Drew Brees and the 15 Smallest Athletes to Make It Big

Nick HouserCorrespondent IIMarch 17, 2012

Drew Brees and the 15 Smallest Athletes to Make It Big

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    Small in size, huge in talent. That's what the players on this list have in common as each have reached new heights in their careers.

    The average height for an American male is 5'9''. The average baseball player is around 6'0'' and football players are only slightly taller. Basketball players are typically around 6'6''.

    But in every sport, there are those who become exceptions to the norm.

    In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here is a list of 15 athletes from baseball, basketball and football who have overcome their short statures and attained fame at the professional level.

Drew Brees

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    Compared to everyone else on this list, Drew Brees is pretty tall. At 6'0'', he's the typical size of an average male.

    But there is nothing pedestrian about his single-season record of 5,476 passing yards.

    He's a Super Bowl winner, Super Bowl MVP and six-time Pro Bowler as well.

Yogi Berra

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    Former MLB catcher Yogi Berra may have shrunk with age, but make no mistake, he's always been small.

    Berra has won 13 World Series rings. 10 of them came while squatting behind the plate, making him even smaller.

    He appeared in the World Series 21 times total and in the All-Star Game 18 times.

Muggsy Bogues

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    Short compared to everyday men, former NBA point guard Muggsy Bogues was tiny matching up next to NBA talent.

    Bogues never let his 5'3'' height stop him though. He achieved 6,858 points in a 14-year career.

    Believe it or not, Bogues blocked 39 shots during that span.

Earl Boykins

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    Like Muggsy Bogues, Earl Boykins overcame the NBA's big men during an illustrious career.

    In 12 seasons, 5'5'' Boykins amassed 5,752 points and 34 blocked shots.

    Boykins also rebounded 866 balls.

David Eckstein

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    Former MLB second baseman David Eckstein was fittingly nicknamed "Just Enough" during his playing days.

    The 5'6'' player lacked the power to be considered a five-tool player, but his speed, ability to hit for average and above all, his superior defensive skills earned him respect.

    The two-time World Series champion was named World Series MVP in 2006 with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Maurice Jones-Drew

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    Don't let his supposed 5'8'' height fool you, Maurice Jones-Drew is a bulldozer.

    The three-time Pro Bowl participant led the NFL last year in total rushing yards with over 1,600.

    He's only 27, so he's got time to pad the stats even more.

Joe Morgan

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    Former Cincinnati Reds superstar Joe Morgan didn't let being 5'7'' get in the way of his Hall of Fame career.

    Morgan spent 22 seasons in Major League Baseball. He hung his spikes up with 2,500 hits, 10 All-Star appearances and back-to-back MVP honors.

Kirby Puckett

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    I imagine Kirby Puckett never knew he was shorter than most because no one had the gall to tell him so.

    Whether you remember Puckett for his style or his 1991 World Series Game 6 home run, his catch at the wall in the same game is more impressive considering he was only 5'8''.

Ray Rice

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    5'9'' Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is one of the most dominating backs in the NFL.

    A consistent 1,200 yard rusher, Rice did it again in 2011. Rushing for 1,364 yards, he added another 704 yards through the air.

    Ray Rice packs a damaging punch in a small shell.

Nate Robinson

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    I'm going to simply mention that at a generous 5'9'', Nate Robinson is a three-time Slam Dunk Contest champion.

    Now I'm going to let the video fill in the rest for me.

Steve Smith

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    Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith will be the first to tell anyone not to let anything interfere with dreams.

    Not naysayers, not adversity and certainly not size.

    Since entering the NFL in 2001, the speedy 5'9'' receiver has accumulated over 10,000 yards while averaging seven touchdowns per season.

    Easily one of the best to don a Panthers jersey, when his time is done he'll have arguably earned Hall of Fame consideration.

Darren Sproles

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    Upon first glimpse of 5'6'' running back Darren Sproles, the casual NFL fan might mistake Sproles as a gimmick.

    The New Orleans Saints signed him to a four-year deal worth $14 million in 2011 in hopes he would be more than that.

    In his first year with the Saints, Sproles racked up eight touchdowns through the air, on the ground and returning punts.

Isaiah Thomas

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    Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas' career is looking up.

    In his first season in the NBA, Thomas averages just under 10 points and 20 minutes per game. That's a bucket every other minute he's on the court.

    Since February, he's seen more consistent time on the floor and his talent is starting to show.

    In March alone, Thomas has scored double digit points in seven out of 10 games.

    Thomas is 5'9''.

Spud Webb

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    Muggsy Bogues was 5'3'' and couldn't dunk. Fair enough.

    Nate Robinson won the Slam Dunk Contest three times at 5'9''. Impressive.

    Right in between the two was 5'6'' Spud Webb.

    Nearly as small as Bogues but with the ability to dunk, Webb was a Slam Dunk champ as well.

    Entering the league before Bogues and Robinson, the title of original short man belongs to Webb.

Wes Welker

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    Routinely catching around 1,100 yards per season, 5'9'' New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has become a household name amongst NFL fans.

    The eight-year veteran is one of quarterback Tom Brady's favorite targets and looks to stick around for a little while longer.