go to MSN.com
Found October 14, 2013 on Athlon Sports:

via Athlon Sports:

Whether we admit it or not, most of us have little superstitions, whether it be knocking on wood or saying, "God bless" when someone sneezes. But some athletes have taken it just a little farther than that. We thought that it was appropriate to find the 13 most superstitious people in sports, with their seriously strange quirks, habits and talismans, and present them here.

Rafael Nadal, who has won 13 Grand Slam singles titles, is a candidate for Greatest Tennis Player of All Time. He's also the GOAT when it comes to superstitious eccentricities, which he refers to as his "routines." His assortment of quirks is a category unto itself.

• Nadal has rituals involving his water bottles. He brings two bottles to each match, with one slightly warmer than the other, and sips from both during the match. The label of both has to be facing the court.

• During his recent run to the U.S. Open crown, Nadal ate the same meal at the same restaurant every night. The New York Post reported that Nadal consumed Chilean sea bass, fried rice and noodles at a Manhattan Chinese restaurant every evening when he wasn't playing a night match.

• Before every point, Nadal makes sure that his socks are pulled up at the same height. Prior to a match, he'll spend 30 seconds or more pulling his socks up and down.

• Nadal never steps on the lines before or after any point. He also crosses the lines right foot first.

Men's Fitness magazine once named pitcher Turk Wendell, whose 11-year major league career (1993-2004) included stops with the Cubs, Mets, Phillies and Rockies, the most superstitious athlete of all time. Wendell wore a necklace made from teeth and bones of animals he had hunted. He would leap over the chalk lines and draw crosses in the dirt on the pitcher's mound. He insisted that his contract figures end with his jersey number of 99. Wendell would eat four pieces of licorice during games he pitched, but don't worry about his dental health — he would also brush his teeth in the dugout between innings.
 
Hall of Fame third baseman Wade Boggs didn't compile a .328 career batting average and accumulate 3,010 hits by accident. The superstitious athlete ate chicken every day before a game; took batting practice at 5:17; ran sprints at 7:17; and wrote the word "Chai" (Hebrew for "life") in the dirt before his plate appearances. Speaking of his love of chicken, Boggs' Twitter account is @ChickenMan3010.
 
They take their curses seriously in the U.K. The Birmingham City football club labored under a gypsy curse that came about due to the stadium's location atop the site of a Romany cemetery. Football club manager Barry Fry, who led the Birmingham City team from 1993 to 1996, took the advice of a clairvoyant to break the curse: He peed in all four corners of the St. Andrew's pitch. So did it work? "Well, we started to win and I thought it had," Fry said in an interview. "Then they sacked me, so probably not."
 
Slugger Jason Giambi (A's, Yankees, Rockies, Indians) addressed a hitting slump with his choice of undergarments. His personal slump-buster was a fancy piece of butt floss — a gold thong. If that’s not disturbing enough, try this: Teammates would ask to borrow it when they encountered slumps of their own.
 
How obsessed was power-hitting outfielder Larry Walker (Expos, Rockies, Cardinals) with the number 3? He set his alarm clock for 33 minutes past the hour, took batting practice in groups of three swings and was married on November 3 at 3:33 P.M. He bought 33 tickets in section 333 of Olympic Stadium to give to under-privileged kids during his time in Montreal. On one of his contracts, he asked for $3,333,333.33. Appropriately enough, Walker's career stats include plenty of threes: His career batting average was .313, and he hit 383 career homers.

Michael Jordan's superstition inspired an NBA fashion trend. Jordan insisted on wearing his North Carolina Tar Heels shorts under his Bulls uniform, and to cover up his old college basketball trunks, he started wearing longer shorts. Naturally, the rest of the NBA followed suit.

Mercurial NBA guard Jason Terry (Hawks, Mavs, Celtics, Nets) has the habit of sleeping in the shorts of the team he is playing the next day.
 
Beloved Phillies legend and Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who played in Philadelphia from 1948 to 1959 before ending his career with the Mets, slept with a lot of old bats in his day. Literally. In order to keep track of a bat that was treating him particularly well, Ashburn would take the bat to bed with him. 
 
Chicago Black Hawks legend Stan Mikita, who led the NHL in scoring four times during a remarkable career that spanned four different decades (1958-80), also led the league in Most Unusual Superstition: Mikita would flick a lit cigarette over his left shoulder before taking the ice for a game.

Goalie Pelle Lindbergh, who played for the Philadelphia Flyers from 1981 to 1986, would drink a Swedish beer called Pripps during each intermission, with two ice cubes — no more, no fewer.

 
There must be something about goalies. Patrick Roy, whose career included stints with Montreal (1984-95) and Colorado (1996-2003), is considered by many the greatest goaltender in NHL history. He might also be the strangest, since he befriended the posts. That's right — Roy would touch and talk to the net posts, thanking them if a shot went awry or clanged off of one of them. Roy would also step over the red and blue lines on the ice, and he would avoid reporters on game day.
 
For the Celtics of the 1960s, Bill Russell's puke became a good-luck totem. According to Sports Illustrated: "If he threw up before a big game, the Celtics were sure everything would be all right. If he didn't, then Boston's coach, Red Auerbach, would tell Russell to go back to the toilet and order him to throw up." Russ must've done an awful lot of puking, considering that he led the Celtics to 11 championships in his 13-year career.

Image Source: NICOLAS ASFOURI/Staff/AFP/Getty Images

More from Athlon Sports:
THE BACKYARD
RUMORS & GOSSIP

Seahawks sign Sherman to a 4-year, $57.4 million extension

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reports that the Seattle Seahawks are finishing up a new contract extension for CB Richard Sherman that will make him the highest paid cornerback in the NFL. Sherman, 25, was entering the final year of his rookie contract and is clearly in the argument for the best cornerback in the league. He would have made just $1.389 million for the 2014 season....
Via NFL Trade Rumors
42 minutes ago  | 

Three found dead in fire at home of ex-tennis pro James Blake

At least three people were found dead Wednesday inside a multimillion dollar Tampa, Fla.,  home owned by retired professional tennis player James Blake, after a fire ravaged the house. Blake was not inside at the time of the fire, according to WSP-TV (with a hat tip to Deadspin). The fire reportedly broke out around 6 a.m., and unconfirmed reports from TV reporter Meredyth Consuello...
Via NESN.com
45 minutes ago  | 

NFLPA, Jimmy Graham file grievance against Saints

New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham wants to be paid like a wide receiver, and he’s willing to alienate his organization to get that money. Tom Pelissero is reporting that the NFLPA has filed a grievance against the Saints on behalf of Graham over the franchise tag designation. The NFLPA has filed a grievance against #Saints on behalf of Jimmy Graham. Franchise-tag fight...
Via Thacover2
1 hour ago  | 

Andrew Bynum won't be with Pacers for rest of playoffs

Things with the Indiana Pacers continue to get weirder and weirder. When the team signed Andrew Bynum earlier in the season, many wondered if he could have an impact at some point during the postseason. We all know Bynum can be very good when he feels like it, but the problems with Bynum never really end. Now, it has been announced that Bynum will not be with the Pacers for the rest...
Via Pass The Pill
2 hours ago  | 

NFL Draft Rumors: Jaguars to take Johnny Manziel at No. 3

As we’ve said before, now that we’re close to the start of the 2014 NFL Draft, rumors are going to start running wild. The latest on Wednesday morning suggests that the Jacksonville Jaguars could surprise everyone on Thursday and select Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel with the third overall pick. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle claims that “word’s spreading...
Via Rumors and Rants
2 hours ago  | 

Report: Knicks, Lakers, Warriors in 'battle' to hire Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr has coached as many NBA games as you or I have, as in none, but that is not keeping teams from lining up to compete for his services. The newly opened head coaching job with the Golden State Warriors has created a three-way “battle” to land Kerr as coach, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports. The New York Knicks, who have been connected with Kerr’s name...
Via NESN.com
4 hours ago  | 

Nationals manager rear-ended by car during radio interview

Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams was involved in a police chase Wednesday morning while doing his weekly radio spot with 106.7 the Fan. Williams was rear-ended by another driver who was trying to flee from the police. You can listen to audio of the invident below. “Sorry guys, I just had an accident … I got a police officer behind me and this guy’s going to try to...
Via Tireball.com
4 hours ago  | 

Jackson on Warriors: 'Pressure's on them to get a championship'

Obviously the Golden State Warriors’ first-round exit in the playoffs didn’t help Mark Jackson in any way, but I think we all know by now that there was some discontent behind the scenes on both sides that led to this premature divorce. According to Tim Kawakami of the Contra Costa Times, an outwardly humble Jackson put out a statement after it was announced today that he was...
Via BlackSportsOnline
14 hours ago  | 

Report: Bucs looking to trade up to No. 2

It would be logical for the Buccaneers to trade down in the draft and not up. Trading up will force the team to give up draft picks from the present and from the future. But Tampa Bay may not be concerned with that at all, according to a report.  Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports...
Via The Bay Cave
19 hours ago  | 

Tommy Lasorda hopes V. Stiviano gets hit by car

Getty Image Commencement speech season is underway as colleges across the country have been lining up their celebrity guest speakers to inspire and motivate new graduates before they embark upon their new live journeys that typically begin with, “What the f*ck do I do now?” Baseball legend Tommy Lasorda is one such commencement speaker, as he received an honorary doctorate from...
Via With Leather
19 hours ago  | 
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.