Oldies But Goodies: Top 10 Best 'Old' Athletes Over the Past 25 Years
Thanks to medical advances, athletes nowadays are able to play at a higher level for a longer period of time.
The following is a list of 10 of the most memorable seasons/performances by the "old guys."
It is difficult to put a list like this in any kind of order, so this is just 10 of the best performances overall.
It is with great remorse to say that the great Morten Anderson (kicker for the Saints, Falcons, Giants, Chiefs and Vikings), who kicked in the NFL until the age of 48 and holds the record for most field goals and most points, did not make the list.
Sorry Morten Anderson fans.
10. John Stockton and Karl Malone
John Stockton and Karl Malone just can't be separated, even when it comes to a top 10 list.
Perhaps these two didn't really have any remarkable accomplishments when they reached the age of 40, but both were still extremely gifted NBA players.
During the 2001-2002 NBA season, Stockton was 39, Malone 38, and both were still surprisingly good.
Stockton averaged 13.5 points per game, as well as eight assists and just under two steals while shooting over 50 percent from the floor.
Malone averaged 22 points and 8.5 boards per game, and had the highest free-throw percentage of his career, just a shade under 80 percent.
Though they never won a championship, Stockton and Malone will go down as one of the better duo's to ever play the game.
9. Martin Brodeur
Martin Brodeur is arguably one of the best goaltenders of all time.
Earlier this season, he became the all-time leader in wins, and currently ranks second all-time in shutouts.
I don’t typically follow hockey much, if at all, but I do know two things.
First, Brodeur has missed a significant amount of time this season, and second, there is no doubt that the soon-to-be 39-year-old is still one of the most dominant goalies in the NHL.
8. Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicklaus has a couple of different accomplishments that put him in the top 10. The first is actually the most recent.
In 1998, at the age of 58, Nicklaus played one of the greatest four days of golf any 58-year-old could have. This wasn’t just any golf tournament, this was “a tradition unlike any other”: The Masters.
Nicklaus finished the tournament at an impressive five under par, good for a sixth-place finish!
His second remarkable accomplishment as an older man came a dozen years earlier in 1986, also at The Masters.
Nicklaus did something no 46-year-old had ever done at The Masters: he won. Nicklaus remains the oldest player ever to win The Masters, and is the second oldest player ever to win a major.
It is yet to be seen if one Tiger Woods will be able to compete at this level when he reaches his 40’s and 50’s. But no matter what, Nicklaus’ accomplishments at the 1986 and 1998 Masters are unforgettable.
7. George Foreman
It’s nearly impossible to have a top 10 ‘old guy’ list without mentioning Mr. George Foreman.
Yes, the same George Foreman whose name is printed on the grill in your kitchen. I digress.
In 1994, Foreman challenged Michael Moorer for the World Heavyweight title. For the first nine rounds, Foreman was out-punched and out-fought Moorer.
However, when the 10th round began, Foreman mounted a comeback, connecting on a number of jabs. Finally, a short right hand caught Moorer on the chin and down he went in a crumpled heap.
With the victory, Foreman owned the record for longest time between world championships (20 years).
Even more impressive, at the age of 45, Foreman became the oldest fighter ever to win the World Heavyweight crown.
6. Nolan Ryan
It should not surprise anyone that Nolan Ryan makes this list. What top 10 list doesn’t this guy get on?
There are probably many performances that would put Ryan on this list, but one in particuar stands above the rest.
May 1, 1991 was the date. The Toronto Blue Jays, arguably baseball's best hitting team that season, were the opponents.
It is said that from the time Ryan woke up that morning, he did not feel good. He said his whole body ached and he felt every bit his age, 44.
As soon as the game started though, Ryan began to feel much better. So much better in fact, he was clocked at 96 mph during the fourth inning.
Ryan finished the day with his seventh career no-hitter. Needless to say, Ryan holds the record for the oldest pitcher to ever throw a no-hitter.
5. Shaquille O'Neal
The Big Aristotle, the Diesel, the Big Shaqtus, or simply Shaq, has been re-juvenated this season with the Phoenix Suns.
O'Neal is averaging 18 points per game this year, the most since he led the Miami Heat to an NBA championship in the 2005-2006 season.
He is also on pace to play in more games this season than he has since his days with the Orlando Magic back in the early-to-mid '90s.
O'Neal turned 37 earlier this month, (an age in which very few NBA players are able to dominate) and is not only averaging close to 20 points per game, but also over 8.5 rebounds per game as well as almost two blocked shots.
Not to mention, one of the worst free-throw shooters of all time, he is shooting 61 percent from the line this season, his second highest percentage ever.
4. Brett Favre
It is only fitting that Brett Favre is No. 4 on the countdown. Favre will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever, and perhaps the greatest of all time.
Favre has two performances worthy of making this list. The first was the remarkable season he had in his final season with the Green Bay Packers.
Favre had the best completion percentage of his career (66.5), threw for over 4,100 yards (third most of his career), threw 28 touchdown passes, and had his third best year in terms of QB rating, all at the age of 38.
During his illustrious career, Favre accumulated dozens of records. That continued into his final season while with the New York Jets, which brings us to his second performance worthy of making this list.
When he torched the Arizona Cardinals for six touchdown passes, he became the oldest quarterback to throw six touchdowns in a single game.
Assuming Brett is officially done for good, we have seen the end of an incredible career and we wish you all the best, No. 4.
3. Kurt Warner
At the age of 37, and after a few disappointing seasons, it seemed as if Kurt Warner's career was quickly coming to an end.
However, Warner bounced back during the 2008-2009 NFL season, having his best year since his days as a St. Louis Ram. He completed 401 passes (a personal best) for a 67.1 completion percentage (his third highest ever), 4,583 passing yards (his second best), 30 touchdown passes (his third highest total) and had a quarterback rating just a touch under 97 (his third highest ever).
And oh yeah, he led the Arizona Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance in 832 years.
Okay that's an exaggeration, but for Cardinals fans, that's how long it felt.
There is no doubt Warner had a terrific season and, he still has plenty left in the tank.
2. Roger Clemens
Despite all the steroid allegations and everything involved with it, there is no denying that Roger Clemens dominated in his 40's more than some pitchers do in their careers.
Clemens may have had his best 'over 40' season during 2004 with the Houston Astros. Not only did he reach second on the all-time strikeout list (he has since been passed by Randy Johnson), he was named the National League's starting pitcher for the All-Star game.
Clemens finished the season with a remarkable record of 18-4, and became the oldest pitcher ever to win the Cy Young Award. Not to mention, it was his seventh Cy Young Award, also a record.
No matter what your opinion of Clemens is, his career after the age of 40 cannot be overlooked.
1. Randy Johnson
The 2004 season was an incredible one for Randy Johnson. Sadly, the same can not be said for the Arizona Diamondbacks as a whole.
The D-backs finished the season with their worst record ever, losing 111 games.
However, on May 18 of that season, he became the oldest player ever, at age 40, to throw a perfect game. He did so against the Atlanta Braves at Turner field.
Johnson was outstanding, striking out 13 batters while throwing just 117 pitches, 87 for strikes.
Just how dominant was Johnson? His final pitch of the game, a strike to Eddie Perez, hit 98 mph on the radar gun.
Though the D-backs had a brutal season, Johnson managed to go 16-14 and in 245 innings, had an ERA of 2.60 and a WHIP of .90—nearly unheard of for a starting pitcher over an entire season.
Considering the rarity of a perfect game and Johnson's age, you can understand why he is No. 1 on this list.