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
Entertainment News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

RUMORS & GOSSIP

Sterling sues wife, NBA again

((HT: ESPN))Donald Sterling is a very busy man in the middle of his probate case going on in Los Angeles. He filed another concurrent suit in Superior Court seeking damages from the NBA, commissioner Adam Silver, his wife Shelly Sterling, and the Clippers alleging they all violated corporate law in trying to sell the team.Sterling argues he is the sole owner and shareholder of the...
Via Online Sports Guys
4 hours ago

Ex-Cowboys RB Robert Newhouse dies at 64

Former Dallas Cowboys running back Robert Newhouse, who spent 12 years with the team, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 64. Newhouse’s death is reported to be from a combination of a stroke he suffered back in 2010 and heart disease.  The former Cowboys running back gained over 5,700 yards and scored 36 touchdowns in 12 seasons with the team. His best season came in 1975 when...
Via Sportsnaut
50 minutes ago

Is this man likely to become the next MLB commissioner?

Major League Baseball could name commissioner Bud Selig’s successor very soon. MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred seemed to be Selig’s handpicked choice for a while, but some owners were wary of Selig having total control over the selection process. Sources say that others have now interviewed for the position — which will be open when Selig retires in January — but...
Via NESN.com
8 hours ago

Michael Sam responds to Tony Dungy's comments

Tony Dungy recently came out and said he wouldn’t draft Michael Sam, and now the St. Louis Rams LB has responded to the former NFL head coach. Sam took the high road and attempted to make a joke out of the issue, and told ESPN’s Nick Wagoner he has respect for Dungy. Sam on Dungy’s comments: “Thank God he wasn’t the St. Louis Rams coach. (laughs) I have a lot of respect...
Via The Sports Daily
5 hours ago

Adrian Peterson quietly got married

Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson married girlfriend and former Playboy model Ashley Brown, TMZ confirmed. You can see the couple showing off their wedding rings in a photo from a Starkey Hearing Foundation fundraising event in St. Paul Sunday night. Brown, who now goes by the name Ashley Peterson, re-tweeted the picture.  
Via Speleb
4 hours ago

Ace Sanders takes leave from football amid suspension

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be without another wide receiver to start their 2014 training camp and season. Second year receiver Ace Sanders spoke on a conference call, admitted to media members that he is facing a four-game suspension, and will be taking a leave from football to seek counseling. Ryan O’ Halloran of the Florida Times-Union […]
Via Full Scale Sports
5 hours ago

Holly Holm: Gina Carano has earned shot at Ronda Rousey

Gina Carano has not fought for over five years, but she will still get a title shot at Ronda Rousey upon signing with the UFC, company boss Dana White has said. Many people feel like Carano is undeserving of a title shot because of her long layoff. Miesha Tate, who has lost to Rousey twice, […]
Via Larry Brown Sports
10 hours ago

Clippers CEO: Doc Rivers will quit if Sterling remains owner

Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has one foot already on its way out of the organization. But it appears that head coach Doc Rivers has thought about what the future will bring for him if Sterling somehow retains his ownership stake in the Clippers. BREAKING: Interim #Clippers CEO Parsons testifies that coach Doc Rivers will quit if Donald Sterling remains owner...
Via Sportsnaut
8 hours ago

College football players want NCAA 15 back too

The news that EA Sports would not release an NCAA football video game for 2014 was not surprising – considering the ongoing Ed O’Bannon trial concerning image and likeness – but it was disappointing. And it wasn’t just college football fans that were despondent, college football players were as well. CBS Sports’s Jon Solomon reported Monday that the game’s cancellation...
Via Awful Announcing
11 hours ago

Report: Andre Johnson will show up to Texans camp on time

Houston Texans fans and fantasy football players can waive a sigh of relief: Andre Johnson is expected to report to training camp on time, according to Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle. Expected to be at camp on time. RT @taniaganguli Good sign for the #Texans: WR Andre Johnson was at NRG Stadium yesterday, sources said. — Jerome Solomon (@JeromeSolomon) July 22, 2014 As...
Via Gridiron Grit
11 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.