Many fans have experienced broken hearts due to the early retirement of their most popular athletes. Some athletes retire at their prime at a younger age. Some retirements are caused by irreversible physical injuries, athletes’ desires or others caused by unclear circumstances. Others even retire due to loss of interest in their games. In some research, it is found that some athletes retire early to avoid meeting poor records when their careers end. With their retirements, the sports are never left the same. Superior and dominant athletes change the whole face of the game. Having many athletes who have retired at an early point in their career, we present our list of the best ten. They include:
List of Top 10 Athletes Who Retired Too Early
10. Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax, born in Brooklyn, New York on December 30, 1935. He is Jewish-American baseball pitcher that starred for the Los Angeles and Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1972 he was named the youngest player to be elected into the baseball hall of fame. His early retirement was brought about by elbow arthritis. He was the most dominant pitcher and a hard-throwing left-hander before being forced to retire at age 30. Between the year 1962 and 1966 Koufax recorded 111 wins against 34 losses, recorded 382 strikeouts setting a single-season record, captained the national league five times in ERA and won one Most Valuable Player trophy as well as 3 Cy Young Awards. In 1963 he was in the national spotlight after recording 15 strikeouts setting a single-game record in the world series. He retired on November 18, 1966, but remain to be a training instructor.
9. Lorena Ochoa
Lorena Ochoa is a Mexican native who dominated women golf for a couple of years. She became the greatest collegiate golfer ever. She began playing golf at age five and grew up next to Guadalajara Country Club. She won a state championship at the age six together with the national championship at age seven. Lorena won five straight years in the U.S. 8-12 Junior World Championship, twice in Japan, thrice in the Columbia championship and eight times in the Mexican championship. At age 28 she announced her retirement to focus on family and promote youth golf together with other charitable efforts.
8. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 17, 1963. He left college to join the NBA. He was a professional basketball player, actor, businessperson and Olympic athlete and was considered the best basketball player ever. He led the Chicago Bulls to make it to the playoffs. He won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, the All-star MVPs three times and the Regular season MVPs five times. This made him the NBA’s most decorated player. At an early age, Michael developed a competitive edge making him want to win every game he played. He retired in 2006 being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He received the greatest honours in basketball in 2009 and presented with a Presidential Medal of Freedom honour in 2016 by Barrack Obama.
7. Bobby Orr
Bobby Orr was considered an all-time greatest hockey player. In 1979 he was inducted into the hockey hall of fame. He played for the Chicago Blackhawks and the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins. He won a lot of trophies among them the Calder Memorial Trophy, Conn Smyth trophy twice, a first All-star Team Defense eight times, Art Ross Trophy twice, Hart Memorial Trophy thrice, second All-star Team Defense and the James Norris Memorial Trophy eight times. He won 2 scoring titles and awarded the Officer of the Oder of Canada in 1979. Between 1963 and 1966 He played for the Oshawa Generals, and in 1998 he was inducted into the Canada’s Walk of Fame. He retired in November 2008 for the Oshawa Generals.
6. Ken Dryden
Ken Dryden was considered by many the best hockey player of all time. He joined the NHL hockey in the 1970s. Dryden has appeared in 64 games where he won 39 games and lost only eight. He received the Calder Trophy as well as an invitation to join the backstop Team in Canada that was scheduled to meet the Soviet Union. He retired after seven years in the greatest hockey dynasties following the 1978-79 seasons. He stands 3rd among Habs goaltenders for wins, shootouts, games played and career goals-against average.
5. Jim Brown
Jim Brown worked as a film actor, a model and a record-holding former NFL fullback. He is an all-American athlete who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was born on St. Simons Island, on the southern coast of Georgia. Brown became the stand bearer for seven seasons for all the NFL running backs recording remarkable season totals. At age 30 Brown was inducted into the pro football hall of fame and announced his retirement to focus on a film career. He left football for good making appearances in more than 30 films.
4. Bo Jackson
Bo Jackson is a multitalented athlete that entered into fame in the 1980s excelling in football and baseball. He participated in both the MLB and NFL. Professionally he played for the California angles, the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals in 1986. He was the baseball All-star Game MVP in 1989 and achieved four twenty-home-run seasons posting a record. During his last game, he suffered a hip injury forcing him to retire from football.
3. Rocky Marciano
Rocky Marciano was an American professional boxer that held the world heavyweight title from the year 1952-1956. He defended that title 6 times and went undefeated in his whole career. Marciano was ranked by most boxing historians the best of all time best heavyweight boxer. He is well known for his stamina, an iron chin and his relentless fighting style. Marciano went for training for only one in four years and considered to step out without coming back again. After retiring, he ventured a filming career and later faced is death on August 31, 1969, in a plane crash.
2. Bjorn Borg
Bjorn Borg was a Swedish superstar tennis player. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden in June 6, 1956. His career began naturing at the age of 9 and represented his country’s Davis Cup team at age 15. He won the French Open championship at age 18 and posted five consecutive Wimbledon Crowns. In 1987 he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He suddenly retired at age 26 and attempted to make a comeback at age 30, but he faced a lot of struggle competing against the younger pros.
1. Barry Sanders
Barry Sanders was born on July 16, 1968. He is an American footballer who spent the whole of his professional career in the National Football League with the Detroit Lions. He is a member of both the professional and college football halls of fame. He ranked as the most elusive runner by NFL Top 10 in NFL history. He joined the 2000 Rushing Yards Club in 1997 this being his greatest season. He retired on July 27, 1999, by faxing a letter to his hometown newspaper. He left having gained 109 touchdowns, 15,269 rushing yards and 2,921 receiving yards.
These above are the Top 10 Athletes Who Retired Too Early. The athletes named above were the best in their times but unfortunately retired due to lots of reasons. Though retired they leave behind legacies and world records, some of which have never been beaten till date. Their fans feel that they left too early.