5 Over-the-Hill Stars Who Should’ve Stayed Retired
Some guys just don’t know when to hang up the cleats. Fresh off an inexplicable legal victory, 50-year-old Roger Clemens has signed a contract with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. The controversial right-hander is somehow still throwing an 87 mile-per-hour fastball and is showing enough command of his pitches that the Houston Astros are reportedly scouting him. For the sanity of sports fans everywhere, and for Roger’s sake, let’s take a look at some of the athletes who should’ve stayed retired.
It wasn’t that Michael Jordan couldn’t play anymore. Even after spending three years honing his golf skills, an aging Jordan was still good enough to average 23 points per game in 2001. It was just strange to see His Airness seem so ordinary. The 38-year-old was forced to abandon his high-flying ways in favor of finesse and jump shots. Jordan managed to appear in 60 injury-plagued games in 2001, and ended his comeback bid after a second unremarkable year. Good thing, too — the sight of Michael in a Washington Bullets throwback jersey was almost as upsetting as his baseball career.
A five-tool player, Rickey Henderson holds the MLB all-time records for stolen bases, runs scored, walks, and leadoff home runs. None of that changes the fact that he hung around the game for about 10 years too long. Henderson bounced around the league until he was 44 years old, despite being years removed from his last productive season. When major league opportunities dried up, Rickey took his talents to the independents, spending several seasons with clubs such as the Newark Bears and San Diego Surf Dawgs. Henderson finally called it a career in 2007, but baseball fans still live in fear of a potential return.
Swedish star Bjorn Borg was both wildly popular and wildly successful during his initial run on the worldwide tennis circuit. From 1974 to 1981, he won a previously unprecedented 11 Grand Slam championships, including a record five consecutive Wimbledon titles. Still, the formerly top-ranked tennis pro simply wasn’t the same player during his 1991 comeback. Sporting a new haircut and an outdated wooden racket, Borg was unable to win a single match, let alone return to glory. Thankfully, Bjorn’s comeback didn’t last long, and he eventually returned to his fashion career.
Not even Mark Spitz’s phenomenal mustache could save him from an embarrassing comeback attempt. Spitz had been one of the greatest American athletes in Olympic history, winning seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympics and setting literally dozens of world records throughout his remarkable career. Unfortunately, all those gold medals have a way of addling an athlete’s concept of aging. Spitz tried to make the 1992 US Olympic swim team in Barcelona, but was a shell of his former self. He finished two seconds off the qualifying pace and failed to make the team.
The undisputed king of the flip-flop, Brett Favre is famous for his inability to make a firm decision on whether or not to retire. From 2006 to 2011, Favre came out of retirement three times, played for three different teams, and was a source of constant media scrutiny and speculation. In 2009, Favre had arguably his best season ever at age 40, recording a personal best 107.2 QB rating and leading the Vikings to the NFC title game. His final season proved far more eventful, as the aging quarterback’s production declined and the infamous Jenn Sterger texting scandal rocked Favre loyalists everywhere. Nevertheless, don’t be surprised if the ol’ gunslinger’s name comes up again after this season’s first big QB injury.