgers, and he was the first person of color to play for the league since 1880.
Some members of the Dodgers refused to play with Robinson, but the team’s manager stuck by his prospect saying:
I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a f*ckin' zebra. I'm the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What's more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded.
In January 2013, during a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, beginning in the mid-1990s.
Throughout his cycling career Lance Armstrong was one of the shining beacons of hope for American excellence. However after he started racking up win and win he started to be dogged by accusations of performance enhancing drug use. In a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong admitted to taking part in a doping scandal that’s completely ruined his reputation.
During the interview Armstrong apologized for deceiving his doubters, and admitted that he bullied cyclists that called him out on his ill gotten gains. Even though Armstrong came clean about the doping his honesty didn’t earn him any new fans. In fact, he ended up mired in several lawsuits over his actions.
On July 17, 2007, Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Michael Vick was indicted by the federal government in connection with a dog fighting operation.
Michael Vick has always been a magnet for trouble. After signing with the Atlanta Falcons in 2001 he was involved in multiple misdemeanors that are unfortunately common in the world of sports, but they were nowhere near as terrible as the accusations brought against Vick for the dog fighting that was happening on his property in Virginia.
According to the federal government, Vick financed and personally took part in dog fights and executions that followed. In a 2007 court appearance Vick admitted to killing 6 - 8 dogs following a poor performance. He received a 23 month sentence that he served until May 2009.
Pete Rose all time hit leader in baseball banned for life for betting on baseball in 1989.
Whether you agree with his gambling or not, you have to admit that Pete Rose is one of the all time greats. He was a 17 time All-Star, a three time World Series champion and a World Series MVP in 1975. Aside from being one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Rose is also one of the most prominent gamblers who’s ever lived.
Rose’s trouble started while he was managing the Cincinnati Reds from 1988 to 1989. According to the Dowd Report Rose bet on at least 52 Reds games in 1987 where he wagered anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000 a day. He was swiftly and permanently banned for his actions.
Mickey Mantle was a notorious boozer which makes his on-field accomplishments all the more impressive.
Not every sports star is a straight laced Boy Scout. in fact, many of them are quite the opposite. Take Mickey Mantle for example: He was a seven time World Series champion, he was a 20 time All-Star and he lead the American League in home runs four times in six years, and the entire time he was tallying up accomplishments Mantle was a stone cold drunk.
While he was still alive, Mantle wrote a piece for Sports Illustrated about his alcoholism where he detailed his antics, one night he even climbed out the window of his 22nd floor hotel room with Yankees manager Billy Martin:
One night in Detroit after quite a few drinks, we went back to our hotel room, and Billy said, ‘Let's climb out on the ledge and see what's going on in the other rooms.’ We happened to be staying on the 22nd floor. He climbed out the window, and I was right behind him. Well, the stunt got old pretty fast because nobody's lights were on—and I'm afraid of heights. But the ledge was so narrow that we couldn't turn around, so we had to crawl all the way around the building to get back to our room.
In 1991, basketball legend Magic Johnson announces he has HIV and is leaving the NBA.
The sports world was shook in 1991 when this five time NBA champion and point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers announced that he tested positive for HIV. Initially Johnson said he was unsure how he contracted the disease, but he later admitted to sleeping with a “harem” of women while he was on the road and that he contracted it from one of them.
After announcing his status, Johnson went onto play with the Dream Team in the 1992 Summer Olympics. Even though he played infrequently because of his knee problems, Johnson still averaged about 8 points a game.
Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake perform at half-time at Super Bowl XXXVIII. The 2004 Super Bowl halftime show gave birth to the phrase “wardrobe malfunction’’
There’s really not much else to remember about Super Bowl XXXVIII aside from the Half Time controversy with Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson. Sure, it’s been referred to as the “greatest Super Bowl of all time” but when Justin Timberlake accidentally pulled off a piece of Janet Jackson’s clothing all of the details of the game went out the window.
Even though everyone lost their minds over a single bared breast, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim notes that after the video started being shared across the internet and Janet Jackson became the biggest search term of the year he decided to create YouTube in order to make video sharing a bit easier. Even though many have claimed that the act was staged, Jackson maintains that the entire thing was an accident.
Track and field star Marion Jones finally admitted to using steroids prior to the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Marion Jones is an athlete who’s competed in both track and field as well as in the WNBA for the Tulsa Shock. At the Sydney Olympics in 2000 she won three gold medals and two bronze medals across five different track and field events. Specifically, she dominated in the 100 and 200 meter sprint. After the games her ex-husband testified against her, saying that he saw her using steroids in their flat in Olympic Village.
Claims of steroid and performance enhancing drug use have followed her since high school, specifically because she trains with coaches and athletes who’ve failed drug tests. Jones finally admitted that she used performance enhancing drugs in the 2000 Summer Olympics, and on October 8, 2007 she turned over her five medals.
On March 25, 1982, Wayne Gretzky in just his third NHL season became the first NHL player to record 200 points in a single season.
There’s a reason everyone knows the name Wayne Gretzky, he’s the Michael Jordan of hockey, and the player who brought the game to the masses. In 1982 Gretzky topped a record that had been standing for 35 years when he bet the 50 goals in 50 games record by scoring 50 goals in 39 games. But Gretzky didn’t stop there. By the end of the season he scored 212 points in 80 games, something that’s never been replicated.
1982 really was Gretzky’s year. Aside from breaking every record that he could, he was named “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated and it would only take a few years before he was in the NHL competing for the Stanley Cup.
Thick smog seen on the street of the Olympic Green in Beijing in 2008. China seeded the air to push out the massive smog.
Athletes from all over the world were worried about taking part in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 because of the massive amount of pollutants in the air in China. When the country put in their bid for the Olympics in 2001 they said that they were going to lower the air pollution in Beijing, but that’s easier said than done.
While Beijing cloud seeded to fight smog, several teams made sure that their athletes got to the city as late as possible so as not to damage their lungs while training. Luckily, the air quality was nowhere near as bad as people thought it would be during the games.
Starting with Bryant's rookie season in 1996, and continuing throughout both players' careers, Kobe and Shaq traded barbs, often through the media.
When Shaq and Kobe were both on the Lakers they were supposed to be a two man wrecking crew. Instead, they seemed to get in more dust ups with each other than they did on the court. The two often traded jabs in the press, and at one point Kobe even said that Shaq was “out of shape.” That’s a pretty mean thing to say about your teammate, no?
When asked about the animosity between these two players, coach Phil Jackson said that the beef was due to Kobe doubting Shaq’s drive:
The reason Kobe was unhappy with Shaq (O'Neal) was (because of) his drive. Kobe believed Shaq didn’t care enough about the game.
Stanley Wilson Parties A Little Too Hard Prior To Super Bowl XXIII
Stanley Wilson was a running back and major part of the Cincinnati Bengals offense. He played with the team for five years, and despite his prowess on the field he had an out of control drug problem that ended his NFL career completely. Bengals offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet explained that the night before Super Bowl XXIII Wilson was found in no shape to play:
Sam (Wyche) sent Jim Anderson and I think Bill Connelly, the trainer at that time, up to Stanley's room and they found him in the bathtub naked, intoxicated out of his mind. So they got him dressed, called the paramedics, we're taking him to the hospital, and he ran away. He literally ran down the steps of the hotel and gone before he got in the ambulance. I never saw him again. They didn't find him for three or four days, I guess.
The Bengals lost the game, 20-16, and Wilson never played another NFL game.
Nolan Ryan Headlocks Robin Ventura in 1993.
Ask anyone in Texas and they’ll tell you that not only is Nolan Ryan one of the greatest pitchers known to man, but he’s not someone you want to mess with. The man played for 27 years and in that time he won over 300 games and struck people out left and right. However during Ryan’s final season Chicago White Sox third baseman Robin Ventura decided to test Ryan’s mettle.
In the middle of the game, Ryan accidentally beaned Ventura in the shoulder and rather than walking it off the batter charged the mound, but he got more than he bargained for when Ryan put him in a headlock and started punching him in the head.
Todd Marinovich Used At Halftime When He Played For The Raiders
In 1988 Sports Illustrated said that Todd Marinovich was “bred to be a superstar.” The boy’s father had him working out as a child and he was essentially running passing drills before he could talk, but all of that training and pressure eventually caused Marinovich to crack. By the time he was USC he was getting high, and when he was hired as the QB for the Raiders he was injecting "H" at half time.
Marinovich was meant to be a kind of cyborg quarterback, someone who couldn’t be stopped, but when he was pushed to the edge he fell right off, according to Sports Illustrated he’s still going in and out of rehab.
The Black Sox Scandal of 1919 Saw Eight Members Of The Chicago White Sox Take A Dive
The 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds played host to one of the wildest cases of match fixing that’s ever occurred in baseball. During the series the Rothstein crime syndicate bribed eight players from the White Sox (hence the term “Black Sox”) to throw the game in favor of the Reds.
The best fixes in sports history are supposed to go by without anyone noticing, which is not what happened with the 1919 World Series. Out of nowhere a ton of people started betting on the Reds, and most of the players knew and wanted to be in on the fix, meaning that the whole thing was basically a wash.
After a trial in 1921, eight players were banned from the Major League, including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who later recanted his admission of guilt.
A Stranger Showers With The Steelers After Super Bowl XIII
If you’re a huge sports then you know that feeling of joy when your favorite team accomplishes something big, like winning Super Bowl XIII. When something like that happens don’t you just want to party with them? Well one guy actually did. After the Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII one fan made his way back to the team’s locker room and showered with the guys.
The unidentified man strutted straight into the showers, undressed and showered with the Steelers, and in an LA Times interview NFL Films’ Steve Sabol said that when he asked lineman “Mean” Joe Greene who the guy was he didn’t know.