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7/29/2008 12:23:00 PM
The Most Eccentric Athletes in Sports
Turk Wendell (pictured with daughter, Dakota, heads our list of most eccentric athletes.
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
At this point, as long as Manny Ramirez is involved, nothing is surprising anymore. He high fives fans during plays, gets into dust-ups with teammates, says he'd welcome a trade then goes 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs. He once sold a grill on eBay, disappears inside the Monster during pitching changes, lost a diamond earring sliding into third base. Ramirez is probably the penultimate modern-day eccentric athlete. Who's stranger? Here's my top five all-time eccentric athletes.
1. Turk Wendell -- Anyone remember Mr. Wendell? He brushed his teeth in the dugout between innings, would crouch whenever his catcher stood, demanded the ump roll the ball to him, and wore number 99 in honor of Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn. Unfortunately, he was better as a study in superstition than as a reliever; he bounced around MLB for a decade and retired with a 36-34 record.
4. Wade Boggs -- The man ate chicken before every game for 18 years, and had a pregame routine so regimented that it ran with military precision.
5. Jason Terry -- The Mavs guard has curbed his enthusiasm of late, but at his worst he would sleep in his uniform the night before games, only eat chicken fingers on game days and always played in five pairs of socks.
Who was your favorite eccentric athlete? Let us know below ...
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
Zach Greinke is seriously the wierdest pitcher in the American League in recent years. Last season, he ate a Chipotle burrito every day of training camp. He also had to sit out for most of 2006 because of his mental illness. He actually said it was a revelation to him that winning a game and competing could be fun. Zach admitted fooling around with hitters and not really caring about getting people out while he pitched them 60 mph fastballs. Suddenly, on his medication, he can throw in the mid 90's into the late innings.