Never Live It Down / Sports



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     General 
  • It doesn't matter if you're a superstar or a benchwarmer; if you're an athlete and you hook up with a Kardashian (those ladies REALLY love the jocks), that is what you will be most known for. Let's start with the mother and Caitlyn (nee Bruce) Jenner, who was once an icon in the Olympic decathlon. Then there's Kim with Reggie Bush AND Kris Humphries. And then there's Khloe and Lamar Odom, who was flat out called "Lamar Kardashian" by members of the Dallas media in 2012 (though in fairness, Dallas probably would have let it slide had he actually played well with the Mavericks). In fact, Jenner and Humphries are barely even known for being athletes anymore.
    • In even sadder irony with the Mavericks and Odom, the Mavs had appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman the previous year (before Odom joined the team) to give the "Top Ten Best Things about Winning the Championship", and Dirk Nowitzki gave Number One as "It might land me a Kardashian!"
    • Bruce Jenner is now more famous for transitioning into Caitlyn Jenner than for being an Olympic gold medalist.
  • Screwing up a country's national anthem is a great way to gain infamy.

     Association Football/Soccer 
  • Of particular note is Zinedine Zidane, who was perhaps the very best player of the late '90s/early '00s: those not very familiar with the sport won't remember him for anything else than headbutting Marco Materazzi during the 2006 FIFA World Cup final. Admittedly he didn't do much else after it, as it was his last match before he retired…
    • Which was truly bizarre. First, he has a long history of this type of behavior; it's not even the first time he headbutted someone. Second, Materazzi reportedly provoked the attack. It says something that he's known more for this than stomping a downed opponent in the groin. Of course, that didn't make nearly as good of a gif.
  • The Disgrace of Gijon, where West Germany and Austria committed one of the most blatant acts of collusion in sports history. After being upset by Algeria earlier in the World Cup tournament, West Germany needed to win to advance, while Austria, having gone undefeated in their play, had only not to lose by three or more goals, as Algeria held the tiebreaker on goals scored. After West Germany scored ten minutes into the match, both squads were content with just letting the clock run out while simply kicking the ball to each other for the rest of the match. Even both teams' supporters were disgusted with this behavior, with one West German fan taking it Up to Eleven by burning his own country's flag. Consequently, this resulted in FIFA making the final pair of group matches in international tournaments always start at the same time.
  • Italy forward Alberto Gilardino did not really grow up to be the superstriker he was seemingly progressing to be after his impressive younger days. He flopped his big-time move to AC Milan and was involved in a very unsportsmanlike conduct by diving in what's probably his most famous video on YouTube. He has since rebuilt his career in Florence-based Fiorentina and is now actually a quite respectable striker. Most pundits and fans outside Italy, however, declared the said incident to be his Moral Event Horizon and he is still remembered mostly for being a flop.
  • In an inverse case of never living down something good, Gilardino's fellow teammate at the 2006 World Cup Fabio Grosso. He was an average player who performed astoundingly at the said World Cup — scoring the killer goal against Germany in the semi, complete with a goal celebration reminiscent to Marco Tardelli's celebration in 1982, probably the most iconic goal celebration of all time as well as burying the winning penalty which crowned Italy world champions. After the said fantastic display, he went back to being distinctly average, horrible even. Fans, however, always cherished him by fondly remembering his short-lived brilliance.
  • Even soccer fans can apply to this trope. Liverpool supporters may never live down their involvement in the Heysel Stadium tragedy in 1985, which led to the entire English league being banned from international competition for five years. Some people still believe that the Liverpool fans who were crushed to death in the Hillsborough disaster four years later "got what they deserved." Similarly, for Liverpudlians, The Sun will never live down its coverage of the Hillsborough event, which led to said (seriously ignorant) belief.
  • Nigel de Jong's that's-gotta-hurt-style kung-fu-kick-to-the-chest he delivered to Xabi Alonso. In The World Cup final at that.
    • Pretty much everyone involved in the 2010 final will likely have this trope on them.
  • Barcelona's Sergio Busquets was a relatively obscure player when he arrived in FC Barcelona's first team in July 2008, but eventually made a name for himself in a relatively short period of time, reaching the Spanish national team in less than one year after making his professional club debut. Nowadays he's only remembered for his often-mocked peekaboo against Inter. To put it in perspective, even Barcelona fans haven't let this go and he's become somewhat of The Scrappy among the squad.
  • Ronaldo was known for many things, including being one of the greatest footballers of his generation, marrying to a few supermodels, and being a little overweight. But then an incident with transsexuals ended up in the media. He claims he thought they were women, but still became the "transvestite-loving-player". Thankfully he resurrected his football career with Corinthians, and now this incident is kind of forgotten. Except by rival teams, of course (the supporters of Palmeiras, Corinthians' archrival, once sung to Ronaldo "Hey, you there! Left Cicarelli to get a transvestite!").
  • Perhaps one of the most tragic examples: Colombian defender Andrés Escobar committed an own goal against the United States leading to his team being eliminated from the 1994 FIFA World Cup. He is better known for being shot and killed in Colombia ten days later.
  • Eric Cantona was one of the most outrageously talented footballers of all time and won a clutch of top-level trophies with various clubs, most notably Manchester United, but he is most remembered for a flying kick at an abusive fan during an English Premier League match in 1995.
  • Martin Palermo, striker from Argentina, got infamous for missing three penalties in one match.
  • Roberto Baggio was one of the best Italian strikers of all time, winning two Serie A and a UEFA Cup, and being chosen as best player in the world in 1993. Yet the most memorable fact about him is missing a penalty in the 1994 World Cup final.
    • Likewise, Zico, a brilliant Brazilian player, is always remembered for missing a penalty in the game Brazil was eliminated in the 1986 World Cup.
    • Although Baggio is also remembered for his distinctive hairdo — not for nothing was he known as "The Divine Ponytail".
  • While it may be too early to conclude this, Thierry Henry will always be remembered as the French soccer player who hand-balled (twice!!) against the Republic of Ireland to send his country to the 2010 World Cup instead of the Irish, despite a stellar career previously.
    • And France's subsequent, possibly karmic implosion at the finals may well see an entire 'golden generation' of French footballing talent remembered for going out limply (eliminated in the first round without winning a match) amid a blaze of infighting, insults and inadequate performances, despite all their achievements over the previous dozen years.
      • While Henry hasn't received the enormous backlash (at least thanks to the fact that he acknowledged his error and tried to correct it by acknowledging the win for England), it has since become another part of the FIFA corruption scandal as it has emerged that FIFA silenced Ireland's time to allow France forward into the tournament.
    • Uruguay's Luis Suárez may experience a similar fate to Henry, after his excellent World Cup was overshadowed by his cynical goal-line handball in the last seconds of extra time against Ghana that ultimately stopped the latter becoming the first African side ever to advance to a World Cup semi-final. If he won't be remembered for that, then he'll be remembered for biting Italian player Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup, which led to him being suspended for nine international matches and banned from all of association football for four months.note 
    • Speaking of famous World Cup handballs, Diego Maradona is notorious for the infamous "Hand of God" (his own term, at that) goal in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England. Of course, people also recall the next goal he scored in that match … clearly enough to get it voted the Goal of the Century on the FIFA website in 2002. Still, for the casual fan outside of Argentina, Maradona is more the "Hand of God guy" than he is 'one of the greatest players of all time'.
  • It's too early to say, but England goalie Robert Green may never live down dropping the ball into the goal during the 2010 World Cup after he fumbled a tame shot, leading to England drawing their opening match rather than winning it — which their campaign never really seemed to recover from.
    • It should be noted that England's opponent for this match was the United States, and thus the match had been tremendously hyped by the media. Experts and fans largely agreed that anything less than an outright victory by England would be a great result for the U.S. (due to the two being heavily favored to advance from the group stage and England being universally regarded as the better team), and Green's blunder was 100% responsible for England not getting the win (the match ended in a 1–1 draw).
  • Goalkeeper Gordon Banks said that while he won the World Cup in 1966, he's most remembered for an unbelievable save four years later.
  • Peter Bonetti is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of his time, who would have been an England regular had his career not overlapped with the legendary Gordon Banks'. Except for one match. Pressed into service in the quarterfinal of the 1970 World Cup against West Germany when Banks went down with food poisoning, he let in three of the four goals he conceded during his seven-game international career and England lost 3–2 (although opinion differs on how many of the three goals were actually his fault). As a result, he went down in history as the man who cost England the World Cup.
  • Referee Graham Poll is known mainly for his blunder in the 2006 World Cup, during a game between Croatia and Australia. Although the officiating throughout the World Cup was criticized, Poll stood out for committing the cardinal sin of issuing 3 yellow cards to one player, Josip Šimunić (for those who don't know the rules of soccer, a player's 2nd yellow card in a game is supposed to be immediately followed by a red card that bans the player from the match, making 3 yellow cards impossible). Needless to say, he was not chosen to officiate in later rounds of the Cup, and he voluntarily decided not to officiate in tournament soccer games again.
  • Carlos Caszely, one of the most important players in Chilean soccer history, is still remembered mainly because of the penalty kick he lost while playing for the national team against Austria during the 1982 World Cup. Twenty-five years later, he had a symbolic revenge against Austrian goalkeeper Friedl Koncilia (who barely remembered the penalty), and also participated in a number of ads referencing that event.
  • The president of the Brazilian Football Federation, José Maria Marin, will never get past the fact that, when he was still vice-president, he put one of the medals of a Junior tournament on his pocket. Some even said he'll try to put Muttley as the mascot for the 2014 World Cup.
  • Norwegian referee Christina Pedersen's reputation may forever be tarnished due to several questionable calls against the Canadian women's soccer team in their semifinal game versus their U.S. counterparts at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
    • Meanwhile, Team Canada has developed a reputation as a bunch of whiners, for the way they acted after the game.note  It got so bad that FIFA actually threatened sanctions against them.
  • Gabriel Agbonlahor has played nine seasons with Aston Villa, and is the team's top goal scorer during the time they spent in the Premier League. However, all of that has been overshadowed by one incident. During a charity match organized by Stiliyan Petrov, he tackled and injured an up-and-coming rookie named Louis Tomlinson. Yes, that Louis Tomlinson. Because of that incident, fans of One Direction have bombarded Agbonlahor with death threats, but he has become a hero for many One Direction haters as well. Still, it's already overshadowed his entire career.
  • Clarence Seedorf was a relatively successful Dutch footballer with a decent career. He misses one shot at an open goal, it gets put into a One-Hit Wonder about there being "Life after death" and now nobody will ever forget.
  • Brandi Chastain is probably better known for taking off her shirt in celebration after making the clinching penalty kick in the finals of the 1999 Women's World Cup than for actually scoring that goal.
  • Brazilian supporters of a team will never forget seasons where the rival was relegated (Fluminense in particular has a twofer: they were relegated down to the third level; and on the year they would get from the third division to the second, unrelated legal mess-ups lead the subsequent tournament to have Flu in the top flight, so a "Serie B" is still due for them) or decisive games where the rival was hit by a Dark Horse Victory (standouts are Internacional and Atlético-MG losing to African teams in the FIFA Clubs World Cup; Inter's adversary featuring this guy made it even more painful) and/or a home embarrassment (Cruzeiro and, again, Fluminense losing Copa Libertadores finals at home).

     Auto Racing 
  • Above all, a driver who died in action will likely most be remembered for the accident that took their life above all else, such as Dale Earnhardt and Dan Wheldon.
  • Nelson Piquet, three-time Formula One World Champion in The '80s and one of the most successful race drivers of all time, is mostly remembered for this.
    • That's slightly better than his son, Nelson Piquet Jr., who will only be remembered for deliberately crashing his car so his teammate could win a race, which effectively ended his F1 career.
      • But if you're a NASCAR fan who doesn't pay much attention to F1, then you might recognize Nelsinho as an up-and-coming star who's won in the Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series and Camping World Truck Series. Time will tell if his stock car (and/or truck) talent will continue to grow there.
      • Then again, history repeats. At least Nelson Jr. actually hit his target. His NASCAR career stalled shortly after, and he's back in open wheel, this time running the all-electric Formula E series that debuted in 2014. However, since he won the inaugural championship of this series, it might be his best opportunity to put Crashgate behind him.
      • Nelson Sr. is also remembered for his cheeky sense of humour, but also with the unhappy caveat that he once insinuated in a Playboy interview that Ayrton Senna was gay and said that Nigel Mansell had a "stupid and ugly wife". Yeah…
    • Romain "First-Lap Nutcase" Grosjean was known to have records of collisions on the curcuits. He was infamous for his Spa-Francorchamps start in 2012, where he horrifyingly crashed out a series of potential world championships in the very first corner, and therefore got a race ban. The thing is, though Grosjean has vastly improved over the following seasons, he is still remembered as a crash maniac, along with an arguably more aggressive driver like Pastor Maldonaldo.
  • Inversion of Piquet Jr? Juan Pablo Montoya … sure, he's won the Indy 500 twice and Monaco Grand Prix, but many will remember him for crashing into a jet dryer in the 2012 Daytona 500, which eventually set the track on fire and nearly cutting the race a hundred miles short as a result.note  And many will forget that it was caused by a mechanical failure due to a faulty part installed in his rear suspension, something which was proven when teammate Jamie McMurray had the same failure twenty laps later and triggered a multi-car wreck in the tri-oval.
  • Micheal Waltrip Racing as a whole never escaped the stench of Spingate, where Clint Bowyer deliberately spun himself out in order to get then-teammate Martin Truex, Jr. into the Chase for the Sprint Cup over Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon.note  Just about everyone connected was hurt by it in some way: Every race incident since between Bowyer and another driver is chalked up to "Bowyer's cheating again". Bowyer at least got to keep his job while Truex was forced to leave MWR after losing his sponsor.note  Ultimately, the scandal combined with lack of performance overall led to more sponsors leaving MWR (most notably Napa Auto Parts, which had backed Waltrip since before he even founded his own race team), and the organization announced it would close up shop following the 2015 season.
  • Mercedes is unlikely to ever return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans because they'll never be able to live down having two cars fly off the track in two separate years. The first occurred in 1955 and killed eighty-three spectators and the driver when the Mercedes collided with a slower car.note  The disaster caused Mercedes to withdraw from all forms of racing until the late 1980s. Then, in 1999, their ill-fated CLR did two separate back flips on its own during practice and the race morning warm-up session. Remembering the 1955 incident Mercedes considered withdrawing before the race but instead decided to continue with modifications to the car's aerodynamic setup. Shortly into the race one of the CLR's again somersaulted in spectacular fashion - this time in full view of the world's TV audience. Fortunately the crash resulted in no injuries, and there have been other incidents of prototypes flying through the air, such as a Toyota in 2012 (though that one didn't leave the track).
  • J.R. Hildebrand is unlikely to lose the stigma of being the first driver to ever crash while leading in the last corner of the Indianapolis 500, although there were a few extenuating circumstances that make his mistake look less like a massive choke job and more like a case of an inexperienced rookie caught out by bad luck: Hildebrand was baulked by a lapped car travelling far more slowly right on the racing line — many fans felt the lapped driver (Charlie Kimball) should have chosen to drive on the track apron as he was coasting to the finish conserving fuel; Hildebrand had inherited the lead as drivers ahead pitted for fuel and was trying to stretch his own fuel to the finish; he was being caught very rapidly by Dan Wheldon and slowing down and following the lapped car could have cost him the race anyway had his fuel-starved engine not responded to the throttle; many drivers had run the same line earlier in the race with no problem but the track had become more slippery and the racing line had narrowed; and lastly Hildebrand very nearly won the race with a wrecked car anyway and was perhaps unlucky to be passed by one car so close to the finish (Dan Wheldon passed him coming to the checkered flag in what ended up as his final career victory before he died in a massive wreck in the season finale at Las Vegas).
  • On that note, Scott Goodyear will likely never live down being on the wrong side of the closest finish in Indy 500 history. In the 1992 event, he started dead last, got up to second in the closing moments of the race, had a run on Al Unser Jr. coming to the checkers … but Unser held him off by a nose, literally. The record-setting margin of victory was a mere 0.043 seconds.
  • Brad Keselowski seems to be remembered less for winning the 2012 Sprint Cup than for showing up drunk on SportsCenter just after accepting the series trophy. Now, every time he wins, people joke about him giving drunken post-race interviews, even when obviously sober. His 2014 Kentucky win, where he cut his hand on the jagged end of a broken champagne bottle in Victory Lane, will probably not help.
    • Bad Brad's also gained a reputation for aggressive driving and Foot-In-Mouth Syndrome, even causing a Beware the Nice Ones/Not So Stoic moment in no less than Matt Kenseth, who came flying out of nowhere to put Keselowski in a headlock and begin punching at Charlotte in October 2014.note 
  • Kenseth himself has his own moment in 2015 after intentionally taking out Joey Logano for past wrecks, endangering Logano's chance to win the Chase for the Cup (which Kenseth had been eliminated from with said past wrecks).
  • It's too early to tell, but MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez are likely going to be remembered less for their successes and probably will never live down their allegedly screwing Valentino Rossi from winning the 2015 championship, especially after a very controversial Malaysian Grand Prix. That particular race got heated up so much, even their respective Prime Ministers had to react to the situation that engulfed, with fairly expected results. It didn't help them that:
    • They are Spanish, making them conationals of MotoGP's promoters, Dorna.
    • The majority of MotoGP fans are fans of Valentino Rossi. Mind you, Rossi is hugely popular in pretty much anywhere. If Rossi walks out of MotoGP, it is expected that the number of viewers are going to plummet down hard.
    • The race direction seems to failed to see that Marc's head actually hit Rossi's leg on the crash that resulted in Rossi's penalty;note  the fact they didn't investigate the possibilities of Lorenzo overtaking Rossi on a yellow-flag zone, and how Marquez gets away with no penalties at all despite seemingly deliberately going wide to let Lorenzo pass.
      • As a proof on just how popular Rossi is and how controversial the race direction's decision is, there's a petition on Change.org stating that they want the race direction to re-investigate the incident. It got more than 450,000 signings in around three days, and the numbers are still climbing. Oh, do we mention that the petition wasn't started by an Italian, but rather by a Brit?

     Baseball 
  • Alex Rodriguez was once thought of as one of the best players in the world, winning multiple MVP awards and was a perennial All-Star, with many people thinking he would break the all-time home run record one day. His reputation for being a diva began to sour on some people, when he made the first of his NLID moments:
    • Slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove in the 2004 ALCS. A blatant act that is an automatic out, he looked to get away with it until Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona came out to argue and got the umps to over turn the call. This in turn led most of Yankee Stadium to begin hurling trash out onto the field, delaying the game, and leading a squad of riot police to guard the fence in foul territory.
    • Yelling "Ha, I got it!" on a routine pop-up against the Toronto Blue Jays. This one he did get away with.note 
    • Getting caught twice for PED use, nullifying all of his previous accomplishments in the eyes of public opinion and ruining any chance of going into the Hall of Fame. This one got softened a bit, though, when he recovered enough from a year-long suspension issued for the latter PED incident to score his 3000th hit in 2015 (keep in mind that at that point he had become a senior citizen by player standards).
    • Regardless of all else, he will always be a candidate for Public Enemy Number One in North Texas for signing a ten-year, $250 million contract with the Rangers in 2000, declaring he would take the Rangers to a World Series — and then getting traded to the Yankees after three years of last-place finishes and saying he never would have signed there if he'd known it was going to just be him "and twenty-five kids," not considering the possibility that his salary hampered the teams' chances of improving the talent around him. It all led to poetic justice in the minds of Rangers fans when he was the last out of the 2010 ALCS, taking strike three from Neftali Feliz to clinch the Rangers' first ever pennant; people in both Dallas and New York said afterward, "A-Rod finally made good on his promise to get the Rangers in the World Series."
  • Jose Canseco was at one time one of the best players in baseball. A former MVP and Rookie of the Year, the first man ever to steal forty bases and hit forty homers in a season, and six-time All-Star, he is now better known for: his heavy use of steroids, being such a jerk that he was traded while he was on the on-deck circle, letting a catchable ball hit his head and bounce off for a home run, blowing out his elbow in a pitching appearance just a few days after the last incident, and now he's blown off one of his fingers while cleaning his gun.
    • To this day, Canseco is also derided for being a misogynist by making his wife pump gas (while he sat in the car) on their way home from Candlestick Park right after the Loma Prieta earthquake delayed Game 3 of the 1989 World Series. In truth, it was her idea; Canseco left Candlestick in his full A's uniform, and she didn't want him to create a stir at the gas station.
    • Thanks to his Twitter account and his Reddit AMA, he is also known for being a huge Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • Bill Buckner was one of the best-hitting first basemen of his era, winning the 1980 National League batting title and finishing his career with over 2700 hits. Yet all anyone seems to remember about him is the error that he made in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
    • Made even more unfair in that if he had made the play it would only have preserved a tie score! The Mets were down two runs, with two outs, and nobody on, before three straight two-out hits and a wild pitch tied the score. History, however, always implies that if he'd made the play the Sox would've been champs at that moment.
    • On top of that, even if he had fielded the ball cleanly, there's no guarantee he would have gotten the out. He was playing on two bad wheels thanks to a long list of injuries,note  and the batter (Mookie Wilson) was known for his speed.
    • When the team commemorated the hundredth anniversary of Fenway Park, Buckner was among the dozens of former Red Sox to show up and briefly take the field as part of the celebration. He received thunderous applause as he emerged from the Green Monster.
  • In addition to the above example, Bob Stanley once held the Red Sox club record for saves (surpassed by Jonathan Papelbon) but is best known for throwing the game-tying wild pitch in that same Game 6.
  • As long as we're discussing the Red Sox … Grady Little. There probably isn't a Red Sox fan in the world who can hear Little's name without reflexively shouting "TAKE OUT PEDRO!" For those who don't follow baseball, the Red Sox (whom Little managed) in 2003 were five outs away from reaching the World Series when Little chose to leave tiring starter Pedro Martínez in the game rather than summon a fresher pitcher from the bullpen. The Yankees tied the game and went on to win on an 11th inning home run from the unlikely Aaron Boone, knocking the Red Sox out of the playoffs. Little was fired after the season, possibly the only time that a Major League manager was ever fired for a single in-game decision.
  • The 2003 NLCS also had a moment invoking this that took place two days before the "Take Out Pedro" game: no matter what he does in the rest of his life, good or bad, the name "Steve Bartman" will forever be associated with one foul ball. To explain: the 2003 NLCS was between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins. In Game 6, the Cubs led the series 3–2 and were up 3–0 in the top of the eighth and had already put one Marlin out that inning. Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo, up with all bases loaded and a full count, hit a foul ball, which went towards the stands; Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou tried to catch it. If Alou had caught the ball, Castillo would have been out, and the Cubs would have been four more outs away from winning their first National League pennant since 1945. But of course, that's not what happened. Instead, a (lifelong Cubs) fan named Steve Bartman, one of several trying to catch Castillo's ball, reached out of the stands (although there is some argument about this), failed to get the ball, and deflected the ball away from Alou's glove. Thus Castillo was not out, the Cubs ended up giving up eight runs in the eighth inning, and eventually lost the game. Needless to say, Bartman needed to be escorted from the stadium under heavy guard, and has never been back to Wrigley Field since that night.
    • Speaking of Luis Castillo, he has his own moment he will never live down. On June 12, 2009, the New York Mets were beating their crosstown rival Yankees 8–7 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and runners on first and second. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez hit a pop-up to Castillo that should have been the final out. Except Castillo somehow dropped the ball, allowing both runners to score and giving the Yankees a stunning 9–8 victory.
  • The Boston Red Sox in general can be summed up in one phrase: the Curse of the Bambino. For eighty-six years, the franchise dealt with the embarrassment of selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 and watching him become the greatest player ever. This was supposedly why they never again won the World Series in that time span — though the idea of a "curse" didn't really become popular until Dan Shaughnessy wrote a book about it in 1990. The Sox finally eliminated the stigma once and for all in 2004 by beating the Yankees in the greatest comeback ever and then finishing off the Cardinals in the World Series. And in case you thought that was a fluke, they've managed to win it twice more since then.
  • On the subject of the postseason series, try mentioning the name Aaron Heilman around a bunch of Mets fans and see how they react. Heilman has a few NLID moments, but his most famous one would be surrendering a ninth-inning two-run home run to Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina in the seventh game of the 2006 National League Championship Series. Heilman suffered the loss for that game as the Cardinals held on to win the game … and the pennant.
    • And to a lesser extent, manager Willie Randolph, who decided to keep Heilman on the mound rather than go get his closer, Billy Wagner.
  • Some umpires have it rough.
    • Cardinals fans will forever remember Don Denkinger, who worked in the majors for three decades, for calling Jorge Orta safe at first in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Closing pitcher Todd Worrell beat Orta to the bag by a step and a half (with some question as to whether Orta touched the bag itself as he stepped on Worrell's foot), and soon after, the Cardinals imploded and lost 2–1. Denkinger further cemented his infamy among St. Louisianians by ejecting manager Whitey Herzog and pitcher Joaquin Andujar from Game 7 for arguing balls and strikes with the team still giving him hell about the call.
    • Rich Garcia, another veteran umpire, is best known for blowing a call in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS: After Derek Jeter hit a catchable fly ball to right and eleven-year-old Yankees fan Jeffrey Maier reached out from the stands and grabbed it before the Orioles' Tony Tarasco could field it, Garcia ruled it a home run instead of the expected fan interference call.
    • Tim Tschida is best known by Red Sox fans for blowing a call in the 1999 ALCS. In the eighth inning of the fourth game of the 1999 ALCS, Yankees infielder Chuck Knoblauch fielded a ball and attempted to tag Jose Offerman. Tschida called Offerman out despite that Knoblauch completely missed the tag. This, along with the Yankees scoring 6 runs in the top of the ninth, and Red Sox manager Jimy Williams being ejected, sent Fenway Park into an uproar, with fans throwing trash onto the field. Tschida's call is now known as "The Phantom Tag."
    • Jim Joyce will probably be forever remembered as the umpire who cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga the final out of a perfect game in 2010 … although most people have at least forgiven him, including (in a true Heartwarming Moment) Galarraga himself, due to Joyce openly admitting the mistake and him being frequently voted the majors' best umpire by the players. Fan ire has since been directed at the MLB office for refusing to retroactively credit Galarraga with the perfect game.note 
      • Galarraga has had a hard time living down that incident as well; there was a month in 2012 where he wasn't on any baseball team's roster, major or minor, because front offices were superstitiously afraid to touch him. He's also stated that the near-perfect game still comes up all the time.
      • Similarly, Bruce Froemming worked 37 years of games in the majors but is also best remembered for taking a perfect game away from a pitcher on the final out. Milt Pappas of the Chicago Cubs had a 2-2 count on the final batter but the next two pitches were borderline and called balls by Froemming. Pappas finished with a no-hitter but never forgave Froemming, going as far as arguing with him on a radio show some 30 years later.
    • Art Passarella blew a call in the 1952 World Series, calling a runner out when he was safe. He might have gotten away with it as instant replay technology didn't exist back then, but unfortunately for him a newspaper photographer happened to take a picture right at the moment it happened, showing the runner's foot on the bag and the ball a foot away from the baseman's glove. He was fired over it, despite this clearly being an extremely close play that anyone might have trouble with.
    • Pirates fans best know Jerry Meals for missing a call in the bottom of the 19th inning during a game against the Atlanta Braves. During the play in question, with the score tied 3-3, Pirates catcher Michael Mc Kenry caught a throw from pitcher Daniel Mc Cutchen, and tagged Braves infielder Julio Lugo who was at least three feet from the plate. But Meals called Lugo safe, and the Braves won the game. Meals received criticism from Pittsburgh fans for his call, and the Pirates issued a public complaint. Some time afterwards, both MLB, and Meals himself acknowledged that he missed the call.
    • Bob Davidson is best known for his overzealous calling of balks which has earned him the nickname Balkin' Bob Davidson. Blue Jays fans remember him best for blowing a call that negated what would have been the second triple play in World Series history.
    • Eric Gregg would take to his grave the strike zone that was wider than his waistline in Game 5 of the 1997 NLCS, where the Florida Marlins got the benefit of several called strikes that were clear balls (the last pitch of the game would have hit Fred McGriff if he was batting right handed) while the Atlanta Braves were given a much more normal strike zone.
    • Angel Hernandez, known for being one of the worst umpires in the majors, is best remembered for not changing an obviously wrong non-home run call after review. Ostensibly, he did this to show his hatred of instant replay and that he didn't like to be proven wrong the first time.
  • Chase Utley is a well-regarded player who spent most of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, but he will probably have a hard time living down injuring New York Mets shortstop Rubén Tejada on a slide. During the second game of the 2015 National League Division Series, Utley (now playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers) slid hard into second base in an attempt to break up what could have been an inning-ending double play. However, he slid late, hitting Tejada, who tried to jump over Utley but was upended. Tejada ended up with a broken right fibula, while the Dodgers, who were trailing 2–1 at the time, rallied to win 5–2. Utley was suspended for two games for violating Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a) (13), which is designed to protect fielders from precisely this type of rolling block that occurs away from the base. However, he appealed the suspension and was allowed to play for the rest of the postseason run. It was not surprising that in the next game (held at CitiField in New York), Utley was booed by the Mets’ fans upon his introduction. As of 2016, a new rule preventing "neighborhood plays" on takeout slides bears Utley's name among fans.
  • Robin Ventura played in the majors for fifteen seasons. He was a three-time All-Star and a five-time Golden Glove (best defensive player at his position) winner. Most, of course, only remember Ventura being on the wrong end on one of the most hilariously one-sided fights in baseball history: On August 4, 1993, as the Chicago White Sox were visiting the Texas Rangers, Ventura charged the mound after getting hit by a pitch from the legendary Ranger Nolan Ryan (a player twenty years Ventura's senior). Ryan simply grabbed Ventura in a headlock and basically gave him "knuckle noogies" until Ryan's teammates separated them.
    • The Rangers frequently show a historical highlight reel prior to games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (now Globe Life Park in Arlington) that includes four Ryan highlights: the 5000th strikeout, the sixth and seventh no-hitters, and the Ventura incident. Guess which one always gets the most cheers. Whether it's overshadowed all those on-field accomplishments or if dominating a player barely half his age in a brawl is just icing on the cake is an opinion.
      • Since 2013, the Ballpark has abstained from showing the fight whenever the White Sox are in town. Ventura, now Sox manager, and Ryan, then Rangers principal owner and CEO (he sold his stake in the team near the end of the 2013 season after a dispute with the majority owners), finally decided to bury the hatchet. Of course, it's shown during every other home game; Rangers Nation won't let it go that easily.
    • Mets fans remember Ventura for the "grand slam single" he hit to win Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS against Atlanta.
  • On April 6, 1987, Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Al Campanis went on Nightline and aired his views that blacks "may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager, or perhaps a general manager." He tried to explain afterwards that he meant that what blacks lacked was experience, not intelligence. But he had long been forced out of his job by then.
  • George Brett, despite finishing his career with more than 3100 hits, is forever remembered for throwing a huge fit in 1983 when an umpire disallowed a home run for too much pine tar on his bat (a ruling that was later overturned). He doesn't mind this, though, since before that incident he was remembered for suffering from hemorrhoids during the 1980 World Series.
  • Steve Garvey is an All-Star baseball player and successful businessman. But ever since two paternity suits in 1989, he's become "that guy with all the kids all over the place".
    • This is mainly thought of as the reason why Garvey was never elected to Hall of Fame despite his successful career, though Garvey himself blames the inflated stats of PED users.
    • For fans of Cheap Seats, "paternity suits" is replaced with "stunningly unfunny host of 'celebrity' sporting events."
  • Rodney McCray was a player of little note, having played in only sixty-seven games over parts of three seasons in the majors (the MLB regular season consists of 162 games), however one play of his is noted in the Hall of Fame: running full tilt through an outfield wall in a minor league game.
  • Roberto Alomar: Over 2700 career hits. Twelve All-Star appearances. Ten Gold Gloves. Led the Toronto Blue Jays to back-to-back championships, the only ones in team history. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. What's he remembered for? Spitting on an umpire. Alomar narrowly missed being elected to the Hall his first time on the ballot. It's speculated that the spitting incident caused some writers to keep him off their ballots, though he would easily get in on his second try.
    • The umpire he spat on, John Hirschbeck, is best known for being a hothead on the field, often cursing out players and managers and baiting them into ejections and suspensions. Alomar claiming that he called him a racial slur (the video of the incident has Hirschbeck mouthing "faggot" at him) isn't helping his cause.
  • Armando Benitez when he was with the Orioles is best remembered for two things, giving up the Jeffrey Maier home run in Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS and triggering a massive bench-clearing brawl when he hit Yankee Tino Martinez with a pitch. After being ejected from that game, Benitez cleared his locker and threatened to quit the team. He didn't but the Orioles sent him down to the minors.
  • Juan Marichal, another Baseball Hall of Famer, for years was only remembered for an incident in which he attacked Dodgers catcher John Roseboro on the field with a bat.
  • Dave Winfield: 3,110 hits, twelve-time All-Star, seven Gold Gloves, six Silver Sluggers and a Hall of Famer. Mention his name and all people seem to remember him for is the game where he killed a seagull.
    • Averted by Randy Johnson, who managed to avoid being remembered for killing a dove with a pitch by winning 303 games, striking out 4,875 (second to Nolan Ryan on the all-time list), winning five Cy Young Awards, and getting into the Hall of Fame on the first try. When it does get brought up, it's always as one of sport's, not just baseball's, strangest moments.
  • Subverted by Rick Monday. He was an above-average outfielder who played for almost twenty seasons, among his highlites were two All-Star appearances and a World Series ring, yet all anyone remembers him for is the time he saved the American flag from being burned in center field by a father-son duo at Dodger Stadium. As this page attests to, you can be immortalized for worse things.
  • Lou Piniella is one of the smartest, most successful managers that Major League Baseball has seen in many years. Though he's a very personable guy off the field, his on-field temper tantrums and heated arguments with umpires — in particular, an incident in which he uprooted a base and threw it across the field — are what the general public knows him for.
  • Another manager similar to the aforementioned Lou Piniella, Lloyd Mc Clendon, another manager who is known for challenging umpires, will probably be remembered as the guy who literally stole first base. In 2001, while manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was ejected for arguing a call during a game against the Brewers when catcher Jason Kendall was called out when it looked like he was safe. After being ejected, Mc Clendon removed first base and took it off the field, and then threw it into the dugout.
    • He had another moment in 2015, by which time he managed the Seattle Mariners. During a game against the Yankees, he was ejected after arguing a few questionable check-swing calls by Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. After initially arguing with the home plate umpire, Mc Clendon threw his hat down and argued with the first base umpire, before kicking his hat around the diamond to argue with the entire umpiring crew.
  • Roger Clemens, despite being one of the most feared pitchers in the majors, is now remembered for being suspected of lying before Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. (He was acquitted, though most observers suspected it was because his accuser was even less credible than Clemens.)
    • Clemens also had a terrific meltdown after being ejected from Game 4 of the 1990 ALCS for arguing balls and strikes.
    • And also for throwing a piece of a shattered bat at Mike Piazza's direction during Game 2 of the 2000 World Series.
  • Few sports executives have been hated for as long, and by as many people, as Walter O'Malley, who moved baseball's Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958. New York Post writers Pete Hamill and Jack Newfield, both native Brooklynites, once proposed collaborating on an essay devoted to "the ten worst human beings who ever lived", and began the project by each jotting down ten names on a bar napkin and comparing the lists. Both men had the same three names atop their lists, and in the same order: 1. Adolf Hitler, 2. Josef Stalin, and 3. Walter O'Malley.
  • John Rocker was a mostly-solid player for the Atlanta Braves who is most remembered for giving a fairly racist and homophobic rant to an interviewer about why he wouldn't want to play in New York City.
  • Randall Simon played for six teams during an unremarkable eight-year career. However, he will always be remembered as the guy who struck the Italian sausage with a bat during a Sausage Race in Milwaukee.
  • Fred Merkle's Boner. And, no, not just because it sounds funny. He is to this day known as "Bonehead" for an error that cost the New York Giants the 1908 pennant. While running to second base, Merkle saw the run that would win the game cross home, and headed to the dugout to celebrate, allowing the Cubs' second baseman Johnny Evers to nullify the run by forcing him out. Less well-known is that this was common practice at the time as the rule against it had rarely been enforced; it was just Merkle's bad luck that Evers was an expert on the official baseball rules.
  • Fred Snodgrass' $30,000 Muff. And, no, not just because it sounds just as funny as Merkle's Boner. When Snodgrass died in 1974, the headline to the New York Times obituary read "Fred Snodgrass, 86, Dead; Ball Player Muffed 1912 Fly". Making matters worse? This was the very game in which Merkle was intent on redeeming himself following the aforementioned boner four years before.
  • Closers in baseball are very susceptible to this, as they are almost always in pressure situations. Some of the most notable:
    • Dennis Eckersley came back from alcoholism to become the pioneer of the one-inning stopper. But he may be most known for giving up Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series — especially since Gibson wasn't even expected to play as he could barely walk with his two bad legs.
    • Mitch Williams was never a great closer, but 1993 was his best season with forty-three saves as the Phillies went to the World Series; he even won or saved all four of the Phillies' NLCS wins. Then he became only the second pitcher to give up a World Series-ending walk off home run and his infamy was cemented.
    • Jonathan Papelbon, who set the club record with 219 saves for the Boston Red Sox, will be forever remembered for his final appearance with the club. In 2011, the Red Sox were tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League Wild Card with one game left to play. They led 3–2 over the last-place Orioles in the bottom of the ninth, but Papelbon blew the save and allowed the winning runs to score. Minutes later, the Rays won their game and clinched the Wild Card by walking off in the bottom of the twelfth.
      • Papelbon has since had two more Never Live It Down moments. Phillies fans remember him best for grabbing his crotch once at a game where he blew a save. Then near the end of the 2015 season, by which time he was with the Washington Nationals, he got into a dugout fight with superstar teammate Bryce Harper. The Nats suspended him for the rest of the season.
    • Donnie Moore is one of the most tragic examples, as he was truly never able to live it down. An effective closer for much of the 1980s, he gave up a home run to Dave Henderson with the Angels one strike away from winning the pennant in 1986; the Angels eventually blew their 3–1 ALCS lead. After more than two years of merciless booing and his release from the team, Moore shot and killed himself.
  • During his career, Rob Dibble was a 2x All-Star, a World Series champion, and MVP of the 1990 NLCS with the Cincinnati Reds, however, he is also known for his aggressive temper as much as he is for his accomplishments.
    • He accidentally injured a woman when he threw a ball into the stands after completeing a save in 1991.
      • Also in 1991, he threw a ball at Cubs outfielder Doug Dascenzo while the latter was running down the first base line, which resulted in Dibble being ejected.
      • After a game in 1992, he got into a brawl with his own manager, Reds Manager Lou Piniella.
  • Lenny Dykstra had a successful twelve-year baseball career and was popular with fans for his scrappy style of play. However, now he's known for a series of business mistakes which left him millions of dollars in debt and led to him declaring bankruptcy.
    • And now in 2015 he's claimed that as a player, he blackmailed homosexual umpires into giving him better calls at the plate. It's like he's trying to top himself.
  • Pete Rose is at least as well known at this point for his permanent ban from organized baseball due to gambling as he is for his twenty-three-year playing career (which would surely have gotten him in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot if not for the ban), his role in Cincinnati's "Big Red Machine" dynasty of the '70s, his forty-four-game hitting streak in 1978, his breaking Ty Cobb's all-time hits record in 1985, or the rest of his managerial stint (where he once infamously shoved an umpire during an argument).
    • He's also rather infamous for steamrolling Indians catcher Ray Fosse to score at home plate … in an All-Star Game.
      • That itself is primarily due to a case of Common Knowledge, as many people think it was what basically ended Fosse's playing career. While it did indeed separate his shoulder, Fosse only missed a few weeks and was an All-Star again the next year.
  • Lee Elia was a player and manager of little note (only four years of playing time in the majors, four seasons as manager of the Cubs and Phillies, only one winning season). But people who couldn't pick Elia out of a line up know about his legendary Cluster F-Bomb-laden rant from 1983 blasting Wrigley Field's "Bleacher Bums" for booing and heckling the home team. Wikipedia has the full uncensored transcript. You can hear it for yourself (also uncensored) here.
  • Carl Mays won four World Series, notched over 200 wins in his career (including five twenty-win seasons), and is considered one of the better pitchers of the early 20th century. But he remembered most for one pitch: a fatal beanball that felled Ray Chapman during a game in 1920. To this day, it's the only time an MLB player died due to injuries sustained while playing.
  • Despite a .356 career batting average, a record twelve hits in the 1919 World Series and being labeled as one of the greatest players of the dead-ball era, Shoeless Joe Jackson is best remembered for his association with the Black Sox Scandal. His involvement, however, has been disputed.
  • Sammy Sosa is the first MLB player to hit sixty-five home runs in a season and although he never held the single season home run record at season's end, he is one of four people to eclipse Babe Ruth's record, one of three to eclipse Maris, and the only one to hit more than sixty homers three different seasons. But those accomplishments are thrown out the window as Sosa will forever be known as "the guy who corked the bat." During an inter-league game against the (then) Tampa Bay Devil Rays on June 3, 2003, he was ejected after the umpires found out he had a corked bat. He was suspended eight games.
    • His steroids allegations (and his sudden inability to speak or understand English when he was asked about them) are right up there too, though. Which make his home run accolades pretty meaningless since it surfaced in 2009 that he failed a drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
    • He got back spasms… from sneezing. Consistently listed as one of the most embarrassing sports injuries of all time.
    • He changed his skin color, which gained him even more criticism.
  • Danny Heep, despite winning two World Series titles, is best remembered as Nolan Ryan's 4,000th strikeout victim.
    • Ryan's 5,000th victim, however, is very much an aversion of this trope—fellow Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. Henderson himself doesn't mind this, saying "If you haven't been struck out by Nolan Ryan, you're nobody."
  • George Bell put up quite some numbers with his time with the Blue Jays, even getting on the team's Wall of Fame. However, he's best known for charging the mound after Red Sox relief pitcher Bruce Kison on June 23, 1985. After Kison threw a called strike, Bell charged the mound after him, attempting a karate kick and completely missed and Kison flattened him with a punch. Bell was suspended two games for the incident.
  • Alan Trammell is about as known for being part of one of the best double-play combinations in baseball as he is for being the manager of the 2003 Detroit Tigers, the worst Major League team of the 21st century.
    • His teammate, Lou Whitaker, is also known for forgetting to pack his uniform for an All-Star game. He had to buy one from the concession stand and draw on his uniform number.
  • It doesn't matter how many more World Series titles the New York Yankees win: among Yankee detractors, they will always be remembered as the team who choked in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, allowing the Boston Red Sox to overturn three straight wins in a best-of-seven series for the first time in baseball history on their way to their first World Series title in eighty-six years.
    • Amazingly, the man who blew the save in that Game 4, Mariano Rivera, could be the ultimate aversion. It was the third time in his career he blew a save that would have clinched a postseason series for the Yankees and instead led to them losing it. Many pitchers, as described above, can't live down doing it once — but Rivera bounced right back, reestablished his dominance for years afterwards, and will likely still be remembered as the greatest closer in baseball history.
  • The Chicago Cubs have not won a championship since 1908, the longest championship drought of any North American team from any sport.note  Even if they win next year, they probably will not live down that drought for some time. As of October 21, 2015, another one can be added in the eyes of Back to the Future fans: losing the National League Championship Series in 2015. On October 21. Against the other Memetic Losers of the National League — the Mets.
  • Billy "Fuckface" Ripken's baseball career on the field would mostly be forgotten when juxtaposed next to the long, record-breaking, Hall of Fame career of his brother Cal. Off the field, he will mostly be remembered for an accident that happened while posing for his 1989 Fleer baseball card, in which, a certain obscene phrase was written on the end of his bat. Ripken admitted that it wasn't a prank but was in fact written on his batting practice bat to differentiate it from his game bat.
  • Carlos Beltran, even with all the success he has had in the postseason, will forever be remembered by Mets fans for taking a called strike three with the bases loaded to end the 2006 National League Championship Series.
  • Minor League player John Odom never lived down being traded to the Laredo Broncos for equipment — ten maple baseball bats, to be specific. See this article. It followed him around even after he quit baseball, as was constantly reminded of his indignity no matter how hard he tried to put it behind him. He would eventually die of a drug overdose brought on by the depression he was facing.
  • One day, Yankees first baseman Wally Pipp was sick and sat out a game. He was replaced by a guy named Lou Gehrig. Pipp may be the most famous example of The Pete Best in sports.
  • Carl Everett was a Major League outfielder who played for fourteen seasons for a number of teams in the 1990s and early 2000s. After he claimed dinosaurs weren't real (and then claimed fossils were manmade fakes), he gained the moniker "Jurassic Carl".note  This claim was so silly, most people don't realize he also doubted the Moon landing.
  • Rick Bosetti had a so-so career as a center-fielder in the late 70s. After leaving the game, he had more success in local business and politics. However, when his name comes up, he's always the guy who relieved himself in the outfield during games and expressed his personal baseball goal as peeing in every Major League Baseball ballpark outfield.
  • Dusty Baker had a semi-successful career as a player, but he is best known for ruining promising young pitchers Mark Prior and Kerry Wood (who was forced to become a reliever) by letting them pitch too much as manager of the Cubs.
    • Although this might be a case of Mis-blamed, as Wood had already spent a year on the DL before Baker had arrived, and some speculate that both had already had so much wear and tear that Baker's influence was minor at best.
    • He's also responsible for the rule that MLB batboys have to be at fourteen years of age, after his then-3½-year-old son Darren was nearly trampled while running on the field during play in Game 5 of the 2002 World Series, in which his father was managing the San Francisco Giants. J.T. Snow, who was running the bases after hitting a triple for the Giants, is mainly remembered for grabbing the younger Baker by the jacket as he crossed home plate.
    • On a lighter note, he's also remembered for inventing the high five, after smacking the outstretched hand of teammate Glenn Burke in 1977.
  • Scott Cousins will likely always be known as the guy who steamrolled Buster Posey in a play at the plate, causing Posey to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. This resulted in the "Posey rule" that prevented players from deviating from the baseline to initiate contact with the catcher and prevented catchers from blocking the plate unless they had the ball.
  • Even if the team has won two World Series titles, mention the New York Mets and all everybody seems to remember about is their futility.
    1. Going 40-120 in their first season of existence.
    2. Not finishing higher than ninth place in each of their first seven seasons.
    3. Winning the NL East in 2006 with a record of 97–65 (the best record in baseball that year), but then losing the NLCS in seven games to The St. Louis Cardinals, who were 83–78. To add further insult to injury, the Cardinals then went on to win the World Series by defeating the Detroit Tigers in five games while the Mets would not make the playoffs for another nine years.
    4. Suffering an epic collapse toward the end of the 2007 season, losing twelve of their last seventeen games and blowing a seven-game NL East lead.
    5. Thrashing the Cubs in the 2015 National League Championship Series, only to lose to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. Cue triumphant cries of "That was for Chicago!" as though the Mets were getting karmic retribution for screwing the Cubs.
  • Perhaps the most spectacular inversion: Francisco Cabrera. Never played more than seventy games in a season for his career. In 1992, he had a total of thirteen at-bats, regular and postseason combined. But he'll always be a hero in Atlanta for the penultimate of those ABs, as he delivered the game-winning hit in Game 7 of the NLCS that won the pennant for the Braves.
    • Improbable as it may seem, as of 2014 Cabrera remains the only player in MLB history to win a postseason series with a hit during an at-bat in which he would have represented the final out of the team that was trailing.
    • Like Cabrera, Dan Johnson has never been a great player. However, he hit two big home runs for the Tampa Bay Rays: one in 2008 and the other in 2011. Each helped lead the Rays to a playoff berth.
  • Benny Agbayani will forever be remembered for the incident where he gave a ball to a young fan, not realizing the ball was still in play, then rushing to get the ball back only to realize it was too late.
  • Another notable aversion is Curt Flood. With his Cardinals in a scoreless tie with the Tigers in Game 7 of the 1968 World Series, Flood misjudged an easy fly ball for what would have been the final out of the seventh inning, allowing the Tigers to put what would prove to be the game-winning runs on the board. However, Flood erased the memory of that error and cemented a far more respectable and meaningful legacy in baseball history by protesting the Cardinals' attempt to trade him the following year. Though the courts ruled against him, Flood's efforts challenged the legitimacy of MLB's reserve clause and ultimately led to free agency in the sport a few years later.
  • Floyd "Babe" Herman was basically the Clown Prince of baseball throughout his career, a Giftedly Bad player known for his particularly entertaining screwups. The biggest of all came in 1926 when he became the only player in the sport's history to triple into a double play, thanks to not paying attention to the runners ahead of him. Dazzy Vance had stopped on third base, but Herman running past first forced Chick Fewster to keep running from second, resulting in all three struggling to put a foot on third base until Herman and Fewster were both called out. And funnily enough, this play also won the game, as Hank DeBerry had easily scored from third base before any of the mess happened.
  • John Mcdonald had a long albeit unremarkable career, but the thing that he is most known for traded for himself. After the Blue Jays traded him to Detroit for a player to be named later, the Tigers decided that he would be that player.
    • Harry Chiti and Dickie Noles were also traded for themselves.
  • Astroturf, hailed at the time of its debut at the Astrodome in Houston as a major innovation in stadium equipment, will instead live on in infamy for two things: being co-opted as a term for a specific form of sockpuppetry and doing lasting damage to the careers of such notable players as Andre Dawson (who still made it to the Hall of Fame) and Ken Griffey, Jr. (who might have put the career home run record out of Barry Bonds' reach if his legs hadn't given out due to the beating he'd taken in Seattlenote )
    • Even more infamous than Dawson was NFL football player Wendell Davis, who, in a game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia (whose Astroturf was, by all accounts, as hard as concrete), blew out both his knees on the same play.
  • Glenn Burke was a journeyman Major Leaguer who today is remembered for two things: For being gay in an era where homosexuality could get you injured or killed (and the fact that no news service would dare report it, so it was an "open secret"; even nearly four decades later, few people knew about it and hailed basketball player Jason Collins (see below) as the first openly gay athlete in professional sports); and, along with Dusty Baker, inventing the high-five.
  • Kendrys Morales is best known for breaking his leg after hitting a walk-off grand slam. He missed nearly two seasons because of it.
  • Since 2014, Major League Baseball allows managers to challenge calls which umpires can review with instant replay. In addition to the jokes about close plays being decided by a coin flip or a die roll, fans also accuse the Yankees and the Mets of being "favored" teams since the plays are reviewed in New York.
  • Tommy John pitched in the majors for 27 years, winning 288 games and earning four All-Star nods. However, he's perhaps best known for the corrective pitching surgery that bears his name.
  • Curt Schilling had plenty of great moments in MLB, like his championship with the Diamondbacks and the "bloody sock" game. His NLID moments happened during his post-baseball career, such as creating a video game company that crashed and burned so badly that the Securities and Exchange Commission got involved; and for his right-leaning politics and making racist comments against Muslims that got him fired from ESPN.

     Basketball 
  • There is a long list of Hall of Fame players — Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Karl Malone being perhaps the best — who must live down being players with great stats but were never part of a championship team. This can be applied to other team sports as well, but it seems more prevalent in basketball because, unlike other team sports where there are so many more components, this sport seems to carry the belief that one player can carry a team (despite the fact that even Michael Jordan never won a championship without fellow Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen right there with him) and thus star players in this game must shoulder that burden more.
  • Kermit Washington was an All-Star NBA forward for the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. After his playing days, he was a popular radio host and was heavily involved in charity work. But mention his name, and ninety-nine percent of people who recognize it will go straight to the night he nearly killed Rudy Tomjanovich of the Houston Rockets with a freak haymaker (often inaccurately described as a "sucker punch").note  And before winning championships and Olympic gold as a coach, Rudy T was most remembered as being the recipient of that punch (despite being an All-NBA level player prior to that night).
    • Tomjanovich, likewise, has noted that for much of his life people would come up to him and say, "I know you — you're the guy who got nailed."
  • Bill Robinzine was an excellent rebounder and one of the league's better defenders during his seven-year career in the NBA. Today he's only known for being the player who ducked out of the way of Darryl Dawkins' backboard shattering dunk against the Kansas City Kings on November 13, 1979. Robinzine's unique method of ducking (running away with his face in his hands) was noted by Dawkins when the press asked him to name said dunk ("The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam").
    • Sadly, Robinzine committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in 1982, apparently due to depression over being unable to sign with an NBA team. He was only 29 years old.
  • The Portland Trail Blazers have never lived down passing over Michael Jordan and taking Sam Bowie in the 1984 NBA Draft. In truth, Portland already had a scoring guard in Clyde Drexler and desperately needed a center, with Bowie being the best one left after Hakeem Olajuwon (which the Houston Rockets have avoided flak for taking over Jordan since they got two championships out of him). Also at the time, people in Chicago were shaking their fists because Portland picked Bowie before they could; the Bulls' coach and GM at the time said they couldn't build a team around Jordan because "he's not seven feet tall". Likewise, Bowie will always be remembered as "that guy who got drafted ahead of Michael Jordan."
    • Subverted in that even Bowie himself, after becoming a racehorse owner, doesn't mind his draft status.
    • This seems to be a recurring theme with the Blazers: drafting big men who dominated in college only to suffer in the pros because of injuries. These include Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, and most recently, Greg Oden. Walton was a legit superstar, Bowie at least a solid starter when healthy, but Oden never really got his career going.note  There's also "players who do become stars but retire early because of injuries", such as Bill Walton and Brandon Roy; Portland fans just can't catch a break).
    • In fact, drafting a collegiate/European blue chip center has never gone according to plan for the Blazers. 1972 first-overall pick LaRue Martin? Bust, gone from the NBA in four seasons. 1974 first-overall pick Bill Walton? A stud when healthy, but the thing is, he hardly ever was healthy. 1984 second-overall pick Sam Bowie? As mentioned above, a solid pro, but always remembered as the guy picked in between Hakeem and MJ. 1986 first-rounder Arvydas Sabonis? He was a star when he made his NBA debut in 1995, but he was already thirty-one years old, with his best days past him due to injuries. 2007 first-overall pick Greg Oden? Flamed out after a short, injury-riddled NBA career, now playing in China.
  • To Indiana Hoosier fans, Kent Benson is probably their best player ever in program history, leading them to an undefeated season in the 1975–76 season, a 63–1 record from 1974–76, and is still their second leading all time rebounder. To most everyone else who follows basketball, he's known for being such a jerk that he was part of the reason Larry Bird left IU for Indiana State, being named the worst draft pick of the 1970s in NBA history according to Sports Illustrated, and getting his jaw broken by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his very first pro game.
  • Latrell Sprewell will forever be remembered as the guy who choked his coach.
    • Maybe supplanted by the fact that he put spinning rims on his sneakers.
    • Don't forget the time he rejected a multi-million-dollar contract because "he has a family to feed" … he's good at outdoing himself.
      • Not long after rejecting that deal, Sprewell filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to his spending ways.
  • In the 1993 NCAA Men's Basketball Final, near the end of the game, Michigan "Fab Five" star Chris Webber called a timeout, unaware that Michigan had none left. His call gave Michigan a technical foul and turned the ball over to North Carolina, who went on to defeat Michigan and win the championship. Twenty years later, this kid, who wasn't even born when the game happened, had no problem giving Michigan's basketball team a reminder.
  • Bob Knight retired as the winningest NCAA Division I men's basketball coach ever,note  won three national championships, and led the USA men's Olympic basketball team to gold in 1984 as just a few of his career highlights. He's known by people who follow college basketball as a tough, but highly controversial coach with a vicious mean streak — but he will forever be known as "that basketball guy who threw the chair" despite that incident occurring in 1985 — a full twenty-three years before his 2008 retirement.
    • That itself is weird, since he's racked up a veritable laundry list of these indiscretions over his distinguished career, including choking a player and suggesting that rape victims should "lie back and enjoy it".
  • Try being Timofey Mozgov after this dunk. Sure, it was a moment of awesome for Blake Griffin, but it's most likely all Mozgov will ever be remembered for.
    • In fact, other players who've been on the receiving end of Blake Griffin dunks (Kendrick Perkins comes to mind) are said by some commentators to have been "Mozgoved". In double-fact, currently, if you type "Mozgov" into Google, the word "Mozgoved" is the second or third suggested search option, depending on when you do the search.
  • Isiah Thomas should be remembered as one of the top five NBA point guards of all time. But his post-playing career has been one major embarrassment topped by another:
    1. The guy who got left out of the Dream Team. Despite proving himself as a talented player and having already won two championships with the "Bad Boy" Detroit Pistons, he did not make the legendary 1992 USA national basketball team that won a gold medal at the Olympics, mostly due to Michael Jordan telling USA Basketball "it's him or me" (this led to a rift between good friends Thomas and Magic Johnson, as Thomas felt hurt that Johnson didn't stand up for him).
    2. The guy who put Barney on a jersey. His first non-playing job was president of the expansion Toronto Raptors — named for the dinosaur simply because Jurassic Park had just come out. The team uniforms he designed included a cartoon-like dinosaur in a basketball uniform on the front of the jersey. Thomas admitted he did it to appeal to kids; just about everyone over the age of twelve was less than impressed, and the image was removed soon after his departure.
    3. The guy Larry Bird fired: His three-year stint as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, where Thomas showed a legit knack for judging young talent and an inverse knack for actually coaching them. Larry Bird's first act as Pacers' general manager was to summarily fire Thomas (Thomas and Bird were infamously "unfriendly" during their playing days).note 
    4. The guy who killed the CBA: In 1999, Thomas headed a group that bought up the entire Continental Basketball Association, the NBA's de facto minor league. It went bankrupt within three years of Thomas' leadership.
    5. And now (and probably forever) the guy who ruined the Knicks: In 2003 Thomas was hired as President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks, a move that raised eyebrows in light of the above-mentioned CBA debacle. He immediately crippled the Knicks for years with a series of bad trades and worse free agent signings (and even worse contracts for those signings). By 2006, the Knicks had the NBA's highest payroll and second-worst record. He was finally fired in 2008 and was thought of as one of the worst executives in the history of modern American sports.
      • The Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment suit during his Knicks tenure just added to the craziness and public contempt.
      • So naturally, Knicks owner James Dolan rehires Thomas … to run New York's WNBA franchise. That's right: A man with a sexual harassment suit loss on his record is being tapped to run a women's sports team. This is serving to cement Dolan's reputation as the worst current owner in American sports (and climbing the ladder of worst ever).note 
  • Ron Artest is one of the NBA's top defenders, and helped lead the Lakers to a championship in 2010. But most people will probably forever associate him with a 2004 game in which, while playing for the Indiana Pacers against the Detroit Pistons, he went into the stands to punch a Pistons fan after being hit by a cup, which led to a full-scale brawl between the Pacers and Pistons fans.
    • In the months before the 2011–12 season began, Artest both changed his name to "Metta World Peace" and tweeted about his nipples being hard from excitement at a Cιline Dion concert. It's almost as if he's trying to get people to forget the "basketbrawl."
    • A somewhat forgotten — though still infamous — one came during his first season in the NBA with the Bulls. He applied to a Circuit City so he could get the employee discount.
  • Nick Anderson is the only man ever to score fifty points off the bench in the NBA and was a major part of the infamous "Flying Illini" University of Illinois basketball team. He's best remembered, however, for missing four consecutive free throws in the 1995 NBA Finals. Had he made even one of those shots, the game would have been in the bag, but after a three-pointer tied things up, Anderson's Orlando Magic lost in overtime. Cue lifelong derision as "Brick Anderson" and "Nick the Brick".
    • Following the 1995 Finals debacle, Anderson's free throw shooting, once only slightly below-average, would often reach epic levels of fail. He shot just 40% from the line in 1996–97 and 49% in 1999–2000, which is what you'd expect from awkward shooters of the era like Chris Dudley, but not a 6'6" shooting guard with an above-average shot from long range.
    • Earlier that same year, during Orlando's second-round series with the Bulls, Nick made the mistake of suggesting that Michael Jordan wasn't as good as he used to be since coming out of retirement, saying that no. 45 (Jordan's number when he got back initially) was never as good as no. 23. The very next game, Jordan brought back the 23 and shows Anderson that Jordan is still Jordan. Though Orlando won that series, Michael made the rest of the league pay big time over the next three years, taking the Bulls to three more championships.
  • Allen Iverson was a fantastic, All-Star guard, though he just could never seem to win it all. Some of that might be because for all his strengths and natural talent, we're still sitting here, he's supposed to be a franchise player, and we're in here talking about practice. Not a game. Not a game. Practice. After allegedly skipping practices, he had a press conference repeating twenty times the word "practice", and almost as frequently the phrase "not a game", suggesting he did not understand how practising could help a team. Several years, and two contracts later, the Pistons held a press conference after they acquired him in a trade. A Detroit reporter ribbed him about his practice habits. It's even been in the Stupid Statement Dance Mix for Never Live It Down interview moments, as the chorus and focus interview. Even above "COME AFTER ME! I'M A MAN! I'M FORTY!"
    • It should be noted that Iverson's rant was mainly in response to the reporters on hand repeatedly asking him about his practice habits instead of that night's game.
    • To make a very funny point, Larry Brown, coach of the 76ers at the same time that Iverson was there, replied to a reporter, "He doesn't come to practice as many times as he can say it."
  • John Stockton completely rewrote the basketball record books for steals and assists; the latter record may never be broken. What's the first thing people remember him for? His shorts — he was the last player never to wear the baggy shorts look that Michael Jordan made popular. Even his autobiography mentions them.
  • Charles Barkley has a couple of infamous incidents: first, his infamous commercial in which he claimed "I am not a role model"; second, that time he sped while driving drunk because he was in a hurry to get oral sex.
    • Or that time he threw a guy out a plate glass window.
    • Barkley's lowest professional moment was unquestionably his attempt to spit on a heckler that hit a little girl instead. He was hit with a fine and a suspension, and would later say it was the only thing he truly regretted from his playing days (despite befriending the girl and her family and sending them tickets to the Nets, their home team).
  • No matter how big Louisville Cardinals player Kevin Ware makes it in the NBA, he will forever be remembered for the gruesome broken leg he suffered in the Cardinals' NCAA regional final against Duke in March 2013.note 
  • Jason Collins will likewise be remembered as the first active male athlete in a major North American sports league to come out as gay. Not that that's a bad thing.
    • Emphasis on "come out". A few past athletes — notably Glenn Burke (mentioned above under Baseball) — made an Open Secret of their sexuality, but never officially or overtly came out.
  • Charles Smith was a fairly serviceable, though not exactly great, forward for several years during the 1990s who is best known for an embarrassing moment during the 5th game of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals between his New York Knicks and the two-time defending NBA champion Chicago Bulls. With time running out and the Knicks trailing 95–94, Smith took a pass from star center Patrick Ewing, had his shot blocked, four times. Bulls point guard B.J. Armstrong scored a lay-up as time expired to clinch the win and a 3–2 series lead for the Bulls; who clinched their third straight NBA Finals appearance in Game 6.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers guard Craig Ehlo was always a solid shooter and defender, but is always remembered as the guy guarding Michael Jordan when he made "The Shot," a last-second shot that won that first-round playoff series for the Chicago Bulls in the 1988–89 season. This was considered an upset as the Bulls were the sixth-seeded team and the Cavs the third seed.
  • Stan Kroenke, owner of the Denver Nuggets, will never live down a conflict when his home area, the Pepsi Center, scheduled a WWE Monday Night Raw broadcast during playoff week when, should the team make the playoffs, there was an even chance they'd be playing a home game. Instead of alerting WWE to the possible conflict months in advance and allowing them the possibility that they may need to find another venue for that date, he waited until the Nuggets made the playoffs and the playoff schedule was officially announced (which deemed the Monday night game a home game). This gave WWE all of six days to move their event somewhere else and Kroenke offered them a much, much smaller venue to run their broadcast. He did all this to Vince McMahon, widely acknowledged as the world's richest carny, and the whole thing spun into a vicious firestorm of negative publicity for himself, the Nuggets, and the NBA. Vince was only too happy to stoke this, making the rounds of various sports shows to talk about how little confidence Kroenke had in his team. The Nuggets' playoff rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, got in on the Nugget-bashing by giving WWE their arena, the Staples Center, to do the broadcast. All in all, the whole fiasco meant tons of lost revenue for Denver and a whole lot of egg on Kroenke's face. In addition, the Nuggets would eventually lose the Western Conference finals to the Lakers four games to two.
    • In the Monday Night Raw episode in question, WWE would repeatedly poke fun at Kroenke and the Denver Nuggets, with McMahon himself revealing to a Kroenke impersonator what the "E" in "E. Stanley Kroenke" stands for: Enos. (Probably not that embarrassing in hindsight, as Kroenke was apparently named after St. Louis Cardinals legends Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial.) A tag team match later that evening would feature the faces in Lakers jerseys and the heels in Nuggets jerseys. Naturally, the heels lost.
    • Although Kroenke may now be more well known as the guy who, after buying the St. Louis Rams, moved them back to Los Angeles (after the previous owner moved them to St. Louis).
  • LeBron James has two NBA titles, four NBA MVP awards, two Olympic Gold Medals, and is regarded as one of the best basketball players of his generation. But everyone still derides him for "The Decision", a seventy-five-minute special broadcast (but not produced or directed) by ESPN where he announced he was "taking his talents to South Beach" and signing with the Miami Heat.
    • Even after winning two championships in Miami, LeBron's been haunted by a comment he made during "The Decision", where he pronounced that he, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade would lead the Heat to eight championships. ("Not one, not two, not three…" etc.) This was especially true after the Big Three took the Heat to the finals in their first year together but lost to the Dallas Mavericks, and when LeBron went back to Cleveland during the 2014 offseason.
    • Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers (the team LeBron originally left to play for the Miami Heat, only to return for the 2014–15 season), is unlikely to live down his response to James' departure — an open letter to Cavaliers fans attacking James for deserting the team, and guaranteeing that the Cavs would still be able to win an NBA championship without his help. The letter was posted on the Cavaliers' website all throughout LeBron's tenure with the Heat, and was mocked mercilessly for its childish tone and for being written entirely in Comic Sans, the most hated of all typefaces. In the years after LeBron's departure the mockery gradually died down, but he really felt the heat from this tirade after LeBron returned to Cleveland.
    • This was such a huge story that the entire basketball-watching populace of Cleveland, Ohio (and by extension all of Ohio) is still struggling to live down the actions of a few especially disgruntled fans in the wake of LeBron's departure, especially stunts like burning LeBron jerseys.
  • Scottie Pippen refusing to re-enter a game when a game-winning shot was called for Toni Kukoc instead of him in the 1994 playoffs has dogged him ever since, to the point that it's cited for other players in similar situations. (And the fact that Kukoc hit the shot even without Pippen in the game doesn't lessen the sting.)
  • Whether it was intentional or not, Kelly Olynyk is now best known for dislocating Kevin Love's shoulder in game four of the first round of the 2015 playoffs.
  • French center Frédéric Weis will forever be remembered for being the guy that receives the butt end of Le dunk de la mort,note  where Vince Carter jumped over his head and scored a dunk on the 2000 Olympics. Mind you, Weis is 7'2", while Carter is just 6'6"; and that's the same year Carter absolutely annihilated the Slam Dunk contest.
  • Danny Ainge may have won three championships in his career with the Boston Celtics (with two as a player and one as the executive) but he will be known for his ill-advised confrontation with the 7'1" Tree Rollins of the Atlanta Hawks during Game 3 of the 1983 playoffs in response to receiving a blatant elbow to the face by Rollins and the latter bit him on his middle finger so hard Ainge had to get a few stitches to repair it, and, to literally add insult to injury, Ainge was ejected from the game while Rollins got off scot free; this lead to the meme stating that "Man Doesn't Bite Tree, Tree Bites Man".

     Hockey 
  • Collectively, the Vancouver Canucks hate "Chelsea Dagger" by The Fratellis, which happens to be the Chicago Blackhawks' goal/win song. Even the Bruins organist got in on it. The Canucks have faced the Blackhawks in the playoffs three of the last four years; the Blackhawks eliminated them two years in a row while Vancouver barely took the 2011 series after going up 3-0 and then letting the Blackhawks win three straight to force a game seven, which Vancouver won in overtime.
  • To add on with the Canucks, they developed a huge reputation for diving, especially after the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. To many people, this did not help matters for them.
    • For that matter, Canucks fans have pretty much solidified a reputation for … not taking losing well. Some may have forgotten the riots in Vancouver after losing the Cup Finals to the Rangers in 1994 — and then they did it AGAIN after losing the 2011 Finals to Boston.
    • And the salt in the wound, after the 1994 defeat, the entire team was dismantled and replaced with corporate suits who cared more about seasons tickets than winning the Cup. The effect is so profound that no team in Canada has won the Cup since. It had that of a negative effect and it may be called the Richter Cup now, after the New York Rangers goalie.
  • Continuing with '94, Stéphane Matteau scored a total of 144 goals in his sixteen-year NHL career with six different teams, but there's only one most hockey fans will know of: his Game 7 double-overtime goal in that year's Eastern Conference finals with the Rangers against the Devils.
    Rangers radio announcer Howie Rose: (Viacheslav) Fetisov for the Devils plays it cross-ice, into the far corner. Matteau swoops in to intercept. Matteau behind the net, swings it in front, HE SCORES! MATTEAU!! MATTEAU!! MATTEAU!! STEPHANE MATTEAU!! AND THE RANGERS HAVE ONE MORE HILL TO CLIMB, BABY! BUT IT'S MOUNT VANCOUVER! THE RANGERS ARE HEADED TO THE FINALS!!!
  • Ty Conklin was a brilliant regular-season goalie for Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. Nobody would let him play in the playoffs, however, because of one mistake in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, playing for Edmonton, which allowed an easy goal for the opponent (Carolina).
  • Patrik Stefan, while considered to be a hockey player who never lived up to his potential, will probably never be able to live down a gaffe where he missed a shot and slipped and fell while on a breakaway on an empty net. The Edmonton Oilers skated down to the other end, and Ales Hemsky scored to take the game to overtime.
    • His career continued to tailspin out of control, quickly leaving the NHL for European Elite Leagues … then retired before the age of thirty.
  • The Edmonton Oilers' Steve Smith was a mainstay for their Cup runs, winning three Stanley Cups with that team, the last in 1990. However, he's best known for a critical own goal in the 1986 playoffs against their arch-rivals, the Calgary Flames in the seventh game of the Conference Semifinals. The score was tied at two with 14:46 remaining in the third period, and he passed it behind his own goal zone. It deflected off his own goaltender, Grant Fuhr, entered the net somehow, possibly giving the Flames an advantage (they eventually won, and moved on to play against St. Louis in the Conference Finalsnote ). Perry Berezan was credited with the goal.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs made a deal with division rival, Boston Bruins, to trade a draft pick for one of their top players, Phil Kessel, in 2010. The Bruins got Tyler Seguin with the erstwhile Maple Leafs draft pick, and the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup the following season with big help from Seguin in the Eastern Conference Finals while the Maple Leafs remain the longest playoff appearance drought in the NHL.
  • Ulf Samuelsson will be forever known as a thug who took out Cam Neely in the 1991 playoffs and contributed to ending Neely's career. Laser-Guided Karma would come back to bite him four years later when he got knocked out and laid unconscious by a sucker punch thrown by Tie Domi.
    • Similar situation with Claude Lemieux when he pretty much single-handedly sparked off one of the biggest rivalries of the late 1990s to early 2000s for knocking Kris Draper's face in the boards in Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference Finals. Draper's teammate Dino Ciccarelli vocalized his disgust at that, saying after the obligatory postgame handshake between teams, "I can't believe I shook this guy's fucking hand."
  • Todd Bertuzzi, despite having been a tough, extremely skilled, and largely unstoppable player, will be forever known for ending Steve Moore's career with a sucker punch to the back of the head.
  • Atlanta hockey fans will never live down losing not one, but two NHL teams in the league's modern era, having their teams relocated to Canada in both instances. The first team, the Flames, moved to Calgary in 1980, and the second, the Thrashers, left for Winnipeg in 2011, becoming the second-generation Jets.
  • Ilya Bryzgalov is quickly becoming less known for his goaltending (his playoff performances haven't helped, either) and more for his interviews on 24/7.
  • Hockey badboy Doug Gilmour will always be remembered as a hot head on the ice, in Canada. While playing for the St. Louis Blues in the late '80s Gilmour got in trouble by being falsely accused of raping a fourteen-year-old who was also his children's babysitter. Despite having no proof that this happened the press caught word of it and never let it go; the bad press forced the Blues to trade Gilmour to the Flames in a deal that favored the Flames.
  • Scott Mellanby admits that the definitive moment of his career to most people was when he killed a rat in the locker room before a game, leading Panthers fans to embrace a rat theme.
  • Clint Malarchuk was a goalie for fifteen seasons, playing for Quebec, Washington and Buffalo. But what most people know the name for is nearly dying on the ice: During a game on March 22, 1989, while with Buffalo, Malarchuk's neck was accidentally slashed by the skate of St. Louis Blues player Steve Tuttle. Malarchuk nearly bled out on the ice; had the wound been an eighth of an inch (three millimetres) higher up or had he been on the other end of the ice (the locker room doors were on the end of the ice where Malarchuk was in goal) he would've died before the paramedics could get to him. So gruesome was the sight, that players began vomiting, fans began fainting, and two people even had a heart attack after seeing the injury.
  • Tommy Salo had a decent NHL career as a goalie, particularly during his years with the Edmonton Oilers, but he experienced the most success with the Swedish national team, where he was a big contributor to the Olympic Gold in 1994 and the World Championship victory in 1998, capturing a total of eight medals (two gold, two silver, four bronze). Following the 2002 Winter Olympics, however, many came to associate him with the poor goal he surrendered against Belarus in the quarterfinals, a goal which turned out to be the game-winning goal as the underdog Belarus upset the star-studded, priorly undefeated, and massively favored Swedish team. While it could be said that the entire Swedish team had a poor performance, Salo's gaffe became the defining moment of the game, and it has followed him ever since.
  • No matter what he does in the rest of his hockey career, Matt O'Connor will be remembered for his gaffe in the 2015 NCAA Division I championship game. With Boston University holding a 3–2 lead midway through the third period, a Providence player dumped the puck into the BU zone to prepare for a line change. A BU player deflected the puck into the air, and O'Connor caught it … but lost track of it, let it slip out of his mitt, and then kicked it back into the net. A couple of minutes later, Providence scored the goal that gave them a 4–3 win and their first national title.
  • Averted by Maurice "Rocket" Richard. Not even his short fuse, let alone an incident that got him suspended for the rest of the 1954–55 season and contributed to his Montreal Canadiens losing the regular-season title and, by extension, the Stanley Cup Finals, was able to diminish his status as a national hero in Canada, and in fact it may have even added to it. It helps that he owned up to it and ultimately quelled a riot that his suspension had caused, even leading the Canadiens to five consecutive Stanley Cups beginning the next year. Needless to say, it did produce a couple of tarnished reputations:
    • His teammate, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, was never quite able to live down the fact that his becoming the default season points leader as a result of Richard's suspension was a contributing cause of the riot in the first place.
    • NHL president Clarence Campbell would take the full blast of this effect, being derided for ethnic bias (Campbell was Anglo, and Richard was Québécois) and intensifying the riot with his very presence (something the mayor of Montreal reamed him for).
  • Subverted by Mud Bruneteau who played for fifteen seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. He is best known for scoring the winning goal of the longest game in NHL history, ending a playoff game against the Montreal Maroons that lasted six overtime periods.

     Broadcasters 
  • Legendary ABC sportscaster Keith Jackson isn't sure how the Catch Phrase "Whoa Nelly!" got so closely associated with him. By his own recollection, he's said it maybe six times in thirty-plus years of broadcasting. But the sports fandom seems to think he does it at least once every broadcast (though he does bust it out for a Dr Pepper commercial).
  • Sportscaster Howard Cosell was a mainstay of ABC Sports: color commentator for Monday Night Football and go-to interviewer in the sports world. But he could never shake the stigma of racism attached to him after an infamous 1983 MNF game, where he reacted to a catch-and-run by Washington receiver Alvin Garrett with "Look at that little monkey run" (Garrett is black). He resigned his MNF post at the end of the 1983 season, and never regained his status among sportscasters.note 
    • Cosell had another one two years later that led to his ouster from ABC altogether. In addition to the Monday Night Football and boxing gigs, he also covered baseball for the network, but just before the 1985 World Series, Cosell released a book called I Never Played the Game, which was essentially a lengthy rant about what annoyed him in sports, most infamously coining the term "jockocracy" to describe former athletes getting broadcasting jobs that Cosell felt they weren't qualified for. ABC pulled Cosell from World Series coverage in favor of one of sportscasting's all-time Scrappies: Tim McCarver.
  • Similarly, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder was a mainstay on CBS' NFL pregame show for twelve years. He became an instant pariah after a 1988 newspaper interview where he stated his belief that black athletes were inherently superior to whites because blacks were bred for size and strength during slavery.
  • Marv Albert was (and remains) one of the most popular sportscasters ever, but in 1997, he was known for biting a woman's back, as well as dressing in lingerie — an incident immortalized on Denis Leary's Lock 'n Load album and also parodied in an episode of Celebrity Deathmatch.
  • Brent Musberger will probably always be known for making strange comments about Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron's mother and his then-girlfriend, now wife, Katherine Webb during the 2013 BCS National Championship Game. However, Webb soon defused the controversy, noting that Musburger didn't use any terms she considered offensive.
    Webb: I think that if he would have said … that we were hot or sexy or made any derogatory statements like that, I think that would have been a little bit different. But the fact that he said we were beautiful and gorgeous, I don't see why any woman wouldn't be flattered by that.
    • This situation may also apply to McCarron, in that he is known more for being Webb's boyfriend/husband than for being a football player.note 
  • The late Beano Cook of ESPN. His prediction of multiple Heisman Trophy wins for Notre Dame QB Ron Powlus — before he'd played a single down for the Fighting Irishnote  is still mocked to this day.
  • Gus Johnson is perhaps best known for this call during final seconds of the 2006 NCAA tournament. With UCLA leading by two points, J.P. Batista of Gonzaga caught a down court pass and Johnson, expecting a huge play, screamed "Batista with the CAAAAAAAATCH!" Unfortunately, Batista missed the ensuing shot badly as the buzzer rang, meaning Johnson got excited over nothing.
  • In Brazil, Fernando Vanucci will never be forgotten of the day he went on air inebriated (courtesy of mixing medicine with wine).
  • Joe Buck has been Fox's lead NFL and MLB announcer for the better part of two decades, calling numerous Super Bowls, World Series, etc. But for a lot of fans, he'll always be the guy who…
    • Responded to the Vikings' Randy Moss playfully pretending to moon Green Bay fans after a catching a touchdown pass with an on-air tirade about it being a "disgusting act".
    • Was openly and hilariously berated by Artie Lange when the latter was a guest on Buck's mercifully short-lived HBO talk show.
    • Described David Tyree's stunning helmet catch in the final two minutes of Super Bowl XLII with what can only be called the verbal equivalent of Dull Surprise.
    • On Fark.com, he's known as "Shoe P***er" due to a Farker anecdote about a drunk Buck urinating in another guy's shoes.
  • The poor sanitary conditions at the 2014 Sochi Olympics resulted in Bob Costas coming down with a nasty case of pinkeye which he didn't do a very good job of hiding when he had to go on camera and recap the day's events every single night for two weeks. Two years later, jokes are still being made about it.
  • Bob Costas has been a mainstay at NBC Sports since the 1980s either hosting or doing play-by-play for whatever major sporting event that the network had the broadcast rights for at any given time like Major League Baseball (calling three World Series in the '90s), the National Basketball Association (calling the NBA Finals from 1998-2000), National Football League, and the Olympics (which he has anchored NBC's primetime coverage for since the 1992 Summer Games from Barcelona). Costas has won eight National Sportcaster of the Year awards, four Sportscaster of the Year awards from the American Sportscasters Association and well over twenty Sports Emmy Awards for outstanding sports announcing. Costas is also the only person in television history to have won Emmys for Sports, News, and Entertainment. And yet, Costas since early 2014, is probably more jokingly recognized/acknowledged by the general public for having a serious case of pink eye while anchoring the Winter Olympics from Sochi.

    Fighting Sports 
  • In MMA, UFC light heavyweight Rashad Evans had only one title defense of the light heavyweight championship, which he lost to Lyoto Machida by knockout by a left punch … but for quite some time, people mainly knew Evans only for the face and pose he (involuntarily) made as he fell.
  • Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield's ear. You never hear about how he set records for being the youngest boxer to win many world championships. It's always the ear and if not, it's these inglorious moments instead:
    • He was on the losing end of what many believe to be the biggest upset in boxing history, losing the world title to Buster Douglas.
    • He then served two years in prison for rape. Years later, he still claimed his innocence in that case, but publicly declared that he now wished he had done it. And somehow, the ear incident still overshadows all of that.
    • Trope Codifier for The Tyson Zone.
  • Oliver McCall was a former heavyweight boxing champ. In 1997, in the third round of the rematch with the man he beat for the title, Lennox Lewis, McCall inexplicably dropped his hands and refused to fight or defend himself, then started openly weeping in the middle of the ring (and in his corner between rounds). The fight was stopped shortly into the fifth round, after it was clear McCall wasn't going to fight. In the words of the fight's referee, Mills Lane:
    Lane: In the third round, he got in close, and then seemed frustrated, and then he just backed off and put his arms down … I thought he was playing possum but then I saw his lips started to quiver and I thought, "My God, is he crying?"
  • Ángel Matos, a Cuban taekwondo fighter, gained infamy (and a lifetime ban from the sport) in the bronze medal round of the 2008 Olympics. After getting disqualified from the match for an injury, Matos voiced his displeasure with the decision by kicking the judge that DQ'ed him in the face, shoving another to the ground, and spitting on the mat on the way out.
  • Roberto Durán, "The Hands of Stone" — considered by many to be one of the greatest boxers of all time. Over one hundred career wins, champion in four different weight classes, one of two fighters to have his career span five decades (1968–2002). But what is he remembered for first and foremost? The "No Más" fight.
  • Before an MMA bout with former WWE star Bobby Lashley, Mike Cook made his ring entrance wearing a Rey Mysterio mask. A visibly annoyed Lashley proceeded to choke Cook out less than thirty seconds into the fight.
  • Tomasz Adamek, Polish pro heavyweight boxer. The guy had a solid careernote , with a number of high-profile boxing fights (even going as far as facing Vitali Klitschko in a championship fight), a Muhammad Ali Giant Boxing Award and a solid international fanbase. All that changed when he tried a political career and gave a number of interviews and public appearances, during which he revealed his strongly homophobic views (even going as far as appearing in an infamous, very short-lived "Say No to Homo" TV campaign). It certainly didn't help that, at the same time, he displayed remarkable ignorance about the international politics and the duties of the European Parliament he was trying to get into. Not only did his political career crash and burn before it even started its takeoff roll, nowadays he's widely recognized as that homophobe highlander boxer.
  • Despite the sport's growth and popularity, Mixed Martial Arts in general, and UFC in particular, haven't lived down UFC's early reputation as "human cockfighting." As UFC's original intent was as a showcase of My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours — competitors of different disciplines and styles fighting it out, the fewer hard and fast rules there were, the freer the competitors were to use all their techniques and fight at full strength. As more and more UFC fighers adopted the grappling/striking-mix style of Gracie Jujitsu (the fighting style of the Gracie brothers, who dominated early UFC), it became easier for UFC to adopt more rules. Today the in-ring action is as tightly controlled as boxing or amateur wrestling (some say more than the former). But many lay people only know UFC by its earlier reputation.

     Other 
  • Unless you know the man personally, there is only one way and one way only you'll recognize the name "Vinko Bogataj" (an otherwise obscure Yugoslavian ski jumper from the late '60s): The spectacular 1970 ramp wipeout that forever gained him pop culture icon status as Wide World of Sports' "Agony Of Defeat" Guy. In fairness, that was one of the few sports moments in history that qualified as a Dethroning Moment of Suck and a Moment of Awesome; it'd be an eternal defining moment for pretty much anybody.
  • Australian cricketer Shane Warne, for sending lewd text messages while drunk. If he'd sent as many as it's generally believed he has, his thumb would have fallen off by now.
  • English cricketer Tony Greig. During the run-up to England's 1976 Test series against the West Indies, he had this to say:
    "You must remember that the West Indians, these guys, if they get on top are magnificent cricketers. But if they're down, they grovel, and I intend, with the help of Closey [England teammate Brian Close] and a few others, to make them grovel."
    • Unfortunate Implications … where do we begin? For starters, the word "grovel" has very sinister connotations for West Indians, many of whom are descendants of slaves (especially true in the English-speaking Caribbean, which the Windies team represents). On top of that, Greig was a white South Africannote  who made his remarks at a time when apartheid was a major political issue throughout the world.
    • The Windies swept the series 3–0. Greig kept a sense of humour; during the last Test, he pretended to crawl in to the batting crease on hands and knees. Nonetheless, he never lived the comment down until his death in 2012.
  • In the early '80s, Australian footballer John Burke pushed over an umpire and attacked a spectator. He was given a ten year suspension, effectively ending his career, but the footage has been circulating ever since. Commentator "Slug" Jordan's "He's done well, the boy" in response to the incident hasn't helped. Other Aussie Rules examples include Jeff Potter (the guy who had his hand pass intercepted by Barry Breen in the 1966 Grand Final) and Graeme Jenkin (the guy who Alex Jesaulenko took his famous mark over in the 1970 Grand Final).
  • Tiger Woods is probably better known these days for his now-infamous rampant infidelity than he is for playing golf. This may have something to do with the fact that since news broke on the scandal his game took a serious nosedive.
  • Stéphane Lambiel is a well known and beloved Swiss figure skater, but he will never live this down. (To the point that a skating fansite warns for "Red Cat" fanart.)
    • Likewise, Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko will never live down his complaints about Evan Lysacek winning gold despite never doing a quadruple jump, or the 'Platinum Medal' found on his website (though that might not even have been his doing).
  • Bill Shoemaker was one of the greatest jockeys ever. He won four Kentucky Derbys, and his winning ride on Ferdinand in 1986 is, arguably, the best ride in Derby history. But he had two Never Live It Down moments: the 1957 Derby he lost when he misjudged the finish line aboard Gallant Man, and the 1991 drunk driving crash in which he was paralyzed from the neck down.
  • Béla Károlyi is the Vince Lombardi of the gymnastics world, coach of some of the greatest female champions the sport has ever seen. Is he remembered for any of his champions under his wing, including Nadia Comaneci and Mary Lou Retton, or the fact that virtually all American Olympic female gymnasts of the last two decades have been trained by Károlyi or one of his proteges? Nope, try his words of encouragement to an injured Kerri Strug during the 1996 Atlanta Games: "Yoo kin doo eet, Kary!" Not only is this a Beam Me Up, Scotty! (since he actually said "Kerri listen to me. You can do it."),note  but the version everyone remembers is actually from Rob Schneider's imitation of Károlyi from Saturday Night Live.
  • Australians have Ben Cousins. Despite being one of the greatest players in the history of Australian rules football, in 2007 he was kicked off his team, West Coast, and banned from playing for one year for drug possession, repeated traffic violations, and association with organized crime. After all this, fans still seemed to emphasize his stellar play. After he signed with Richmond, their membership sales soared.
  • John McEnroe won seventeen Grand Slams, owns a record streak of forty-two matches unbeaten and is regarded as the best player in front of the baseline in the Open Era. He now mostly exists in the public consciousness in the form of four words he uttered in a first round match at Wimbledon in 1981. Say it with me; "YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS."note 
  • Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney was an exceptional vaulter, but due to being somewhat specialized, was stuck in Gabby Douglas' shadow for most of the 2012 Olympics … before a picture of her scowling after placing second in the vault was turned into a Tumblr blog that quickly went viral. The only difference here is that Maroney is actually very proud of her status as an internet meme, even making her famous expression with Barack Obama. Still, she'll always be forever remembered as an internet meme rather than for her accomplishments as a gymnast like Douglas will be.
  • Fuzzy Zoeller was a popular and successful player on the PGA Tour for three decades, becoming one of three players to ever win The Masters in his first appearance. People don't remember that, nor his other Major victory (1984 US Open, nor his eighteen other tour victories. People DO remember his racially insensitive comments at the 1997 Masters, regarding winner Tiger Woods (which was Woods' first Major win) and the following Champion's Banquet (which the previous year's winner sets the menu for):
    "He's doing quite well, pretty impressive. That little boy is driving well and he's putting well. He's doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year. Got it … Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve."
    • Time will tell if Sergio García is remembered for the exact same thing.
  • The entire Tour de France will never live down the various doping violations it's had, including all-time leader Lance Armstrong get away with it for his entire tenure. Same thing goes for Armstrong himself.
  • Former Tour de France winner, Laurent Fignon, had been asked several times "Aren't you the guy who lost Le Tour by eight seconds?" He was, as he lost by that margin in 1989. His reply would be "No, I'm the guy who won it twice," having done so in 1983 and 1984.
  • In Tennis, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut have never lived down their famous record breaking 3 day, eleven-hour Wimbledon match that ended with Isner winning 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, 7–6, 70–68. The match went so long that the scoreboard broke and people were told just to add fifty to the displayed score. Any time either Isner or Mahut plays any other person, this will inevitably be brought up by the commentators. It isn't helped by the fact that neither was particularly well-known before then; most of their records (they hold the records for the top two most aces hit in a single match) are from that match.
    • Humorously, the following Wimbledon, the pair got matched up against causing everyone in the room to laugh. The match was nowhere near as interesting as Isner won much quicker.
  • Bobby Riggs won the 1939 Wimbledon Championship, two US Opens, three US Pro Championships and was the World No. 1 tennis player for three years, once as an amateur. However, all that was pushed aside when he lost "The Battle of the Sexes" match to Billie Jean King. (And then that was pushed aside when he claimed he'd actually thrown the match.)
  • Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding will never live down the controversy around the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and the media circus it generated at the Olympics a month later. Harding's husband, worried that Kerrigan was going to beat her in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, hired a hitman to injure Kerrigan by breaking her ankle. While both the attacker and Harding's husband were arrested, Harding herself has never been charged with any crime. Yet, it's the only thing anyone remembers her for, and she's been convicted by the court of public opinion to the point where she's been banned from international skating competitions for life.
  • In Rugby Union, All Blacks fans have yet to forgive Aussie flyhalf Quade Cooper for some cheap shots directed at All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in 2011.
  • Don Fox had a glittering career in the 1950s–60s as one of Rugby League's true greats. Towards the end of his career he played for Wakefield Trinity against Leeds at Wembley in the 1968 Challenge Cup final. In the last minute of the match, with Trinity trailing 10–11, he had the simplest of spot kicks, right in front of the posts, to snatch the game. He lost his footing on the wet pitch and sliced the kick wide of the posts. That is what Don Fox is remembered for today. It hasn't helped that his miskick prompted the widely-quoted "He's a poor lad!" commentary from legendary broadcaster Eddie Waring.
  • No matter how well he does, golfer Kevin Na will always be remembered for hitting sixteen on a hole in a tournament. He got some very bad luck including multiple penalties, but his last three shots were actually pretty decent.
  • Otylia Jędrzejczak, Polish butterfly-style swimmer. One Olympic gold medal (and two silver ones), world champion (twice), European champion (five times on the standard fifty-metre swimming pool, plus additional three times on a twenty-five-metre one), three times broke the world record, and with a big heart for charity (she donated her gold medal from Athens for auction with benefits going to children suffering from leukemianote ). Then, on 1 October 2005, the car she was driving swerved off the road and hit a tree while she was trying to pass a long-haul truck in heavy rain; she escaped with minor injuries, but her brother, driving as a passenger, was killed — one day before his nineteenth birthday, no less. While the incident resulted in a wave of compassion for an inexperienced driver losing control over her car in bad weather, during the legal action that followed, Jędrzejczak strongly pressed for an acquittal, stating that "her brother's death was a punishment enough"; however, the main kick occurred when she openly stated that "An Olympic champion should not be treated as a criminal"note . It was the "Screw the Rules, I'm a Champion" behavior that alienated many of her fans and caused a wave of serious criticism, especially as it starkly contrasted with her earlier public image (she was offered a deal — two years' imprisonment in suspension for five years plus some public work to do — but she turned it down, pressing for a complete acquittal). While she avoided imprisonment,note  the incident derailed her sporting career: she returned to competitive swimming in 2006. But for the sole exception of a new world record in 200-metre butterfly in 2007, it was a long strain of misfortunes and disasters (she finished seventeenth in 100-metre butterfly in Beijing in 2008), and now most people remember her nowadays for the tragic accident and its aftermath, the sporting successes slowly drowning in obscurity (she tried a political career, but it failed miserably).
  • Oscar Pistorius was an Inspirationally Disadvantaged track star, competing in the Paralympics and the 2008 Summer Olympics. Then, in 2012, he shot his girlfriend to death, and after years in the judicial system, he was convicted of culpable homicide.
    • Reeva Steenkamp was a very well-known model in her native South Africa, but to most foreigners she's unfortunately primarily remembered as Pistorius' victim.
  • More than thirty years after the fact, Australian cricketers Trevor and Greg Chappell are still remembered as the bowler of the infamous underarm ball and the captain who came up with that tactic.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/NeverLiveItDown/Sports