The 100 Worst Athletes in Sports History

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst IIIJuly 9, 2012

The 100 Worst Athletes in Sports History

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    Beneath the talented surface covering the gifted world of sports is an established crowd of lacking ballplayers. It's not all about stats, as these athletes made a living from failing.

    We've completed construction on our own Hall of Shame, and it's about time to unveil the finished product. We're focused on those who earned a shot and scripted the proper way to fail, be it joyously, exuberantly or just plain awfully.

    But in the end, these dudes continue to make more headlines than most of their talented peers.

    Time to review those who made the cut as the 100 worst athletes in sports history.

    Their failures continue to give hope to the rest of us.

100. Michael Haddix, NFL

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    The eighth pick of the '83 draft actually did record some decent numbers at first glance. 1,635 yards on the ground and 1,310 receiving for fullback Michael Haddix...not bad.

    But considering it took him eight seasons to total those numbers and he finished his career with an average of 3.0 yards per carry, Haddix remains locked in scrub territory.

99. Chris Dudley, NBA

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    Among the gawkiest humans ever to approach the hardwood, Chris Dudley couldn't really do much of anything, even averagely. But somehow he sustained a professional roster spot.

    Averages of 3.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game might look decent, but this is a man who once missed a record 13 consecutive free throws. Enough said.

98. Luis Gomez, MLB

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    During eight memorable seasons from 1974 to 1981, infielder Luis Gomez hit .210 with no homeruns.

    But man, those epic stirrups. Pure greatness.

97. Frank Williams, NBA

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    From being named Illinois Mr. Basketball in 1998 to being cut from the Clippers in 2005, Frank Williams' path to anonymity was a strange one indeed.

    The hefty point guard could only muster up 2.9 points and 1.9 assists per game in roughly 11 minutes. The former Illini legend made the Knicks immediately regret their 25th selection in 2002.

96. Dan McGwire, NFL

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    Known more as the brother of former slugger Mark McGwire rather than as a first-round bust. Dan McGwire remains the tallest quarterback drafted into the NFL (6'8"), he finished his career with limited opportunities and lacking highlights.

    Two touchdowns, six picks, 745 yards and a rating of 52.3 in five seasons. Oh, and by the way, Brett Favre was drafted in the second round of that 1991 draft.

95. Fred Hoiberg, NBA

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    After winning 2012 Big 12 Coach of the Year at Iowa State, it was clear that Fred Hoiberg's time on the professional bench truly did him some good.

    The man once dubbed a three-point specialist averaged 5.4 points per game during his limited career, but was actually given some significant playing time in 2000-01.

    In 30.4 minutes per game, Hoiberg racked up a scintillating 9.1 points. The Bulls finished 15-67 that year.

94. Kevin Allen, NFL

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    Perhaps iconic head coach Buddy Ryan can sum up former ninth-overall pick Kevin Allen's one forgettable season best as a less-than-dominating offensive tackle.

    "[He's] a good player to have, if you want someone to stand around and kill some grass". Well hey, every team needs one of those.

93. Mark Madsen, NBA

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    A late first-rounder of the Lakers in '00, Mark Madsen is most remembered for his victory dances at championship parades.

    And while his 2.2 career points per game average doesn't excite the crowd, the man was a fantastic practice player...according to Shaquille O'Neal.

92. Roque Junior, Soccer

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    Sure he's got a Champions League medal (with Milan in 2003) to his name, but it was clear awkward defender Roque Junior wouldn't last long when his Leeds United squad allowed 24 goals in his seven games.

91. Cherokee Parks, NBA

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    Some might call his tattoo ironic, but we prefer to call it hilarious.

    Despite averaging 4.4 points per game and blocking roughly half a shot a game, Cherokee Parks' true grit kept him thriving...mentally we can only assume.

90. Jimmy Hines, NFL

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    While he was a legendary sprinter who became the first to officially break the 10-second mark in the 100-meter (9.95 at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics), we're solely focused on Jimmy Hines' football talent...or lack of.

    Two receptions for 23 yards doesn't exactly detail how mediocre Hines' hands really were. But the nickname "Oops" might.

89. Jay Caufield, NHL

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    Not only did Jay Caufield look like a middle linebacker on the ice, but he played like one too (five goals in 208 games).

    But Mario Lemieux and Mark Recchi were certainly thankful for his protection.

88. Michael Ruffin, NBA

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    With a smile that could silence Bill O'Reilly during a magical rant, former second-round pick Michael Ruffin has somehow clouded his mediocre production.

    Averages of 1.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game look brilliant compared to his .459 career free throw percentage. Or perhaps it was Ruffin's half-hearted heave to run out the clock against the Raptors back in 2007 that cemented him among the worst in history.

87. Kenyatta Walker, NFL

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    A second-team All-American left tackle out of Florida, Kenyatta Walker entered the NFL with lofty blind-side expectations, especially as the 14th pick of the '01 draft.

    But Walker would only last a season on the left side, and his three-false-start experience with ferocious Julius Peppers seemingly kept him far and farther from greatness.

86. Doug Strange, MLB

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    With a batting average of .233 and 31 homeruns in nine seasons, infielder Doug Strange cemented himself among the most obscure players in baseball history.

    Cue the strange jokes.

85. Patrik Stefan, NHL

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    64 goals in 455 games and one epically-embarrassing empty-net miss.

    The first pick of the 1999 draft seemingly ruined Atlanta hockey.

84. Vernon Gholston, NFL

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    A workout warrior, Vernon Gholston was seen as the next great pass rusher coming out of Ohio State.

    But since being taken with the sixth pick of the '08 draft by the Jets, Gholston has yet to record a single sack, and can attribute most of his 42 tackles to lucky jumps on the pile after the whistle.

83. Craig Whelihan, NFL

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    Following a standout career at Oregon State, Craig Whelihan was taken in the sixth round of the '85 draft by the Chargers, who have seemingly failed with quite the number of quarterbacks over the years.

    In four backup seasons, the lousy quarterback chucked for 3,160 yards, 14 touchdowns and 29 interceptions with a rating of 52.4.

82. Gus Caesar, Soccer

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    "...He looks like a rabbit caught in headlights, frozen to the spot." - English novelist Nick Hornby

    He may have been athletic and promising, but former Arsenal defender Gus Caesar was far from brilliant on the pitch.

81. Fred Merkle, MLB

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    When you're nicknamed "Bonehead" and the highlight of your career is a play referred to as "Merkle's boner," you may want to find another career.

    While a .273 average and 82 homeruns in 19 seasons isn't quite as horrific as some may believe, Fred Merkle's baserunning fail as a 19-year-old will forever shadow his very ordinary career.

    Missing second base, and eventually costing his Giants the pennant.

80. Alexander Svitov, NHL

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    Chosen third-overall by the Lightning in '01, center Alexander Svitov would go on to tally 13 goals in 179 career NHL games, constantly rotating between the minors and pros.

    He must've left his talent at the draft.

79. Dickey Simpkins, NBA

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    Don't be fooled by this man's three championship rings, considering he wasn't on the playoff roster for the first two.

    Former first-round pick Dickey Simpkins had a way of making his entire audience smile, if only by accident.

    Enjoy his lone highlight.

78. Kwame Harris, NFL

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    An offensive tackle out of Stanford taken with the 26th pick of the '03 draft by the Niners, Kwame Harris eventually became more destructive to his own quarterbacks than potent defensive lineman.

77. Kwame Brown, NBA

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    Essentially the worst first-overall pick in NBA draft history, high school phenom Kwame Brown made the Wizards the laughing stock of the league for the four years he sported their jersey.

    Some called him the next Shaq, others a new breed of dominant big man. In the end, with career averages of 6.8 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, Kwame Brown didn't even become the next Kurt Thomas.

    A cake tossing incident is perhaps his most beloved story.

76. Alex Van Dyke, NFL

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    After leading the nation in receiving yards per game (168.6) during the 1995 season, Nevada standout Alex Van Dyke was chosen in the second round of the '96 draft.

    But in three years with the Jets and two with the Eagles, Van Dyke could only secure 26 receptions for 219 yards and three touchdowns. Pitiful.

75. Billy Beane, MLB

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    He's now the name behind the sabermetrics phenomenon, but Billy Beane was once a budding star taken by the Mets with the 23rd pick of the '80 draft.

    And then all his projected talent failed to appear, and the gawky outfielder finished with a .219 average and 66 hits.

    But he did have Brad Pitt play him in Moneyball. Solid victory.

74. George Zidek, NBA

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    As the starting center on UCLA's 1995 championship team, 7' George Zidek had scouts drooling over his potential.

    But during three seasons with the Hornets, Denver Nuggets and Seattle SuperSonics after being chosen with the 22nd pick of the 1995 Draft, the lanky big man averaged a crisp 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

    Potential unrealized.

73. Stan Thomas, NFL

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    Judging offensive tackles is a difficult process, but number of starts is a good indication of promise.

    Despite being the 22nd pick of the '91 draft, Stan Thomas lasted only two years with the Bears and two with the Oilers...starting seven out of a possible 56 games along the way.

72. Brian Bosworth, NFL

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    Size, strength and a legendary Mohawk...Brian Bosworth had the makings of a superstar linebacker.

    And then tailback Bo Jackson derailed all optimism with one crushing blow.

71. Chris Washburn, NBA

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    The Golden State Warriors were naturally ecstatic when they secured N.C. State stud Chris Washburn with the third pick of the 1986 Draft.

    But early optimism turned to utter disappointment when the lanky 6'11" center failed to produce anything positive on the court. Career averages of 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds to be exact, with a slight cocaine addiction shadowing his failure.

    His road to redemption now features a Wing spot in Hickory, North Carolina. Washburn is a new man.

70. Dal Maxvill, MLB

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    Finishing his 14-year career with a .217 average and six home runs cemented Dal Maxvill as one of the worst hitting ballplayers of all time.

    But to truly put Maxvill's ineffectiveness into perspective, pitcher Bob Gibson (his teammate) had 24 career home runs in roughly 2,000 fewer at bats.

69. Alek Stojanov, NHL

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    The seventh-overall pick of the 1991 NHL Draft by the Canucks, Alek Stojanov now remains remembered as the other half of the legendary Markus Naslund trade to Vancouver.

    Two goals in 107 games for the man who once excited scouts by allegedly destroying Eric Lindros in a fight.

68. Freddie Mitchell, NFL

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    Yet another diva wide receiver during a time when they're clearly a dime a dozen. Except Freddie Mitchell lacked the talent usually associated with a chatterbox.

    "He's terrible, and you can print that," said Bill Belichick. Printed.

67. David Koci, NHL

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    While the NHL is stocked with instigating enforcers on a regular basis, this particular one was a bit more useless than most of his peers.

    142 career games, one goal, three assists and 461 penalty minutes. Bravo.

66. Rafael Santana, MLB

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    While most of the '86 championship Mets club was garnering attention for their off-the-field struggles, shortstop Rafael Santana was humbly respecting the game of baseball and hitting an unexciting .218.

    Three more seasons as a part-time scrub and he was finished.

65. Mitch Fritz, NHL

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    In 20 games with the Islanders, enforcer Mitch Fritz did not record a point.

    At 6'8" and almost 260 pounds, Fritz is possibly the worst pound-for-pound athlete in hockey. But he's also a beloved Samaritan.

64. Bill Bergen, MLB

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    In 11 professional seasons, backstop Bill Bergen slapped two bombs and hit .170. Few remain in the big leagues with numbers like that.

    Perhaps it was his ability to throw out six base stealers in one game.

63. Ted Gregory, NFL

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    A reported 6'1" heading into the 1988 NFL Draft, defensive tackle Ted Gregory is remembered most for being chosen by the Broncos and then cut before ever appearing in a game.

    Perhaps it was Dan Reeves' "bad vibes" that ruined things for the former Syracuse stud.

    "I remember thinking he was the shortest 6-1 I'd ever seen," he said. "He didn't even look like he was 6-feet. That was my first impression. Otherwise, everything else about him is vague."

    After three games with the Saints, Gregory's career was finished.

62. David Shula, NFL

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    With football in his gene pool, David Shula was always destined for the gridiron.

    But he failed as a molasses-slow kick returner with the Colts in 1981, as an offensive coordinator from 1989-91 and as coach of the Bengals from '92 to '96.

    A 13.0 yard average on five kick returns and two fumbles is about all Shula has to look back on as he ruminates about the past while working with his family's steakhouse.

61. Ian Ormondroyd, Soccer

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    Essentially a poor man's Peter Crouch, 6'7" striker Ian Ormondroyd literally stands tall among his competition.

    But can he do the robot dance?

60. Ha Seung-Jin, NBA

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    This 7'3" gargantuan was the first Korean to play in the NBA. But while his entrance was a solid stepping stone to future promise, his production was less than impressive.

    1.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in two limited seasons. Finished.

59. Ted Lepcio, MLB

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    Phillies manager Eddie Sawyer once described his former utility infielder as "the worst Major League player I've ever seen".

    With a .245 career average, he's almost there.

58. Renaldo Nehemiah, NFL

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    After becoming the first man to run the high hurdles in under 13 seconds, track star Renaldo Nehemiah decided to try his hand at football, despite never having played in college.

    In three years with the Niners, the oak-handed Nehemiah caught 43 passes for 754 yards (a 17.5 average) and four touchdowns.

    He might've dropped just as many.

57. Dexter Pittman, NBA

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    A hefty center out of Texas, Dexter Pittman has done little to impress his doubters during his two seasons in the NBA.

    2.9 points per game and a dubious flagrant on Lance Stephenson is about all Pittman's got to complement his 280-pound reputation.

56. Elvis Patterson, NFL

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    12 interceptions in 11 years may seem average (not really), but it doesn't sufficiently define defensive back Elvis Patterson's career.

    Though the nickname "Toast" should do just fine.

55. Ken Grandberry, NFL

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    475 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the '74 Bears is all Ken Grandberry has to headline his once-promising resume.

    Oh yeah, and eight fumbles. One and done.

54. Geert Hammink, NBA

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    A first-round pick of the Magic in '93, Dutch baller Geert Hammink would only appear in eight games during his three-year career. And score a whopping 14 points.

    Hammink's role as a Hoosier in the movie Blue Chips is perhaps his greatest claim to fame. Or maybe warming the bench behind Shaq is.

53. Drew Henson, NFL

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    For starters, what a windup. Moving on...

    Drew Henson could play baseball and football, but neither of them well (professionally that is).

    After managing to find plate appearances in two years with the Yanks and hitting .111, Drew Henson decided to focus on football. But considering the promising chuck artist couldn't beat out competition like Vinny Testaverde and Jon Kitna, we've come to believe he never had the required goods.

52. Chuck Nevitt, NBA

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    As a part on the 1985 Lakers' championship roster, 7'5" center Chuck Nevitt became the tallest player ever to win a championship.

    But considering he only scored 251 points during his constantly-moving nine-year career, it's safe to say he wasn't a major component.

51. Priest Lauderdale, NBA

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    Yet another giant who failed in the NBA, 7'4" Priest Lauderdale is remembered most as a failed first-round pick with a legendary name.

    3.4 points, 1.9 bounds and a .554 free throw percentage. Stellar.

50. Johnnie LeMaster, MLB

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    After hitting an inside-the-park homerun in 1975, in his first at-bat, Johnnie LeMaster gave Giants fans plenty to look forward to.

    But they'd be waiting for ten more years, and the .222 hitter that was LeMaster would only hit 22 total bombs in 1,039 career games. 

    He embraced the "booing" as seen here.

49. Heath Shuler, NFL

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    This former Heisman Trophy runner-up was chosen with the third pick of the '94 draft to plenty of expectations and pressures from the Washington faithful.

    But the Redskins would never get a return on their seven-year, $19.25 million quarterback investment, as Heath Shuler would finish his disgraceful career with only 15 touchdowns, 33 interceptions and a 54.3 rating.

    Shuler was the least valuable signal caller of 1997.

48. Frederic Weiss, NBA

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    The poster child for horrible Knicks draft picks, Frederic Weis was the 15th-overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. His selection was naturally welcomed with echoing New York boos.

    But considering Weis never appeared in a NBA game, we must remember his one Olympic highlight in defining his career.

    Vince Carter slam, ouch.

47. Dick Leftridge, NFL

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    As the third-overall pick in the '66 Draft, fullback Dick Leftridge was expected to make at least a slight impact.

    One season, eight rushes, 17 yards. No impact made.

46. Yinka Dare, NBA

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    Centers aren't usually stellar passers, but this man's league record for playing in the most games without getting an assist is still somewhat disturbing.

    At the same time, the former 14th-overall pick of the Nets in '94 only averaged 2.1 points. He couldn't score, couldn't help others score and couldn't find his NBA nook.

    Once again, 7' only takes a man so far.

45. King Hill, NFL

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    He remains a pivotal member of the NFL Players Association, but King Hill wasn't exactly a stud while chucking the pigskin.

    The former first-overall pick tossed for 37 touchdowns, 71 interceptions and, most importantly, a rating of 49.3. Certainly wince-worthy.

44. Aleksandar Radojevic, NBA

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    7'3" big men are often expected to dominate, at least in the paint. But for the 12th-overall pick of the 1999 NBA Draft, things didn't quite work out as expected.

    In 15 career games over two seasons, the athletically-hindered Alex Radojevic would average a measly 1.7 points and 2.4 rebounds. And somehow manage to appear less intimidating than 5'3" Muggsy Bogues.

43. Istvan Kozma, Soccer

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    40 caps with the Hungarian national team and only one goal doesn't quite make fans salivate over Istvan Kozma's supposed prowess.

    But they were too busy trying to pronounce his name to care.

42. Ndudi Ebi, NBA

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    When he was taken 26th overall in the loaded 2003 NBA Draft by the Timberwolves out of Westbury Christian High School, scouts drooled over his potential.

    The 6'9" Ndudi Ebi was seen as perhaps the next Kevin Garnett, and certainly a future superstar. But 0.8 points per game in his rookie season didn't quite excite the coaches as many might expect. 13.5 points his second season came mostly in garbage time.

    He was cut the following preseason.

41. John Lam Jones, NFL

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    Since he'd won a gold medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics, John Lam Jones had scouts dreaming of the possibilities. And the Jets were sold, drafting him with the second-overall pick of the 1980 draft.

    But while the man could burn any cornerback, his $2.1 million contract didn't quite make his stone-cold hands any softer. Still a great distraction to attract the defense.

40. Tony Mandarich, NFL

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    "I am not like other players, I am Tony Mandarich, and they have to understand that. If they don't like it, that is just the way I am and they are going to learn to like it."

    From perhaps the most heralded offensive line prospect ever (chosen second overall by the Packers in '89) to arguably the greatest bust. What a road for the Mandarich.

39. Richard Zemlak, NHL

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    While he was useful in protecting his star teammates from hungry headhunters, forward Richard Zemlak did very little to stroke any offensive optimism.

    Two goals in 132 games, a plus/minus of -26...are we done here?

38. Jim Lillie, MLB

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    For four dead-ball era seasons in the late 1800s, outfielder Jim Lillie stunk it up with a certain uniqueness.

    Sure his career .219 average and six homeruns aren't too horrible next to such lacking peers as these, it was Lillie's '86 season that cemented him as a legend.

    114 games, .175 average, .197 on base percentage and a .197 slugging percentage.

    Jim Lillie is not pictured.

37. Chris Weinke, NFL

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    As a former minor-league baseball player, Chris Weinke entered the football world a bit later than most.

    From 29-year-old rookie quarterback to veteran backup on the Panthers, Weinke retired with only 15 touchdowns and 26 picks. And 13 fumbles.

36. Scott Fitzkee, NFL

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    17 receptions in four start-less seasons with the Eagles and Chargers...breathtaking.

    But what a name.

35. Greg Kite, NBA

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    Despite obviously-spectacular averages of 2.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, center Greg Kite did secure two championship rings as a backup on the established Celtics.

    Before he was waived in 1988 and never heard from again.

34. Razor Shines, MLB

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    81 career plate appearances, 15 hits, five RBI, .185 batting average, .239 on-base percentage, .198 slugging percentage, 16 total bases and one sacrifice fly.

    His statistics didn't quite do his legendary name justice.

33. Neil O'Donoghue, NFL

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    Despite a .59 career field goal percentage, Neil O'Donoghue somehow lasted nine years in the NFL.

    But his atrocious tenure on the gridiron is highlighted by two forgettable games.

    Not only did he miss three field goal attempts in overtime of a Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants during the 1983 season (20-20 tie), but he missed a potential game-winning kick against the Washington Redskins in the final game of the 1984 season that would have earned the St. Louis Cardinals a postseason berth.

    Can anyone say Ray Finkle?

32. Akili Smith, NFL

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    Too much partying and not enough training seem to be what led to Akili Smith's demise only four seasons after being taken third overall by the beleaguered Bengals.

    He was a gazelle among lions on that gridiron.

31. Ed Nealy, NBA

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    An eighth-round pick of the Kansas City Kings in 1982, 6'7" Ed Nealy was both a coach's delight and a statistical nightmare.

    Despite averaging 2.7 points and 3.3 rebounds, Nealy was particularly admired by Phil Jackson.

    ''I would say Nealy probably pleases me the most,'' he said.

30. Rashard Anderson, NFL

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    A 6'2" cornerback out of Jackson State, Rashard Anderson was expected to be the next shutdown defender when he was drafted by the Panthers with the 23rd pick of the '00 draft.

    But in two seasons (before being suspended for substance abuse), Anderson racked up only 51 tackles and plenty of cringe-worthy highlights.

    The prime example of a weak defender.

29. Tony Suck, MLB

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    The epitome of a bad baseball player, Tony Suck's all-too-perfect name and horrific stats meshed to form quite the historical specimen.

    As if his .205 average, zero home runs and zero RBI weren't enough, perhaps his .864 total fielding percentage (catcher, center field and shortstop) can better detail his lacking talent.

28. Troy Williamson, NFL

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    After trading Randy Moss to Da Raidas, the Vikings were in dire need of a speed demon to dominate the seams. Welcome South Carolina speedster Troy Williamson, the seventh pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. 

    Six seasons and 87 receptions later, it's finally clear Minnesota forgot to test his hands.

27. J.R. Phillips, MLB

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    The quintessential AAAA player, J.R. Phillips raked minor league pitching but never could translate that success to the Major League level.

    In seven seasons, the first baseman hit .188 with 23 homeruns. Obviously memorable.

26. Kim McQuilken, NFL

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    A happy, almost comical ending for perhaps the least successful gridiron passer of all time.

    After being taken in the third round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Falcons, Kim McQuilken went on to toss a magnificent four touchdowns and 29 interceptions in bits of seven seasons.

    He would eventually become the vice president of Cartoon Network. His forgettable career would've made a solid first sketch.

25. Marv Throneberry, MLB

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    Despite hitting .237 with 53 home runs and 170 RBI in 480 games, Marvelous Marv Throneberry is most remembered for a bevy of curious dugout stories. All rich in content.

    But he is perhaps remembered most as the starting first baseman on the notorious 1962 Mets club that lost 120 games. His .981 fielding percentage shadowed a forgettable year.

24. John McKay Jr., NFL

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    Many believe this man's 41 career catches were a pure form of nepotism, considering the tiny receiver played under his father at USC (named Rose Bowl MVP in 1975) and on the Buccaneers (during their first three years of existence).

    John McKay Sr. looked past his son's athletic limitations and offered him a shot. And he uttered the comment of the millennium when elaborating on the recruitment process.

    "I had an advantage, I slept with his mother." Yes you did.

23. Wade Belak, NHL

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    A sad ending for the late Wade Belak.

    The 12th pick of the '94 draft by the Nordiques, Belak would finish his career with eight goals in 549 games. It was a tough journey for the former pro.

22. Tommy Dowd, MLB

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    With a nickname like Buttermilk Tommy, we'd expect Tommy Dowd to be rich in talent and oozing with drool-worthy potential.

    But the utility journeyman made 352 errors in 10 years. And he couldn't exactly hit.

    We're starting to believe buttermilk was more in reference to the resulting stomach ache.

21. Spergon Wynn, NFL

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    Known as the last quarterback picked in the draft before Tom Brady in 2000, Spergon Wynn only totalled 152 passing attempts during his brief NFL career.

    The Texas State product couldn't take advantage of the opportunity, finishing with one touchdown, seven interceptions and a rating of 39.5.

20. Andre Racicot, NHL

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    Nicknamed Red Light after allowing three goals on six shots in his first NHL game, Andre Racicot never could elude the vibrant siren that exploded with every score.

    The Canadiens helped him to 26 wins, but Racicot's .880 career save percentage reveals his personal lack of glove work.

19. Rocky Thompson, NFL

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    A running back/receiver out of West Texas State with world-class speed, Rocky Thompson never quite developed into an even decent kick returner after the Giants took him with the 18th pick of the '71 draft.

    During his three years in the Big Apple, Thompson scored three total touchdowns and averaged 3.2 yards per carry. He was cut before the start of the '74 season.

18. Mike Phipps, NFL

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    The third pick of the 1970 draft, Mike Phipps is remembered more for his exotic last name than he is for his strong, yet inefficient right arm.

    55 touchdowns, 108 interceptions and little else. Pure disappointment.

17. Jim McIlvaine, NBA

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    A second-round pick of the Bullets in 1994, center Jim McIlvaine is known more for his controversial signing with the Sonics than he is for his mediocre play.

    With Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton and a solid collection of role players filling out the lineup, Seattle was left with a void at center, and decided to sign this free agent shot-blocker to a seven-year, $33.6 million contract (despite averages of 2.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game the year before).

    Not only was he useless on the court, but McIlvaine's contract angered the Seattle faithful, especially Kemp and Payton. The team crumbled the following season.

16. Kendall Cole Wise, MLB

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    With a lifetime average of .174 and three homeruns, it's clear second baseman Kendall Cole Wise couldn't do much of anything with a piece of lumber in his hands.

    But his nickname, Casey (derived from the initials K.C.) keeps him a footnote in moniker history.

15. Carlton Palmer, Soccer

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    He's been called "arguably the worst player to be capped by England". And for good reason.

    With one goal in 18 appearances for the national team, Carlton Palmer (not to be confused with Carson or Arnold Palmer) left his generously-mediocre legacy intact.

14. JaMarcus Russell, NFL

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    The epitome of the word bust, this former LSU stud's career went down the drains faster than Bo Jackson once ran the 40-yard dash.

    From franchise quarterback to purple drank extraordinaire, JaMarcus Russell looked like a pee-wee backup during his time under center.

    7-18 as a starter, and a permanent NFL punch-line.

13. Robert Dee, Tennis

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    Despite a record-breaking run of 54 straight-set losses on the international professional circuit (through 2010), tennis player Robert Dee was determined to get some apologies.

    A rough start for the young Brit.

12. Arnold Sidebottom, Soccer

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    All it took was one Test match for England footballer Arnie Sidebottom to realize he'd better find another career.

    Unfortunately he wasn't any better at cricket. His son? Well, Ryan was a different story.

11. Tommy Lasorda, MLB

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    Long before winning two championships and two Manager of the Year awards with the Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda was an undrafted hurler looking for a shot.

    But in three Major League seasons, Lasorda took that opportunity and turned it into a 0-4 record with a 6.48 ERA. He had plenty of time to study the diamond from the bullpen.

10. Ryan Leaf, NFL

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    Calling the second pick of the 1998 draft a bust is easily the most generous way to describe Ryan Leaf.

    And to think the Colts were frozen between Leaf and some guy named Peyton Manning with the first pick. The Chargers got the raw end, considering their former signal caller has seemingly racked up more arrests than touchdowns (almost, but not literally).

    Just don't talk to him.

9. Jack Haley, NBA

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    A 6'10 big man from Huntington Beach, Jack Haley seemingly lived the same dream life in the NBA that he must've enjoyed in California.

    Nepotism isn't quite the word, but as Dennis Rodman's alleged babysitter-good friend, it's safe to assume Haley was just along for the ride.

    Let's watch the original white mamba try to score.

8. Babe Laufenberg, NFL

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    This Babe's career is defined by two contrastingly-memorable moments.

    On the one hand, Laufenberg is said to have given fullback Daryl Johnston the nickname "Moose" because he resembled the regal creature when towering over his herd-of-deer teammates. A hilarious side note indeed.

    On the other, he tossed four interceptions against the Eagles while replacing an injured Troy Aikman in Week 15 of the '90 season. The entire NFC East would make the postseason that year, except the Cowboys.

7. Robert Swift, NBA

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    He may look more like the ringleader of Marilyn Manson's No. 1 fan club, but Robert Swift was once a promising 7'1" big man out of Bakersfield High School in California.

    But injuries, missed free throws and a lack of physicality led to Swift's disappearance from the NBA. He now finds himself playing for former coach Bob Hill on the Tokyo Apache.

6. Maurice Flitcroft, Golf

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    Scoring a 49 over par, 121 at the 1976 Open (the worst ever in the tournament's history) was all "chain-smoking shipyard crane-operator" Maurice Flitcroft had to do to cement his name in the record books.

    A true legend.

5. Bob Uecker

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    Some know him as George Owens from the 1980 sitcom Mr. Belvedere, others as comically inebriated broadcaster Harry Doyle from Major League. But once upon a time, Bob Uecker was a mediocre catcher getting his feet wet in the Majors.

    Even if he only hit .200, at least Uecker has a homerun off legendary southpaw Sandy Koufax to smile about. And he's always smiling.

4. Bob Timberlake, NFL

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    A legendary quarterback/kicker at Michigan who had just led his Wolverines to a 34–7 victory over Oregon State Beavers in the 1965 Rose Bowl game, Bob Timberlake was naturally chosen with the 33rd pick of the '65 draft by the G-Men.

    But after losing the quarterback job, Timberlake was assigned to kickoffs and long field goals. And a 43-yard field goal in October of 1965 would give his coaches plenty to smile about.

    Until he missed his next 14 in a row. He was cut the following season.

3. Ali Dia, Soccer

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    "He ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice; it was very embarrassing to watch." - retired English footballer Matt Le Tissiser

    Ali Dia does deserve credit for successfully getting his buddy to pose as former FIFA World Player of the Year George Weah and recommend him to manager Graeme Souness.

    But then he stepped on the field...

2. Rusty Lisch, NFL

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    Stats don't lie, and quarterback Rusty Lisch's one touchdown and 11 interceptions in 30 games certainly tell most of his story.

    A flourishing career as Joe Montana's backup at Notre Dame led to professional failure for the former Fighting Irish signal caller.

    He was naturally pulled in 1984 while playing for injured quarterbacks Jim McMahon and Steve Fuller...for none other than running back Walter Payton.

1. Mario Mendoza, MLB

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    Mendoza line: The .200 mark in baseball parlance. 

    That just about covers former infielder Mario Mendoza. His career became the benchmark for futility, the standard for mediocre. Who else can say that?

    Recognized failure at its finest.


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