Michael Jordan Or Wayne Gretzky? The 30 Most Dominant Athletes Of All Time
It's a word we use in every day life.
However, contrary to popular belief, it's certainly not something we see in everyday life.
Seeing anybody dominate anything in this world is rare enough, let alone the sports world.
Dominant athletes come around once a generation.
There is a difference between a great athlete and a dominate one.
For example, arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, Joe Montana would most certainly make a list of the 30 greatest athletes of all time, however, he doesn't make the cut on this list of the 30 most dominant athletes.
Why you ask?
Although he did win four rings in his career, he never dominated the game quite like his running mate, Jerry Rice who led the league in receiving six times over a ten year period.
Some of the athletes on this list may surprise you, as will some of the ones omitted, but I feel I made the best choices.
I can guarantee you that for a good amount of time, each athlete on this list was the most feared person in their respective game, and put up numbers that were hard to fathom.
That's what I like to call each athlete's "period of domination."
And while some of the athletes on this list's weren't long enough to span a career, there numbers during that run were absolutely insane.
I tried to represent as many sports as I possibly could here. Hockey, baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, horse racing, cricket, track, cycling, squash, boxing, and Greco-Roman wrestling are among the sports represented.
Without further ado, I give you the 30 most dominant athletes of all time. Enjoy!
30. Pete Maravich
Pete Maravich is not a part of this list because of his days as a Hall Of Fame point guard for Atlanta and New Orleans, he makes this list solely based on his college dominance—the only player to make the list based off college performance.
Was Maravich the greatest college basketball player of all-time? It's debatable, but that debate would likely end with three words: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (known as Lew Alcindor in his college days).
However, while Alcindor was the more decorated of the two in their college days, Maravich was more dominant.
For proof of that, look no further than his per-game averages.
In his three years at LSU, Maravich averaged 43.8, 44.2, and 44.5 points per game respectively.
That calculates to a 44.2 point per game average over a three year period.
Pretty impressive, huh?
Allow me to blow your mind some more.
Maravich, a player known for his range on the court, put up these ridiculous scoring totals before college basketball used a three-point line.
Still not impressed?
LSU Head Coach Dale Brown charted every college game Maravich played, taking all shots he took into consideration. Brown calculated that had the NCAA used a three-point line during Maravich's heyday, he would have averaged 13 threes a game.
That would have brought his college career scoring average to 57 points per game.
You read that correctly, 57 points per game.
If you don't think that's dominant then you should probably make sure you know the correct definition of the word.
29. Pedro Martinez
I know what you're thinking, Pedro Martinez as one of the 30 most dominant athletes of all time? What a joke.
Just drop your pitchfork for a second and listen.
From 1997 to 2003, Pedro Martinez was as dominant as any pitcher in the history of baseball.
He was every bit as good as Bob Gibson, Cy Young, Christy Matthewson, and any other all time great pitcher you care to name.
Before I dive into the numbers, let me just enlighten you on something. Martinez's 2001 season is omitted from the seven year period from 1997-2003 because he was injured for much of the year.
And we will also omit his pesky 1998 season where he was a little off his game (he finished second in Cy Young voting and had a 2.89 ERA, how horrible!)
Here's Pedro's five years of domination by the numbers.
From 1997 to 2003 (not including the two previously omitted seasons) Pedro never had an ERA higher than 2.26, he never finished lower than third in Cy Young voting, and was only left out of the top two just once, he led the league in WHIP in all five seasons, he led the league in ERA in all five seasons, he led the league in hits per nine inning in all five seasons, and he led the league in strikeouts per nine innings in all five seasons.
And Martinez did all this in what was by far the most dominant era for hitters. Not to mention the fact that his competition for those Cy Young awards were mostly steroid users.
Find me a run of five years where any pitcher was more dominant than Martinez (besides Sandy Koufax, we'll get to him later) and I will mail you a check for $500. Better yet, I'll make it straight cash homey.
Keep in mind, guys like Cy Young and Christy Matthewson may have had better ERA's and more wins, but that has a lot to do with the era they played in.
Martinez peaked at the same time as guys like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire who had way more pop—steroids or not—than anyone Young or Matthewson ever faced.
28. Carl Lewis
Carl Lewis is one of the most dominant figures in the history of track and field.
He was one of the greatest sprinters of all time.
The Track and Field News named him athlete of the year in 1982, 1983, and 1984.
He set records in the 100m, 4 x 100m, and 4 x 200m relays.
That stuff is all amazing, but in my mind, where Carl Lewis truly dominated was the sandpit.
This guy absolutely dominated as a long-jumper.
For starters his world record for longest indoor long jump has not been matched since he set the record in 1984.
Also, he didn't lose a long jump for a decade, winning 65 straight competitions.
27. Ty Cobb
Let me get one thing out of the way before I begin, Ty Cobb was quite possibly the biggest douche in the history of sports.
He was also one of the most dominant athletes in the history of sports.
In his 24-year career Cobb hit over .300 23 times, over .400 three times, and stole 897 bases.
Over a 13 year period from 1907-1919, Cobb led the league in batting average 11 times, OPS nine times, hits seven times, steals six times, and runs scored five times.
He even led the league in RBI's on three ocassions and homers once. He wasn't even a power hitter!
However, the case against Cobb is quite compelling too.
In his 24-year career, Cobb walked more than 80 times just twice, he never hit more than 12 home runs in a season, and he surpassed the 100 RBI plateau just seven times.
Doesn't sound too dominant, does he?
Allow me to elaborate on those numbers.
Well, there are two reasons why Cobb's power numbers never soared:
1. He played in the dead-ball era.
2. He didn't want them to.
I know what you're thinking, what do you mean he didn't want them to?
Let me explain.
Ty Cobb never really liked Babe Ruth (or anybody else) because he thought that hitting home runs like that is not the way the game should be played.
However, being the competitor he was, Cobb decided to prove that if he wanted to, he could have been just as good as Ruth when it came to hitting the long ball.
Before a game on May 5, 1925 Cobb said he would swing for the fences to prove he had as much pop as The Great Bambino. That game Cobb went six-for-six with three home runs.
The next game Cobb added two more homers to prove it was no fluke.
So keep in mind Cobb very well could have been even more dominating than he already was.
Either way, Cobb was a faster, even better contact hitting, more douchey Ichiro who played in an era where great offensive players were unheard of.
26. Heather McKay
Never heard of Heather McKay? I forgive you.
McKay was, by far, the most dominant female athlete of all time, and it's not even close.
The only female found on this list, McKay, is a former Australian Squash player.
And she absolutely dominated the sport.
From 1962 to 1981, McKay was undefeated in competitive squash matches.
That's 19 years without losing!
From 1962-1977, McKay won 16 consecutive British Open's (the Super Bowl of Australian Squash at the time).
In her lengthy career, McKay lost only two competitive squash matches.
Once in 1960 and once in 1962, both of which were towards the beginning of McKay's career, and way before she peaked.
She was absolutely dominant, and nobody ever came close to beating her when she was in her prime.
The Tiger Woods of squash, minus the scandal.
If 20 years without losing, 16 consecutive championships, and only two career losses aren't dominant enough for you than I'll be hard pressed to find something that is.
I could have chose Man-O-War here, who won 20 of 21 races in his illustrious career.
But instead I'm going to go with the horse who not only won races, he dominated them.
Secretariat set records and made other horses look like Mo Vaughn out on the track. Just look at how far behind the other horses are in the picture to the left.
His triple crown victory in 1973 was so dominant that he makes this list based on that performance alone.
The quest for a triple crown began with the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs where he set a still-standing track record by running the race in 1:59 2/5, running each quarter-mile faster than the last.
Nobody would run the race in under two minutes again for another 28 years.
Next up was the Preakness Stakes, where Secretariat would triumph once again. However, this wasn't without controversy. His two and a half length victory was clocked with three different times.
Since the track's electronic timer had malfunctioned during the race. The infield teletimer displayed a time of 1:55, while the Pimlico Race Course clocker, E.T McLean Jr.had the time at 1:54 2/5.
Then the true controversy set in, when two Daily Racing Form clockers had the time at 1:53 2/5, which would have broke the course record.
The Maryland Jockey Club decided that the recognized time would be 1:54 2/5, but some people still believe that Secretariat did in fact break the course record.
If he hadn't done so already, Secretariat solidified his dominance in the third leg of the Triple Crown-the Belmont Stakes.
He won the race by a ridiculous and record-setting 31 lengths. Breaking the old record by six lengths.
He also ran the fastest one and a half miles on dirt in horse racing history at 2:24 flat, breaking the old record by two seconds. To this day, nobody has ever ran better than a 2:25 on dirt for one and a half miles.
He absolutely dominated!
Nobody has ever dominated the world of horse racing the way Secretariat did in 1973, and nobody ever will again.
24. Lawrence Taylor
Nobody dominated on the defensive side of the ball like the real LT.
He is, and always will be, the only defensive player in NFL history who could win a game by himself.
He was fast, agile, strong, and scary as hell.
There was no point in game planning against him because, even if you put five blockers on him, you weren't getting between him and the ballcarrier.
I could use numbers to justify the dominance of Taylor, he did have seven straight seasons of 10+ sacks, but I won't do that.
Instead allow me to bring to light just how much of an impact LT's dominance had on the game of football.
Younger football fans, and quite a few older ones will never understand for the life of them why Left Tackle's are often one of the highest paid players on a football team and drafted early annually in the NFL Draft.
However, for an explanation of that you should look no further than Lawrence Taylor.
His blindside hit on Joe Theismann back in 1985 ended Theismann's career right before our eyes.
It was then that NFL teams realized that if they were going to keep there quarterbacks off the turf and off the stretcher, they needed to lock up an elite left tackle.
Taylor also impacted the game in that his dominance made NFL teams begin to look for extremely fast and agile outside linebackers and defensive ends like Taylor, to get to the quarterback.
Few players dominate a game enough to forever change the landscape of it, but that's exactly what LT did.
23. Lance Armstrong
I know, I know putting Lance Armstrong this low is blasphemy, but just hear me out for a second.
I am as big a Lance Armstrong fan as anybody, and as much as I'd love to give him the top 10 ranking that most would, he just doesn't deserve it.
Yes I'm well aware of what he's accomplished—seven straight Tour de France victories after coming back from cancer should not be taken with a grain of salt.
But neither should the fact that Lance was a one-trick pony.
The public consensus is that Lance is the greatest cyclist of all-time.
As much as I'd like to say that's true, I can't.
Armstrong geared his entire training so he would peak at the Tour de France.
He never raised any eyebrows with his performances in the Giro D'Italia or the Vuelta a España, and that's because the only race Lance Armstrong ever truly cared about was the Tour de France.
And there's no shame in that.
I'm not trying to rip on Armstrong, just appearing on this list is an honor in itself, I'm just trying to justify his low ranking.
Winning seven consecutive Tour de France's is pretty damn dominant, and when you do it after returning from cancer that makes it all the more impressive.
One way or another, Lance Armstrong is one of the most dominating athletes of all-time.
22. Usain Bolt
There is no more perfect name for the man who bolted himself into track and field history in the time frame of just one year.
He has been setting records his entire life. It has become expected of him to set a record nearly every time he lines up for a race.
People don't ask, "Who will win this race?" When Bolt competes, they ask, "Will Bolt break the world record?"
He is regarded as the fastest man that ever lived.
He holds the world record for the 100 m, 200 m, and (with teammates) 4 x 100 m races. He even held records before becoming a pro, he became the youngest man to ever receive a Gold Medal at the Junior World Championships.
In 2004, he became the first junior sprinter to ever break 20 seconds on the 200 m race.
Bolt ran a 9.69 in the 2008 Olympic Games, giving him the largest record breaking margin since the beginning of the use of digital time measurements.
At the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, he became the first sprinter since Carl Lewis in 1984 to win three gold medals in three separate sprinting events in a single Olympic games.
At the age of 24, Bolt isn't done yet and said he expects to break 9.40 in the 100 m dash at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Whether he breaks it or not, Bolt's accomplishments at his young age already merit a mention on this list.
21. Mike Tyson
There was a time when Mike Tyson was more than just a punch-line. Much, much more.
There's no doubt that Tyson has fallen from grace just as hard as Michael Jackson, Brittney Spears, and Lindsey Lohan, but much like them, he was once a star.
In fact Tyson was more than a star. He was the baddest man on the planet, and nobody with a brain dared to doubt that.
"Iron Mike" talked a good game, and man did he back it up. He had one of the nastiest punches boxing has ever seen.
He was the guy you would name when asked who you'd least like to meet in a dark alley.
He often disposed of his opponents in the first round, but those who made it farther didn't last. Mike Tyson was unbeatable. It was a fact. Everyone knew it. He wasn't even beatable on Nintendo.
He was destined to become the greatest boxer of all time.
He opened his career at 37-0 with 33 knockouts. He was the first boxer to ever hold the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles at the same time. He was the only man to ever knockout Larry Holmes.
He was absolutely dominant.
Nobody wanted to face him. He was scary, intimidating, and really, really, really good in the ring. His name was ready to go up there with Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis.
However, his reign of dominance came to a shocking end on Febuary 11, 1990, when he was defeated by no-name fighter Buster Douglas.
That was the end of Tyson as we knew him. He turned into a complete psycho after that fight and went on to tarnish his legacy. But that doesn't take away from what he did.
What Mike Tyson did was become the most feared man in the history of boxing for a period of five years.
And nobody can take that away from him.
20. Eddy Merckx
There you have it, Eddy Merckx, the most dominant cyclist of all time. Lance Armstrong would tell you himself.
Unlike Armstrong, Merckx put forth results in more places than just the Tour de France.
He is one of only four men to win all three big stage races in his career. And the only man to wear the leaders jersey for all three in the same year.
He won five Tour de Frances in six years, five Giro D’Italias in seven years, and one Vuelta a España.
Eddy has a career winning percentage of 33 percent despite racing year round, an achievement that any cycling fan will tell you is much more impressive than it sounds.
He holds the records for most career victories (525), most victories in one season (54), and most stage victories in one Tour de France (8).
Merckx dominated the cycling circuit year round, he was every bit as good as Armstrong, plus he did it year round.
Lance will tell you himself, Eddy Merckx is the most dominant cyclist of all time, and one of the most dominant athletes of all time overall.
And that's not up for debate.
19. Sandy Koufax
Anybody who knows anything about baseball knows that Sandy Koufax was really, really good.
But, I don't think most people know just how good he was.
Sandy Koufax was the greatest pitcher to ever step foot on the mound, and it really shouldn't be debated.
However, that wasn't always the case. In six seasons before his 25th birthday Koufax was extremely mediocre, and almost considered giving baseball up.
Until he decided to work out and see just how good he could be.
Koufax went into the 1961 season in much better condition than in previous seasons, and with a new windup.
That season he went 18-13 with a 3.52 ERA and then record 269 strikeouts in 255 innings.
Apparently that was a transition season for Koufax because for the next five years he was in a different solar system than everybody else.
He led the league in ERA five times, wins three times, WHIP four times, strikeouts three times, shutouts three times, and wins three times.
In a five year period!
His highest ERA in that five year period was 2.54. His second highest? An absolutely mind-boggling 2.04.
His other three ERA's were 1.73, 1.74, and 1.88. Not bad, huh?
He kept his WHIP below 1.000 a remarkable four times, struck out over 300 batters three times, tossed over 20 complete games three times, won more than 25 games three times, threw four no-hitters, and he won three Cy Young Awards, and finished third once.
He also won an MVP award.
Did I mention he did all this in a period of five years?
And here's my favorite thing about Koufax—after a Cy Young award winning, 27-9 campaign, that you could argue was his best to date, he retired. At the age of 31.
God only knows just how many more 25+ win, sub-2.00 ERA seasons Koufax could have posted.
Sandy was a man among boys. And we've never seen, nor will we ever see again a pitcher as dominant as he was.
18. Edwin Moses
Edwin Moses is to track and field as UCONN is to Women's College Basketball.
For an extended period of time, Moses forgot how to lose.
From 1977 to 1987 Moses won 107 consecutive finals, 122 consecutive races overall, and set multiple world records.
10 straight years and 122 consecutive races without losing is about as automatic a bid onto this list as being named Michael Jordan.
17. Jerry Rice
Jerry Rice wasn't the fastest guy of all time. He wasn't the biggest either.
But when it comes to talks of the greatest wide receivers of all time, he has put himself in his own stratosphere.
Before I say any more, let me just point out that Rice is the all-time leader in nearly every statistical category for a wide receiver.
He also caught 92 passes at the age of 40 years old! It takes a true football fan to appreciate that.
However, Rice's best years unsurprisingly came back in his late 20s and early 30s.
From 1986-1995 Rice led the league in receiving six times, touchdowns six times, (including a then-record 22 TD's in a strike shortened 12-game season) and had more than 10 touchdowns in all but one season.
However, what really made Rice dominant was just how much better he was than every other receiver that played in his era.
It was Jerry Rice, then it was everybody else.
He was unstoppable. And he made his quarterbacks so much better.
16. Josh Gibson
What if I told you that the all-time Home Run King was not Barry Bonds?
And no, it's not Hank Aaron either.
His name is Josh Gibson, and if you haven't heard of him yet I suggest you Google him.
The mans name is hardly mentioned these days, but there's only one reason for that—he played in the Negro Leagues.
That's right the segregation laws of the early 20th century robbed us of what could have been the greatest baseball career of all time.
Back in his heyday, people who had seen both Babe Ruth and Gibson play, would often refer to Ruth as "the white Josh Gibson."
Yes, he was that good.
And there's numbers to back it up.
Although nobody's sure of what it exactly was, it has been said that Gibson's average fell somewhere between .350 and .384.(According to the Hall of Fame it sits at .359.)
Watch out Ty Cobb!
It has also been said that he hit more than or close to 800 Home Runs in his 17-year career.
That's right, 800!
You could make the argument that Negro League competition was inferior to Major league competition, but when you're hitting 800 Home Runs with a .359 average, (there's a good chance both stats are higher) and people in your era are having a hard time deciding who's better, you or Babe Ruth, you've clearly dominated your respective game and earned a spot on this list.
This pick will likely cause a lot of controversy, but nobody will be more controversial than this guy...
15. Barry Bonds
Yes, he cheated.
Yes, he lied about it.
Yes, I think he's just as much of a douche as you do.
And yes, he was one of the most dominant athletes of all time.
Look, I know that Bond's numbers were aided by Performance Enhancing Drugs, but so were 75 percent of the other players in his era.
And although that doesn't justify what he did, the fact is, there was a time when the baseball diamond was his empire, and he reigned supreme.
And that's what this list is about.
It's not about what you did to dominate, it's about the fact that you dominated, and Bonds did in a big way.
Pitchers were literally afraid of him. He led the league in intentional walks seven times in a row, and five more times scattered after that.
He holds seven of the top nine marks for most intentional walks in a season.
His 120 free passes in 2004 is 75 more than any other player in MLB history not named Barry Bonds.
When pitchers fear facing you that much your spot on this list requires little explanation.
But if you want to see some of the stats that made pitchers so afraid to face him, tell me how eight 40+ home run seasons, three 40+ steals seasons, 12 100+ RBI seasons, 17 .400+ OBP seasons, four .500+ OBP seasons, one 73 Home Run season, seven MVP's, and 762 career Home Runs sounds.
That's what I thought.
14. Roger Federer
Roger Federer has dominated tennis for much of the past decade, and is widely considered the greatest player in tennis history.
He held off the man that some believe could one day overtake Federer as the greatest tennis player of all-time—Rafael Nadal—for 237 consecutive weeks on top of the rankings.
That's right, Federer was number one in the World Tennis Rankings for a record 237 consecutive weeks.
And that's a record by a large margin.
The second most consecutive weeks at number one belongs to American Jimmy Connors who trails Federer by a remarkable 77 weeks.
Federer was on top of the rankings for such a long reign that had he retired as soon as his number one streak ended he would have had the fourth most weeks of all-time as number one. In TOTAL.
That's almost like if Jay Z had an album top the charts for 237 weeks. It's hard to fathom.
Federer also holds the male record for most career Grand Slam titles with 16, most Grand Slam Final appearances with 22, and most consecutive semi-final or better appearances with 23.
If you don't think that's domination then you need domination lessons.
13. Jim Brown
Jim Brown has been called a lot of things. And the greatest running back in NFL History is one of 'em.
And that's right on.
Brown is still the only player in NFL History to finish his career with an average of more than 100 yards per game (104.3).
He surpassed 10 Touchdowns five times in his nine season career. This achievement is much more impressive when you consider that his career was split between 12 and 14 game seasons.
Brown led the league in rushing an unreal eight times in a nine year career.
In an era where a 1,000-yard rushing season was equivalent to around 1,500 yards in todays NFL, Brown surpassed the total in all but two of his seasons in the NFL.
Brown's 1963 season may be the greatest ever by a running back. He had a remarkable 1,863 yards that season. To put that in perspective, combined, the second and third leading rushers that season would have had only 300 yards more than Brown had alone.
He also averaged 133.1 yards per game that season, or 7.7 yards per game more than Chris Johnson had in his 2009 2,000 yard season.
Brown was a nine-time Pro Bowler and eight-time All-Pro in nine seasons. It's truly remarkable.
He's football's Sandy Koufax, minus the early career struggles, and with a longer reign of dominance.
The NFL will never see a running back like Jim Brown again.
12. Michael Phelps
Eight gold medals.
Eight World Records.
You can't have a list like this without Pele.
He was the Babe Ruth of soccer, the Michael Jordan of futbol.
The most dominant soccer player of all time, and no other soccer player deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as him.
10. Muhammad Ali
I know what you're thinking, Muhammad Ali at 10? 10? What's this guy smoking?
I'm not questioning the dominance of Ali, nor am I questioning his greatness, I'm just simply stating that there are nine athletes who were more dominant than Ali was and that's a fact.
Nevertheless, 10th on this list is certainly not a bad place to be, so let's take a look at why Ali comes in so high on a list overflowing with talent.
Ali has been cited by many as one of the greatest, if not the greatest heavyweight of all time. He is the only man to hold the heavyweight title three times, and many view him to be the definition of champion.
Few ever got it done in the ring better than Ali, but he made his mark out of the ring even better than he made it inside the ropes.
What truly made Ali dominate was the way he got in his opponents heads. He believed he was better than his opponent whether it was true or not, and he was going to let everyone know about it.
And he could back it up. He hosted a career 56-5 record which looks a lot better when you consider the fact that three of his five losses came in his last four fights when he was already blown out and had flirted with retirement several times.
Regardless, we all know the name Muhammad Ali for good reason, there were few better.
9. Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain did whatever he wanted on the basketball court, and there wasn't a person in the NBA at that time who could tell him otherwise.
He owned the game from the second he made his debut.
Literally, he led the league in points per game and rebounds per game as a rookie. Wilt dominated before he hit his prime. That's saying something.
Chamberlain once averaged 50 points per game over the course of a full season. No your eyes are not deceiving you, Wilt went out there every night for 80 games, and consistently put up totals near or above 50 points.
From 1959 to 1966, Chamberlain led the league in points per game every season. He led the league in rebounds per game in every single year of his career but three. He even had eight assists per game twice, and he had a mind-boggling field goal percentage of 72 percent in his final season.
Oh yeah, he also scored 100 points in a single game. That's more than 13 NBA teams averaged per game last season!
Last time I checked you have to be pretty damn dominant to accomplish all those feats.
8. Don Hutson
That's right, Don Hutson, not Jerry Rice, is the most dominant wide receiver in NFL history. In fact, he's the most dominant player in NFL History. Period.
For those of you who don't know who Hutson is, you really should learn, because without him there would be no Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Isaac Bruce, or any passing game in the NFL period.
Before he came into the league guys were winning the receiving yardage title with 400 to 500 yards, Hutson changed the game forever.
When teams started to realize how lethal the passing game was for the Packers (namely because of Hutson) they began to start throwing the ball themselves, and look where it got us.
When Hutson retired he held nearly every receiving record by a large margin, and with the type of numbers he put up in a, run it down your throat or don't move the ball at all, type era he revolutionized the game.
In his 11-year career Hutson led the league in receptions eight times, receiving yards seven times, and receiving touchdowns eight times.
In 1942 he became the first player in NFL history to have a 1,000-yard receiving season. He did it on just an 11-game schedule too.
His 1942 season is the greatest by a wide receiver in NFL history, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. He totally dominated every other receiver in the league that season.
He led the league with 74 receptions that year, second in the league for receptions was Frank Ivy, he had 27. In fact, his 74 receptions that season were more than the player's with the second, third, and fourth most receptions combined, by a hefty 10 catches.
His yards total in that same '42 season was 1,211, the next two receiving leaders had 991 yards combined!
And please don't even get me started on the fact that he had 17 touchdown receptions in just 11 games that season.
Don Hutson dominated the game of football more than any other player in league history, and it really shouldn't even be up for debate.
Hutson changed the game, and owned it.
7. Sir Donald Bradman
Don't know who Donald Bradman is? Allow me to enlighten you.
Let me start off by saying that he was the first living Australian to have a museum dedicated to his life, his face appears on stamps and coins, he was named the Greatest Living Australian in 2001 by the Australian Prime Minister.
Keep in mind, he's just a damn cricket player!
Actually, at the risk of an Australian mob forming outside my house, I take that back. He's a cricket playing god.
I'll only need one number to justify my above statement here: 99.94.
That number is Bradman's career Test batting average.
Allow me to translate that to English for you. A 99.94 Test batting average in cricket is equivalent to a .392 career batting average in baseball and 43.0 career points per game in basketball.
The career batting average record stands at .366, while the career points per game mark is 30.1.
You may want to start to brush up on your Donald Bradman knowledge right about now.
6. Alexander Karelin
It's tough for me to sell you on a Greco-Roman wrestler being the sixth most dominating athlete of all time, and more dominating than Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Pele, Roger Federer, and Jim Brown, but the fact is, that Alexander Karelin is no ordinary Greco-Roman wrestler.
He is a special one.
For 13 years, you heard me, 13 years he did not lose a single match, including winning Gold at three straight Olympics.
In fact, for the last six years of his undefeated streak Karelin did not allow any opponent of his to score a single point. Six consecutive years of pro wrestling without giving up a single point.
Do you realize how dominant that is?
Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, or any other athlete you care to name do not have any achievements even close to as impressive as that one.
5. Joe Louis
I know I'm going to take a lot of heat for putting Joe Louis ahead of Muhammad Ali, but I'm ready for it.
How could you argue with the dominance of a man who made 25 consecutive title defenses and held the Heavyweight Championship for 140 straight months, (almost 12 years) at a time where the Heavyweight belt was 50 times more prestigious than it is now?
Oh wait, you can't.
4. Babe Ruth
George Herman Ruth changed the game of baseball. He transitioned the MLB from the stages of guys who hit for singles to guys who swung for the fences.
He was a generation ahead of everyone else, he was hitting 50 home runs, when 20 home runs was seen as hardly an achievable feat.
For example, in 1920 he hit 54 home runs. Second, third and fourth in the league for homers were George Sisler, Tilly Walker, and Cy Williams. They hit 51 combined.
That's a pretty comfortable margin.
From 1918 to 1931, Ruth led the league in home runs 12 times, OPS 13 times, slugging percentage 13 times, runs scored eight times, RBI's six times, and walks nine times.
In a 13 year period!
If you're not impressed by that, then maybe you will be by the fact that he once led the league in ERA, shutouts, complete games, and games started. As a pitcher! He was also a two-time 20-game winner.
Do you think Alex Rodriguez could lead the MLB in ERA?
3. Tiger Woods
Okay, Tiger Woods has fallen from grace quite hard, but the fact is, his career isn't over and one day he will likely return to his old dominant self.
However, even if he never does, he has rightfully earned his spot at number three on this list.
For a period of about 13 years he was so, so, so much better than everybody else in Golf.
When Federer dominated it was always Federer vs. Nadal, when Ali dominated it was Ali vs. Frazier, when Usain Bolt dominated it was Bolt vs. Tyson Gay, when Tiger dominated, it was Tiger vs. The Field.
He was that much better than everyone else. There was nobody who could compete with him on a regular basis, so every time he competed in a PGA Tour event it was simply Tiger vs. The Field.
From 1997-2009 he was the PGA player of the year 10 times.Which is the record for most times being named PGA Player of the Year, and he has a good chance to obliterate the old record.
At the age of just 34, Tiger Woods has already won 14 Major Golf Championships, 71 PGA Tour events, become the youngest player to ever pull of a career Grand Slam, and he's done it three times, he was the youngest and fastest golfer to have 50 tournament wins, and he has the most total and consecutive weeks as number one on the World Golf Rankings in golf history.
Love him or hate him, Tiger Woods has owned Golf over the last 13 years as good as anybody else has owned any sport, and we may very well see him regain his dominance.
2. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan, what do you say about the most electrifying, unstoppable, amazing, clutch, heroic athlete of all time?
I'll break down the numbers and accolades first.
Jordan is the only scoring champion to ever be named Defensive Player of the Year, he won nine scoring titles in a ten year period, and ten in total, he thrice led the league in steals, he was a Six Time NBA Champion, Five-Time Regular Season MVP, 14-time All-Star, Six-time NBA Finals MVP, 10-time All-NBA First Teamer, Nine-time All-NBA Defensive First Team, Three-time NBA All-Star Game MVP, Two-time Scoring Champion, and Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist.
That's some stacked mantle he's got there, huh?
However, despite all the ridiculous totals Air Jordan has put up, that's not what made him so dominant.
What made Jordan dominate was the fact that he was always much better than every other player on the court and he knew it. He would sink a jump shot in your face and then get in your face with a grin from ear to ear.
He would dunk in your face and then get in your face. He was out there to embarrass you and he did a pretty damn good job at that.
They say that when watching a sport you can always tell who the best players are just by the way they carry themselves, nobody in the history of sports carried himself better than Michael Jordan.
Anybody who has seen Jordan play knows just how dominant he was, every game he participated in he owned. He never had an off night, and he played his best games when his teams needed him.
He was just an outstanding competitor. He was a killer, he would put his life on the line to come out with the "W."
The only thing keeping Jordan from number one on this list is the fact that he retired twice in his prime.
1. Wayne Gretzky
There you have it, the most dominant athlete of all time—Wayne Gretzky.
The man owned hockey. When the day you're traded is considered one of the saddest days in the history of your city, you now you were pretty good.
And Gretzky was more than pretty good, he was unbelievable.
He was the greatest scorer in the history of hockey, and, by far, the best assist man in the history of the game.
He has 93 more goals than anybody in hockey history, he has the two highest goal scoring seasons in NHL history, he has over 700 more assists than anybody else in NHL history, he is the all-time NHL leader in assists per game and points per game, he had so many points in his career that had he not scored a single goal in his entire career he would still be the NHL all-time points leader.
Do you understand how great of an achievement that is? That means that he had more assists in his career than any other NHL player had assists plus goals.
He has 10 of the top 12 single seasons of all time in points scored, 11 of the top 12 seasons of all time in assists, and four of the top 10 seasons in goals scored.
He led the league in assists a remarkable 13 straight times, and points eight straight times.He is the only player in NHL history to top 200 points in a season, and he did it four times. His number has been retired by every team throughout hockey, not to mention he won nine Hart Trophies and four Stanley Cups.
There was never a player in the history of team sports like Gretzky. He could have scored 1,500 goals if he wanted, but he didn't want to, he wanted to get his whole team involved which shows with his ridiculous assist totals and his Stanley Cup total.
I'm Michael Jordan's biggest fan, but even I'll admit that Wayne Gretzky was much more dominant than him.
Gretzky was just a man among boys.