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7/29/2008 12:23:00 PM

The Most Eccentric Athletes in Sports

Turk Wendell
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.

2. Gilbert Arenas -- Gilbert is not only a nice guy, but he's also certifiable eccentric (though he hates the title). Here's a thorough rundown of some of his predilictions. Gotta love a guy who makes his free agency decisions based on a coin flip.

3. Mark Rhomberg -- He had a short baseball career, but was famous for having what sounds like the worst case of OCD, ever.

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
posted by SI.com | View comments |


Posted: July 30, 2008 2:55 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
1. Dennis Rodman - Unfortunately, a lot of what he did on the court (borderline HOF candidate) gets overshadowed by his antics.

2. Ron Artest - No explanation necessary.

3. Manny Ramirez - How many times have we heard "That's Manny being Manny"

4. Ricky Williams

5. Adam "Dont Call Me PacMan" Jones
Bill Russell would take a crap before everygame and when he didnt red would make the team go in the lockerroom and make him take his crap
Posted: July 31, 2008 3:56 AM   by Anonymous Marty
How does Dennis Rodman not make it onto this list?
Posted: July 31, 2008 1:39 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Posted: July 31, 2008 6:19 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Where's Mark "The Bird" Fidrych?
How Can You Forget About Bill "The Spaceman" Lee And Mark "The Bird" Fidrych?
Mark "The Bird" Fidrych
Bill "Spaceman" Lee
Tug McGraw
Dennis Rodman
Manny Ramirez
Ricky Williams
Barry Zito won't go on road trips without his scented candles and stuffed animals. He also dressed like a 70's porn star.
Posted: August 6, 2008 3:31 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
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.
Posted: August 17, 2008 6:45 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
You know that 'penultimate' means "next to last," right?
and rodman isnt borderline he is a hall of famer. to average 18 rebounds a game for years at 6 foot 7 is crazy.
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