The All-Injury Sports Hall of Fame Team

Eric NewmanCorrespondent IIIMarch 9, 2012

The All-Injury Sports Hall of Fame Team

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    How glamorous would it be to retire in your 40s? 30s? 20s even? What a luxury, what a life!

    Yet for athletes, work is literally play, and the idea of an early retirement is a source of dread. 

    But being a professional athlete is gambling with your health; think of all those bats swinging, those projectiles flying, all that sliding, tackling, hitting and leaping.

    Muscles are pulled. Tendons are torn. Bones are broken. Careers are ended. Dreams shattered.

    It can happen to the old, to the young, to the rookies and to the veterans, to anybody who still has some game in him. 

    Click on and meet the team.

50. Tavian Banks

1 of 51

    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1998-1999

    Team Affiliations: Jacksonville Jaguars

    Age of Retirement: 25

    Injury: Knee injury

    After an outstanding college career with The University of Iowa, Banks was picked up by the Jaguars in the fourth round of the 1998 NFL draft.

    Sports journalist Alfie Crow describes Banks as having "home run-threat ability, speed and elusiveness."

    A late hit by Atlanta cornerback Ray Buchanan shredded Bank's knee and ended his career.

49. Greg Oden

2 of 51

    Sport: Basketball

    Pro Years: 2007-?

    Team Affiliations: Portland Trail Blazers

    Age of Retirement: 24?

    Injury: knees, knees, knees (he's had five knee surgeries to date)

    It could be a bit premature to add G.O. to the Injury Hall of Fame Team, but with his fragile knees, it seems fairly certain he'll be one of the upcoming inductees.

    Jason Best of The Oregonian wrote this: 

    "Although Blazers executives would not say this is the end of the Oden era, the chances Oden plays again in Portland, or anywhere in the NBA, are doubtful at best."

48. Joe Worsley

3 of 51

    Sport: Rugby

    Pro Years: 1993-2011

    Team Affiliations: London Wasps, English National Team, British and Irish Lions

    Age of Retirement: 34

    Injury: neck injury

    Worsley was a decorated player with some amazing career achievements. Among them is this, as written by Brendan Gallagher of The Telegraph

    "By common consent there has never been a better individual performance in a Heineken Cup final than the defensive effort he put in for Wasps at the 2004 showpiece against Toulouse when he was credited with 35 tackles." 

47. Monty Stratton

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    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 1934-1938

    Team Affiliations: Chicago White Sox

    Age of Retirement: 26

    Injury: Gunshot wound to leg—required amputation

    "Gander" Stratton was showing promise as a young pitcher for the Chicago White Sox. But a hunting accident at age 25 cost him his right leg.

46. Nick Eddy

5 of 51

    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1967-1972

    Team Affiliations: Detroit Lions 

    Age of Retirement: 28

    Injury: Chronic knee injury

    Nick was a big star at Notre Dame.

    In 1966, he was a serious Heisman contender.

    The Lions drafted him in the second round, and all signs pointed toward a long, promising career in the NFL.

    But his knee injury worsened, and after a respectable debut, his career fizzled. 

45. Noah Lowry

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    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 2003-2007

    Team Affiliations: San Francisco Giants

    Age of Retirement: 27

    Injury: multiple strains, some resulting from thoracic outlet syndrome (circulatory problem)

    Some questions and accusations have come forth regarding a misdiagnosis and mistreatment of Lowry's injury. 

    For a while, there was some press about Lowry making an MLB comeback after another surgical procedure.

    One article even quoted Lowry's agent as saying, "Both of [Lowry's] doctors are confident that when they do this surgery, Noah is going to be able to pitch for another 10 years."

44. Steve Moore

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    Sport: Hockey

    Pro Years: 2001-2004

    Age of Retirement: 25

    Injury: three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a concussion and other injuries

    Moore's career ended very early with an infamous punch to the back of the head by Todd Bertuzzi, then of the Vancouver Canucks. 

    $38 million lawsuit Moore has filed against Bertuzzi may go to trial in September 2012.

43. Yuki Nakai

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    Sport: Mixed Martial Arts

    Pro Years: About 1992-1995

    Age of Retirement: 24

    Injury: Gouged eye resulting in partial loss of sight

    In an infamous bout at the 1995 Vale Tudo Japan Open, Dutch fighter Gerard Gordeau illegally gouged Nakai's eye.

    The injury and resulting infection cost Nakai his vision in that eye and his fighting career.

    Although he did go on to fight twice more the same day, even winning his next fight with a bandage over his eye.

    Nakai went on to coach. One of his pupils was DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki.

42. Jay Williams

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    Sport: Basketball

    Pro Years: 2002-2003

    Team Affiliations: Chicago Bulls 

    Age of Retirement: 22 (though tried to make comebacks up through 2010)

    Injury: Knee and pelvis (resulting from motorcycle accident)

    Williams was one of the greatest players to ever come out of Duke. The school even retired his jersey number shortly after he graduated.

    His rookie season with the Bulls wasn't stellar, but many felt it was a respectable enough start. 

    Some feel he may have gone on to become one of the greatest point guards of his era.

41. David Busst

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    Sport: Soccer

    Pro Years: 1991-1996

    Team Affiliations: Moor Green, Coventry City

    Age of Retirement: 28

    Injury: severe leg injury

    Busst was in the early stages of what would have likely been a long and impressive career as a defender when he got what many consider the most horrific injury in soccer history—both his tibula and his fibula snapped in two. Bone pierced skin, and a deluge of blood soaked the field.

    Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel got a front-and-center view of the gory incident and required counseling afterward.

    Busst underwent 22 surgical procedures to save his leg; his career was beyond saving.

40. Michael Watson

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    Sport: Boxing

    Pro Years: 1984-1991

    Age of Retirement: 26

    Injury: Blood clot in brain

    Watson received his injury in a 1991 WBO super middleweight title fight with Chris Eubank. Shortly after Eubanks connected with an uppercut to the chin, Watson fell unconscious.

    A couple of major medical botch-ups ensured:

    1) It took 14 minutes for Watson to get stretchered out of the ring.

    2) He was taken to a hospital that didn't even have a neurological unit.

    Watson remained in a coma for 40 days, had six brain operations and was wheelchair-bound for six years.

    He never regained his boxing career, but in 2003, he ran a marathon

    Good friend Eubanks was on hand to run him in the last mile. 

39. Mark Fidrych

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    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 1976-1980

    Team Affiliations: Detroit Tigers

    Age of Retirement: 26

    Injury: Torn rotator cuff

    "The Bird" was the 1976 AL Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star.

    He was loved as much for his silly antics on the field (talking to the ball, grooming the pitcher's mound) as he was for his pitching talent. 

38. Dwight Eisenhower

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    Sport: Football

    Varsity Years: 1912 

    Team Affiliations: Army (West Point)

    Age of Retirement: 22

    Injury: Knees

    Yeah that's right, Ike. The five-star WWII general. The Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe.

    US President No. 34. 

    Well, before all that, Eisenhower was a running back and a linebacker at West Point, and it looked like he would be a big star.

    In a matchup that is now the thing of legends, West Point played undefeated Carlisle on November 9, 1912. Carlisle's star player? Just a young fellow named JIM THORPE.

    According to author Randy Snow, Eisenhower and a teammate tackled Thorpe; the collision was so powerful that all three men lay sprawled out on the ground for a while afterward.

37. Allan Houston

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    Sport: Basketball

    Pro Years: 1993-2005

    Team Affiliations: Detroit Piston, New York Knicks

    Age of Retirement: 34

    Injury: knee injuries

    A classic case of injuries robbing an athlete of what should have been a truly memorable career. 

    Even with his injuries, Houston had his moments. Some rank him as the best Knicks' player of the 2000-2009 decade. But really, is that saying much?

36. Mark Prior

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    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 2002-2006

    Team Affiliations: Chicago Cubs

    Age of Retirement: Although Prior is listed as a free agent and not officially retired, he hasn't thrown a Big-League pitch since 2006 when he was 26 years old.

    Injury: Shoulder injury

    Prior had a few good years with the Cubs. In 2006, he made the National League All-Star team and finished third in the Cy Young voting.

    Subsequent shoulder injuries have kept him from making an MLB comeback.

35. Graham Dilley

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    Sport: Cricket

    Pro Years: 1977-1992

    Team Affiliations: Kent, Natal, Worcestershire, England National Team

    Age of Retirement: 33

    Injury: back, neck and knee injuries

    Dilley was famous for his performance—together with Ian Botham—in the 1981 Headingley Test series that led to an improbable win for England.

34. Tony Roche

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    Sport: Tennis

    Active Years: 1966-1980

    Age of Retirement: 35

    Injury: Shoulder and elbow injuries

    Roche finished in the top 10 for six consecutive years. 

    In 1977 at age 31, he played in the Davis Cup for Australia. It was 10 years after he had first represented his country in the tournament. Opening day, he upset Italian powerhouse Adriano Panatta and helped pave the way for a 3-1 Australia victory.

    Once injuries forced him to retire, he went on to coach a few players you just may have heard of: Ivan Lendl, Patrick Rafter and Roger Federer.

33. Mack Strong

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1993-2007

    Team Affiliations: Seattle Seahawks

    Age of Retirement: 36

    Injury: herniated disk in neck

    Possibly one of the only uplifting stories of retirement on this list.

    Strong was an undrafted free agent out of Georgia. He went on to have a career that no one would have thought possible.

    His injury didn't affect his lifestyle, but continued playing could have aggravated it and lead to paralysis.

    Mack retired with these words

    "I've given every ounce inside of me to football. I felt like I gave every ounce I had, so I have no regrets."

32. Derek Redmond

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    Sport: Men's Athletics (Sprinting)

    Active Years: 1985-1992 

    Age of Retirement: 26

    Injury: torn hamstring

    At age 19, Redmond obliterated the British 400-meter record, and big things followed: He was part of the gold medal winning 4x100 relay teams in the 1986 Commonwealth Games, the 1986 European Championship and the 1991 World Championships.

    In 1992, he represented England in the Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

    His career-ending race is a model of both tragedy and inspiration. 

31. Mark Bavaro

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1985-1990, 1992-1994

    Team Affiliations: NY Giants, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles

    Age of Retirement: 31

    Injury: knee injury

    How can you not admire a guy who can get 12 extra yards off a reception by dragging a player along with him? 

    Bavaro, a fourth-round draft pick from Notre Dame wowed the NFL when he replaced injured tight end Zeke Mowatt at the start of the 1985 season. 

    Bavaro continued to play a great game through 1990 and was instrumental in the Giants' win over Buffalo in Superbowl XXV.

    His knee woes worsened in the ensuing years, and after two years with Philadelphia, he retired.

30. Billy Collins Jr.

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    Sport: Boxing

    Pro Years: 1981-1983

    Age of Retirement: 21

    Injury: Torn iris/blurred vision

    Collins' injury was the result of one of the most sinister deeds in sports history.

    On June 16, 1983, rising star middle weight Billy Collins fought 10 rounds with Luis Resto at Madison Square Garden.

    Collin's face was so misshapen by the end of the fight (check it out at time code 10:54 of this video of the fight) that his father/trainer was immediately suspicious.

    Turns out that the padding had been removed from Resto's gloves; Collins took 10 rounds of bare-knuckle punishment.

    Collins' career ended, Resto went to prison.

29. Penny Hardaway

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    Sport: Basketball

    Pro Years: 1993-2007

    Team Affiliations: Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Miami Heat

    Age of Retirement: 36

    Injury: Arthritic knees

    Hardaway falls into that category of player whose career was dogged by injuries.

    He fought through it, put up some great numbers, but eventually, the knee pain affected his game too much, and he retired.

28. Chad Pennington

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 2000-2010

    Team Affiliations: NY Jets, Miami Dolphins

    Age of Retirement: 34

    Injury: multiple, though the latest was a torn anterior cruciate ligament (from playing in a pickup basketball game)

    When Pennington was well, he shined (think of the Jets in '02, '04 and '06), but let's just say the sun hasn't come out too often in his world.

    Pennington is considering yet another comeback; he's expressed interest in backing up Sanchez with the Jets.

27. Yao Ming

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    Sport: Basketball

    Pro Years: 1997-2011

    Team Affiliations: 上海大鲨鱼, Houston Rockets

    Age of Retirement: 30

    Injury: multiple lower body injuries including ankle and foot injuries

    Yao is credited with single-handedly popularizing the NBA in Asia

26. Joe Namath

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1965-1977

    Team Affiliations: NY Jets, LA Rams

    Age of Retirement: 34

    Injury: Damaged cartilage in knees

    Though Broadway Joe is often cited as an overrated athlete, one has to wonder how much longer and better he could have played with a healthy set of knees. 

25. Norman Whiteside

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    Sport: Soccer

    Pro Years: 1982-1991

    Team Affiliations: Manchester United, Everton

    Age of Retirement: 27

    Injury: Recurring knee injury

    Whiteside was a soccer prodigy. In the 1982, he beat Pelé's 1958 record as the youngest player to play in a World Cup final match. 

    According to one bio of Big Norm, he "was lethal in the air and could shoot with both power and accuracy. He was also never afraid to try something different or unexpected making him a constant threat to opposing defences."

24. Jamal Anderson

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1994-2001

    Team Affiliations: Atlanta Falcons

    Age of Retirement: 31

    Injury: knee injury

    Part of Super Bowl XXXII's "marquee matchup" was Atlanta's star running back Anderson vs. Denver star running back Terrell Davis (No. 21 on this list).

    A 2001 knee injury ended his career.

    Now, his career consists of emitting angry tweets when someone copies his "Dirty Bird" celebration dance.

23. Joe Theismann

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1971-1985

    Team Affiliations: Toronto Argonauts, Washington Redskins

    Age of Retirement: 36

    Injury: compound fracture of the tibia and shattered fibula

    Theismann's impressive career came to an end in "The Most Shocking Moment in NFL History."

22. Tony Conigliaro

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    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 1964-1967, 1969-1971, 1975

    Team Affiliations: Boston Red Sox, California Angels

    Age of Retirement: 30

    Injury: retina damage, limiting vision

    Conigliaro, a Boston boy playing for the Boston team, was adored by his fans. On August 18, 1967, he took a ball to the face. It shattered his cheek bone and tore a hole in his retina. It looked like his career would be over.

    But he made one of the most astounding career comebacks on record and regained some of his excellent play.

    Still the damage had taken its toll, and he retired after a final brief comeback with his beloved Red Sox.

21. Terrell Davis

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1995-2002

    Team Affiliations: Denver Broncos

    Age of Retirement: 29

    Injury: Degenerative condition in left knee

    Davis racked up 6,413 yards in his first four years in the NFL. At the time he retired, that was the second most in history for that span.

    He finished his career with 7,607 yards.

    He is one of only six players to have rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a season.

    He is one of just eight players to be MVP of the Super Bowl and of the league.

20. Troy Aikman

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1989-2000

    Team Affiliations: Dallas Cowboys

    Age of Retirement: 34

    Injury: Multiple concussions and back injury

    Hall of Famer Aikman is drenched in accomplishments and accolades:

    Invited to six Pro Bowls (played in three)

    At the time of his retirement, he held the record for highest completion percentage in Super Bowl play, insane amounts of team and postseason records, he was the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and the MVP of Super Bowl XXVII.

19. Greg Lemond

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    Sport: Cycling

    Pro Years: 1981-1994

    Team Affiliations: Renault-Elf-Gitane, Renault, La Vie Claire, Toshiba-Look, PDM, ADR, Gan, Z

    Age of Retirement: 33

    Injury: Gunshot wound resulting in lead poisoning

    The 1986 Tour de France winner made a spectacular comeback after a hunting accident that nearly took his life.

    He went on to win the Tour de France twice more. 

    But with shotgun pellets remaining in his body, he weakened—possibly as a result of lead poisoning.

18. Nomar Garciaparra

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    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 1996-2009

    Team Affiliations: Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics

    Age of Retirement: 36

    Injury: wrist injury

    Garciaparra had a stellar start to his career: Rookie of the Year (by unanimous vote) in 1997, finished second in the MVP balloting in 1998, winner of American League batting title in 1999 and in 2000.

    A wrist injury hampered his play; he went on the disabled list 14 times in his career and never played a full season after age 29.

17. Michael Irvin

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1988-1999

    Team Affiliations: Dallas Cowboys

    Age of Retirement: 33

    Injury: herniated disk

    Irvin has more rings than a Barnum and Bailey circus (three Super Bowl rings and a Dallas Cowboys' "ring" of honor).

    His amazing career came to a sudden end on October 10, 1999, at Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia with an injury that left him temporarily paralyzed.

16. Sterling Sharpe

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1988-1994

    Team Affiliations: Green Bay Packers

    Age of Retirement: 29

    Injury: top two vertebrae in his neck were damaged

    Sharpe was on his way to having one of the all-time, most astounding careers as a wide receiver in the NFL. 

    He's the first NFL player to make 500 catches in less than seven seasons. 

    Packers' QB Favre and Sharpe had their differences at times, but when they worked together, they were lethal. 

15. Don Mattingly

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    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 1982-1995

    Team Affiliations: New York Yankees

    Age of Retirement: 34

    Injury: chronic back injury

    "Donnie Baseball," one of the greatest players to wear the Yankee uniform, suffered greatly at the end of his career. 

    You can almost feel Mattingly's pain in this 1994 North County News article written by James Campion.

14. Ronaldo

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    Sport: Soccer

    Pro Years: 1993-2011

    Team Affiliations: Cruzeiro, PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Corinthians

    Age of Retirement: 34

    Injury: multiple; a February 2011 muscle injury was the final straw, though

    Ronaldo tearfully ended "one of the great careers of the modern age" by stating

    "Mentally, I wanted to continue, but I have to acknowledge that I lost (the fight) to my body." 

13. Steve Young

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1984-1999

    Team Affiliations: Los Angeles Express (USFL), Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers

    Age of Retirement: 37

    Injury: multiple concussions

    Young was not, er, young at the end of his career, but he had game in him yet.

    This is what his 1998 season—as a 37-year-old—looked like (as summarized by ESPN):

    *Played and started 15 regular-season and two postseason games

    *Completed 322-of-517 passes for 4,170 yards, 36 touchdowns and quarterback rating of 101.1

    *Earned seventh consecutive Pro Bowl invitation

    *Named second team All-Pro by AP

    *Shattered single-season team records for most passing yards and touchdown passes

    *Broke Joe Montana's team and NFL record of five consecutive 300-yard games

    *With Jerry Rice set NFL record for most touchdowns by QB-WR combination

    *Broke Jack Kemp's pro football record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback

    *Threw a legendary pass to T.O. to beat the Packers in an NFC Wild Card match

    Does that sound like a guy who needed to retire?

12. Andrew Johns

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    Sport: Rugby

    Pro Years: 1993-2007

    Team Affiliations: Newcastle Knights, Australian National Team, New South Wales (in State of Origin) 

    Age of Retirement: 33

    Injury: neck injury

    Johns is thought by many to be the best rugby league player of all time; some even list him as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

    When a doctor noticed the potential for serious spinal cord injury in 2010, Johns announced his retirement, shocking legions of fans with the news.

11. Gayle Sayers

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    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1965-1971

    Team Affiliations: Chicago Bears

    Age of Retirement: 29

    Injury: knee injuries

    Sayers played just 68 games but had a career gain of 6,213 yards (yeah, your math is right; that's an average of over 91 yards for every game played) and a career total of 336 points scored.

    He's the youngest player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame.

10. Eric Lindros

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    Sport: Hockey

    Pro Years: 1992-2007

    Team Affiliations: Philadelphia Flyers, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars, Canadian National Team

    Age of Retirement: 34 

    Injury: multiple concussions, groin injury, wrist injury

    Teammate John LeClair had this to say about Lindros:

    "He had it all: size, strength and finesse," LeClair said."It is unfortunate injuries cut his time in the NHL short, but he had a great career and left his mark on the game."

9. Bill Walton

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    Sport: Basketball

    Pro Years: 1974-1987

    Team Affiliations: Portland Trail Blazers, LA/San Diego Clippers, Boston Celtics 

    Age of Retirement: 35

    Injury: ankle injuries, stress fractures in feet

    Bill Walton neared folk-hero status both as a college and a pro basketball player.

    His list of career accolades is longer than Snoop Dog's rap sheet

    In 2009, Walton retired from his second career, this time, also because of an injury.

8. Sandy Koufax

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    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 1955-1966

    Team Affiliations: Brooklyn/LA Dodgers

    Age of Retirement: 30

    Injury: hit by a wild pitch resulting in circulatory problems and arthritis in his arm

    Koufax pitched his last couple of seasons in immense pain and used cortisone shots and ice to keep him going.

    He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame the first year he became eligible

7. Marco van Basten

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    Sport: Soccer

    Pro Years: 1982-1995

    Team Affiliations: Ajax, Milan, Netherlands National Team

    Age of Retirement: 29 when sidelined, 31 when officially retired

    Injury: Chronic ankle injury

    Chosen by World Soccer magazine as one of the 100 best soccer players of all time, voted eighth-best player of the 20th century, known as "greatest goalscorer of his generation."

    It's likely that a healthy-ankled van Basten could have played for another five years or so and paved his legendary status with another coat of cement.

6. Pete Maravich

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    Sport: Basketball

    Pro Years: 1970-1980

    Team Affililiations: Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans/Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics

    Age of Retirement: 33

    Injury: Damaged ligament and cartilage in knees

    "Pistol Pete" was as talented as he was entertaining.

    A December 1978 Sports Illustrated article summed up his successes as follows: "In seven seasons in the NBA and most of an eighth, Maravich has, at one time or another, led the league in scoring, led all guards in rebounding and made the All-Star team four times."

5. Ken Griffey Jr.

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    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 1989-2010

    Team Affiliations: Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox

    Age of Retirement: 40

    Injury: torn hamstring, strained tendon in foot, strained calf, groin strain, bone spur in knee, broken name it, he had it

    "Junior" did more with an injury-plagued career than 99 percent of the healthy players out there. 

    His career stats show him to be one of the best that ever played—and that is with missing hundreds of game. 

    The back-to-back home runs with dad are already a fixture in baseball lore.

    Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated wrote: "Without the injuries, Ken Griffey Jr. might have been the best player of his era."

4. Bo Jackson

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    Sport: Football and Baseball

    Pro Years: 1986-1994 Baseball/1987-1990 Football

    Team Affiliations: Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, California Angels for baseball/Los Angeles Raiders for football

    Age of Retirement: 32

    Injury: hip injury leading to avascular necrosis

    Rivaled perhaps only by Jim Thorpe as the greatest athlete to play more than one professional sport, Jackson is a true sports legend.

    And he's likely the most popular subject of sports what-if conversations, as in: "What is Bo had just played baseball?" or "What is Bo hadn't gotten tackled by Kevin Walker?"

3. Maureen Connolly

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    Sport: Tennis

    Pro Years: 1951-1954

    Age of Retirement: 19

    Injury: crushed leg

    Is there a word stronger than dominated? Tyrannized, perhaps? That's what Connolly did to the world of women's tennis.

    In 1953, she became the first woman to win all 4 major titles in a single year. And folks, she wasn't yet 18 years old.

    She had a total of nine Grand Slam singles wins, five Grand Slam doubles wins and two Grand Slam mixed doubles wins. 

    Her logic-defying career ended when the thoroughbred colt she was riding slammed her leg into a concrete mixer. 

2. Bobby Orr

49 of 51

    Sport: Hockey

    Pro Years: 1966-1978

    Team Affiliations: Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins

    Age of Retirement: 30

    Injury: knee injury

    Among his Zamboni-loads of accolades, achievements, he held several single-season and career records, many of which have since been broken.

    What would another five years have brought him?

    Or if he had pulled a Gordie Howe (retired at age 52)?

1. Mickey Mantle

50 of 51

    Sport: Baseball

    Pro Years: 1951-1968

    Team Affiliations: New York Yankees

    Age of Retirement: 36

    Injury: multiple, possible torn ligament

    There's recent speculation that this Yankee legend played most of his career with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

    How much greater could Mantle have been had he not caught his spikes on that drain cover back in 1951?

Peyton Manning: Future Inductee?

51 of 51

    Sport: Football

    Pro Years: 1998-?

    Team Affiliations: Indianapolis Colts and?

    Age of Retirement: ?

    Injury: neck injury

    Will Manning's neck hold out? Will his arm regain its former strength? Will he bring another team playoff or even Super Bowl glory?

    Stay tuned.