The Greatest Champion in Every Sport
Hardware, ladies and gents, we're talking hardware today. Let's bench debates on who is better or who is more deserving and just focus on something concrete... er, metallic.
Following is a list of players who boast the most championship titles in their respective sports. Only players as players (not as members of the coaching team or staff) count.
Click on to see who packs the shiniest punch.
PBA: Earl Anthony
While I'm fairly certain the picture makes it wholly clear, let me mention the PBA in question here is not the Philippine Basketball Association, but the Professional Bowlers Association.
Earl Anthony bowled his way to 10 career major titles.
Anthony, aka "Square Earl," dominated bowling in the 1970s when the sport (somehow) became a television-ratings smash. He was the first player to rack up a million dollars in winnings.
In March 2013, Pete Weber, son of the legendary bowler Dick Weber, won a tenth major title, tying Anthony's record.
Swimming: Michael Phelps
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Tennis: Maraget Court
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Thoroughbred Horse Racing: Kincsem
You were thinking it was Secretariat? Good guess, a very winning horse; Secretariat won 16 of his 21. But truth be told, the famous chestnut colt would have been dusted by a pot-bellied, sway-backed little equine lass that went by the name of Kincsem, had their racing careers coincided.
The 19th Century Hungarian horse is the winningest Thoroughbred racer of all time with 54 races run and 54 wins.
NASCAR: Richard Petty
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NASCAR fans, you already know the answer. For the uninitiated, dare to guess how many career NASCAR Cup Series wins Richard Petty has?
Scroll down for the answer.
Did you worry about overbidding? Did you go with a safe middle-ground choice like C?
Well then you were only 157 races off the correct answer. That's right, Petty won 200 races over the course of his 35 year career.
Coming in second place is David Pearson with 105 wins.
Squash: Heather McKay
McKay won the first ever women's World Open in 1979. But her truly astounding feat was 16 wins in the British Open.
Oh, did I mention those 16 wins were CONSECUTIVE?
And though squash was her game, it wasn't her only game; she was also quite the contender in hockey and racquetball.
She is often named as one of the greatest Australian athletes of all time.
Marathon: Helge Hafsås
Can we all agree it's hard to run a marathon? And even harder to win one. How about winning a marathon twice in one lifetime—now that would be something, wouldn't it? Well, Norwegian runner Helge Hafsås is currently the biggest champion in the event with 160 career wins.
But his status as the winningest marathoner of all time is far from safe; Chuck Engle of the USA took the top position with his 145th win back in March 2012.
Since then it has been something of a back and forth.
As of July 27, 2013, Engle is just one win behind Hafsås.
UFC: Anderson Silva
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Cricket World Cup: Ricky Ponting
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Tasmanian born Ponting was not only a member of three World Cup-winning teams, but also holds the record for most test wins at 108.
Formula 1: Michael Schumacher
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The man by the numbers:
68 pole positions
75 fastest laps
7 world titles
According to the Formula 1 website, he is "statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen."
Cycling: Eddy Merckx
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With Lance's feats wiped out of the record books, Eddy Merckx is unquestionably the greatest cycling champion in history.
According to the Cycling Hall of Fame, his nickname is "The Cannibal" as he has an insatiable appetite for victory.
Rugby: John Eales
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Eales is one of a select few players to be a part of two Rugby World Cup winning squads. We'll dub him the winner as he was a key player in both the 1991 and 1999 Australian victories.
PGA: Jack Nicklaus
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Tiger, in case you didn't know, is at 14. Does he have five more major wins in him? Cast your vote in the comment section. Lindsey, no need to chime in; we already know how you'll be voting.
Boxing: Joe Louis
A lot of boxers in a lot of weight classes have had something of a lengthy reign, but none like the singular Joe Louis.
Louis remained King of the Heavyweights from June 22, 1937 through March 1, 1949—a stupendous 11 years and 252 days.
In total, he defended his title 25 times, facing, according to a New York Times obituary, "all challengers and fighting the best that the countries of the world could offer."
NHL: Henri Richard
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Not only does Richard come in at No. 1 for most Stanley Cup rings (he has 11), but he comes in at No. 1 for most championship wins of any player in a North American professional team sport.
The 5'7" center spent his entire 20-year NHL career with his hometown team, the Montreal Canadiens.
MLB: Yogi Berra
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Yogi Berra is the only baseball player in history who could wear a World Series Championship ring on each finger... of each hand.
Berra was a part of the Yankees World Series-winning squads in 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961 and 1962. Tack on three more rings if you would like to count his career as a manager and coach.
NBA: Bill Russell
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What makes Russell's eleven (you'll need both hands and a foot to count them all) championship wins even more impressive, is the fact that he only played for 13 seasons. Percentage-wise, he took home a ring 84 percent of his seasons as a player.
Michael Jordan by comparison took home six rings in 15 seasons—that's 40 percent.
Kobe? Five rings in 17 seasons thus far—29 percent.
LeBron? Two rings in 10 seasons thus far—20 percent.
Can LeBron catch up to Russell, percentage-wise? Sure, if he wins every title FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS, that would be 42 career wins over 50 seasons—and that puts him just at the magic 84 percent.
FIFA World Cup Soccer: Pelé
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Pelé is the only soccer player in the world to be a part of three FIFA World Cup winning squads. At just 17 years old, he lead his Brazilian team to victory over host country Sweden in the 1958 World Cup. Brazil won again four years later, though an injury kept Pelé off the field in the final rounds. His last World Cup victory came in 1970 in Mexico. Pelé scored four goals in that series, including one in the final match against Italy.
NFL: Charles Haley
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A handful of others can show off one or even two more Super Bowl rings, but Haley stands alone when it comes to winning the rings strictly as a player.
The defensive end from small-town Virginia won two rings as a 49er, and another three as a Cowboy.