What was the worst retirement in sports history?

Manny Ramirez retired this week–to avoid a 100 game ban for a second steroid positive test. Oh yeah, he only played five games for his new team (batted under .100), said he had to miss games for a “family emergency”, then never bothered to show up again. It’s the most pathetic retirement I can remember. What other atheletes had embarassing retirements and what made them so memorably bad?

Without a doubt, bar none, Michael jordan’s first retirement in the prime of his career
was the worst of all time. No other comes close.

I guess it would be appropriate to amend that:

The retirement of the dying Lou Gehrig was the worst.

What class it took for him to say he thought he was “the luckiest man on the face of the Earth”.

Brett Favre this past season. He played badly and was caught up in a sex scandal (or rather a sexting scandal) that made him a laughingstock. He also took a pounding on the field and suffered a bunch of injuries before missing the end of the season with a concussion. I think he wins the category.

Roger Clemens might be the runner-up. His last season, he clearly didn’t have it anymore, and after the season ended, he was outed as a steroid user. The Mitchell Report led to some embarrassing revelations about cysts on Clemens’ ass, and eventually he wound up denying his steroid use and he will be on trial for perjury later this year. And in early 2009 Joe Torre revealed that Clemens got psyched up for games by taking boiling hot baths and then having a clubhouse attendant rub hot liniment on his testicles. I realize a lot of that stuff happened after Clemens retired - he last pitched in the 2007 season - but if you count it as part of the overall package it’s pretty bad.

ANY football player who retired due to paralysis!

Vladimir Konstantinov.

In 1997, the Red Wings won their first Stanley Cup in 42 years. Six days later, after a celebratory team golf outing, the chauffeur driving the limo he’d rented with a couple of colleagues fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree.

Missed the edit: Begging pardon, it’s not embarrassing or pathetic as the OP asked, but for certain values of “worst,” it’s right up there.

The drunk chauffeur, I might add.

You mean, after a three-peat and his dad being murdered.

Yeah, obviously he was retiring in shame and disgrace.

What, oh what would we do without the pure of heart such as
this Mr. sitchensis.

Something can be “bad” without being shameful and disgraceful.

I was using it in the sense of it being disappointing.

Probably none of the 400+ boxers killed in the ring had that as their retirement plan.

Another one here who first thought Brett Favre.

Many come close and surpass this.

Barry Sanders and Jim Brown to name a few.

Brett Favre.


and again

and …

Dan Pastorini! Coulda had class. Coulda been a contender. As a young Oilers fan, Iwas constantly disappointed in him pre-retirement. But, his antics after retiring put us all off of him. Yeah, he was in Oakland by that time, and a broken leg hastened his end, but he was still all over Houston’s sport news. Esp bad was a hydroplane boat crash which had some rather unfortunate consequences for a local family watching the race (teen girl killed, iirc). Had he won the RenroReplay game and gone on to the Superbowl, would things have been different later? Who knows?

Looking back on it all now, years later, I’m chagrined we cared so much.

Surprised nobody mentioned the rumor than Jordan was told by David Stern to retire based on his gambling issues. There is no proof of that.

By most accounts Jim Brown and Barry Sanders retired very early and could have played more.

Tiki Barber. Retires with tons of life in his legs and millions coming to him. Thinks he will be on easy street because of his TV career. A place on the today show and Sunday night football. He burned all his bridges behind him with the Giants. Then the Giants win the Superbowl without him with the quarterback and coach he blasted on TV and in his book. Then he was caught cheating on his pregnant wife with a NBC intern. Bye bye TV career. Now he is looking to unretire.

Allen Iverson’s last year in the NBA was pretty depressing.

I hardly think they (or Jordan) are pathetic or among the worse retirements. They all had specific goals. Jordan wanted to try baseball; Brown to go to Hollywood; Sanders to not play for the Detroit Lions anymore.

Of course, there is Jordan’s secret suspension as well…:smiley:

Steve Carlton. Know when to quit, dude.