Ah, the sporting life.
Some psychiatrists postulate that humanity developed sports and games to channel aggression that, in wilder times, would go into war and general carnage. Instead of taking up arms and cudgeling each other about the face, we pick up sticks and throw balls around.
But some wild men just can’t leave the old ways behind, and for them the sports field is still a war zone. Here I give you my picks for the five dudes that you most certainly do not want to screw with in sports history.
It’s no secret that the Georgia Peach was pretty sour. The legendary outfielder is as famous for his tantrums of violence as he is for his performance on the baseball diamond. Sure, he has the highest lifetime batting average in the history of the game, but he also has the highest fist fighting average.
Cobb once charged into the stands in New York to kick the crap out of a one-armed heckler. He beat up a groundskeeper over the quality of the grass and then choked the man’s wife when she tried to intervene. It’s a testament to how hated Ty was that only four baseball players attended his funeral.
This 190-pound linebacker was the most feared man on seven teams during his nine years on the field, but it was far better to play with him than against him. Brown was a human wrecking ball, widely regarded as one of the most violent men to ever step on a football field.
Just in his 1951 season, he knocked 21 players unconscious. At four years old, Hardy witnessed the brutal murder of his father, and from then on he was fated to walk the path of violence. Injuries inflicted by Hardy Brown on the field include a fractured face, a broken spine, and an eyeball knocked clear out of socket.
The ultra-violent linebacker is one of the most brutal players of the modern era, with some disturbing incidents under his belt in his fifteen years in the game. In 1995, he kicked beloved Arizona Cardinals fullback Larry Centers in the head, and went on to abuse opponents in a variety of ways, from breaking Kerry Collins’ jaw to spitting in J.J. Stokes’ face.
But his most shocking act of carnage came against his own teammates – in 2003, a squabble with backup tight end Marcus Williams resulted in Romo ripping the other player’s helmet off and hitting him with a thunderous punch that crushed Williams’ eye socket into powder, ending his football career.
Hockey is the only sport on this list that features regular fistfights, so to step on the ice requires some measure of toughness. But Mark “The Moose” Messier took that toughness to a whole ‘nother level. On the ice, Messier was a human cannonball, checking into his enemies with no regard for their safety. He smacked Rich Sutter so hard in the face with his stick that not only did it break four of his teeth, but Sutter had problems getting the black grip tape from Messier’s stick off of the roof of his mouth.
He also checked Mike Modano so hard that he went spinning on the ice like a breakdancer and had to be carried off the rink. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that Messier was probably receiving kickbacks from a local plastic surgeon for all of the facial damage he caused on the ice.
Dick Butkus – The legendary Chicago Bears linebacker was one of the nastiest men ever to step on the gridiron, with tackles so fierce they’d send opponents flying. Making up for having such a readily mockable name, Butkus took down players with a maniacal zeal, doing whatever was necessary to get the ball for his team.
For Christ’s sake, he even bit somebody in the groin! The wrath of Butkus wasn’t limited to his foes – if he felt like it, he’d even cold-cock a referee. We may never see his like again.
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