The Top 10 Performances By Athletes "Past Their Prime"
So what are the best performances by our Elder Statesmen of all time? I hope to answer that question here today.
I am sure that I will miss out on a few, just as I am sure that you all will comment on my shortcomings.
The fact that these athletes were at the end of their careers, or just plain old, makes these performances that much more memorable.
Just as Corrado Soprano can run a poker game in a mental hospital, the following athletes could still rake, slam, shoot and throw down with the best of them.
No. 10 Wilt Chamberlain
In the 1972 NBA Finals (Wilt's second to last season), the Lakers met the New York Knicks
In Game Three, Chamberlain scored 26 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in a Lakers win and a violently battled Game Four, the Lakers' center was with playing with five fouls late in the match.
Wilt, up to that point in his career, had never fouled out, which alone is a magnificent feat.
The threat of that first didn't slow him down at all. He still played aggressive defense and blocked two of Lucas' shots in overtime. He ended up scoring a game-high 27 points.
But in that game, he had fallen on his right hand, and was said to have "sprained" it; in fact, it was broken.
For Game Five, Chamberlain wore thick pads after refusing painkillers or shots. In that game, Chamberlain scored 24 points, 29 rebounds, and helped the L.A. Lakers win their first championship with a decisive 114–100 win. Chamberlain was named MVP of the NBA Finals.
No. 9 Raymond Bourque
"Everybody Loves Raymond"
Everybody except NJ Devils fans, that is. Ray, at the ripe old age of 40, lifted Lord Stanley's Cup and pranced around the ice like a teen..a really tired teen.
Bourque had waited longer to win his first Cup than any other Cup-winning player had in the 108-year history of Stanley Cup, having played 1,826 Regular season and playoff games combined.
No. 8 Jamie Moyer
For me, watching Billy Chapel—I mean Jamie Moyer—in the 2008 World Series was a thing of beauty.
Jamie rocked back, rubbed the ball with care inside his jet black mitt and said to himself, "Clear the Mechanism." For those of you who saw "For Love of the Game," you'll know what I am talking about.
Just like Costner working toward a perfect game, Moyer's age and road to this point only made the moment more exciting. I was personally rooting for the Rays, but not on this night. Not against this 45-year young man.
Moyer pitched six-and-one-third innings, giving up three runs and receiving a no-decision.
More impressive was that he pitched with a severe stomach virus. No one will remember the no decision. What we will remember is this "old man" pitched a gem.
No. 7 Jack Nicklaus
The 1998 Masters Tournament was the 62nd Masters Tournament held from April 9-12, 1998 at Augusta National Golf Club.
Mark O'Meara won his first major championship with a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole to defeat David Duval and Fred Couples by one stroke.
These headlines were dwarfed, however, by the amazing show put on by the Golden Bear. At age 58, Jack finished sixth in the tournament, only four strokes behind the winner.
And almost as important, I bought a set of Golden Bear Tour V81's because of that gutsy performance.
Ok, that's not really why I bought them, but I kind of thought it would help the caption along.
No. 6 Kurt Warner
Who would've predicted this. Kurt Warner, a 37-year-old veteren thought to be past his prime, leading the Arizona Cardinals down the field to go up three with just 2:37 left in Super Bowl XLIII.
At the beginning of the past two seasons, Kurt fought with Matt Leinart for the starting gig and was the backup for the first four weeks of 2007.
Leinart was named the starter again heading into the 2008 season, but by the end of August, Kurt proved to his coaches and team that he was the man for the job.
And did he prove his worth, or what? Last season, Warner had 4,583 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and a completion percentage of almost 70 percent.
He lead this team that time forgot, and apparently so did the rest of the NFC, within minutes of winning the biggest game in Cardinals history.
Kurt wowed the nation with a stellar 31/43 passing with 377 yards and three touchdowns.
Now this washed up-system QB is going to be around for another two years, preaching at midfield and making over $20 million.
No. 5 John Elway
OK, before I begin...which one is the horse?
At 38 years old, Denver quarterback John Elway became the oldest player ever to be named Super Bowl MVP.
In the final game of his career, he completed 18 of 29 passes for 336 yards and one touchdown, and also scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown. Elway retired on May 2 before the following season.
What a way to go out...on top.
No, not on top of a steed, on top of the "dirty birds" and the game of football.
No. 4 George Foreman
Not only do George Foreman and his grill make the absolute best bacon on earth, but he takes a spot of No. 4 on the list.
In 1994, Foreman once again sought to challenge for the world championship after Michael Moorer had beaten Holyfield for the IBF and WBA titles.
Nov. 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada George was wearing the same red trunks he had worn in his title loss to Ali 20 years earlier. Nine rounds in, Moorer outboxed him. Even when Foreman did the "Bull Charge", Moorer countered quickly.
Foreman launched a comeback in the tenth round and hit Moorer with a number of long-range jabs.
Then, suddenly, a short right hand caught Moorer on the tip of his chin, gashing open his bottom lip, and he fell to the canvas. That was all the 45 year old chef-to-be would need.
No. 3 Michael Jordan
I am going to totally disregard two seasons of basketball for this next entry.
After the first "retirement" MJ came back with a vengeance. Not only did Michael average near 30ppg in those three seasons, he topped the numbers in the playoffs for his second three peat.
In his final season with the Bulls, Jordan was voted the Finals MVP. having led all scorers by averaging 33.5 points per game, including 45 in the deciding Game Six.
Jordan's six Finals MVPs is a record.
No. 2 Gordie Howe
I wasn't around to see Gordie Howe play in person, so I will just take history's word for it.
Just another milestone in a remarkable career was reached in 1997 when Howe played professional hockey in a sixth decade.
He was signed to a one-game contract by the Detroit Vipers of the IHL and, almost 70 years old, made a return to the ice for one shift.
In doing so, he became the only player in hockey history to compete in six different decades at the professional level, having played in the NHL, WHA and IHL from the 1940s to 1990s.
70 and skating on top of one of the most dynamic careers of all time....nuff said.
No. 1 The Fabulous Moolah
Ahhh, what a relief. Finally here at No. 1 and the wait couldn't have been more worth it.
The Fabulous Moolah, a four-time champion, won her final title at 76. SEVENTY SIX, are you kidding me? I hope to be moving on my own at that age and still able to eat with a fork, much less wrestling.
Spray on Tanning- $30/ month
Cheap Sunglasses and tights - $50
A near 80 bucket of flab mixing up with 20 something skanks......Priceless.
Thanks for the memories Moolah.