10 Great Sports ‘Characters’

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

In the age of the sports publicists and agents, finding an athlete who speaks and acts freely is like discovering a unicorn. Athletes toe the “party line” and rarely, if ever, deviate from it. Every once in a while, though, a player or coach comes along with a refreshing perspective or odd habits that don’t escape notice. One of those was Dave “Tiger” Williams, and before him Eddie Shack. Hockey was full of flakes in the 1960s and 1970s and Shack and Tiger flew the ‘freak flag’ with aplomb. Tiger was famous for riding his stick after one of his infrequent goals, to the delight of fans and chagrin of his adversaries. A noted fighter, Tiger was asked who his toughest opponents were, to which he responded “all of them.” Shack, for his part, was legendary for his massive moustache and general irreverence for convention. He even had a song penned for him called “Clear the Track, here comes Shack!”

#10 – Brian Wilson, Los Angeles Dodgers

Wilson would be colorful for just his beard, and the orange cleats he debuted at the 2010 MLB All-Star game. A better-than-average closer, Wilson was taken to task about the cleats in July 2010, when Marlins’ manager Edwin Rodriguez said they were “too bright.” Wilson being Wilson, he coloured them with black marker after being fined $1,000 by MLB. Afterwards, he stated that he was fined “because he had too much awesome in his feet.” The tattooed and hirsute hurler, whose bearded likeness adorned a Virgin Airlines Airbus, is no stranger to off-the-cuff remarks, telling noted interviewer Jim Rome he was a “certified Ninja” and that it happened in a dream. He further remarked “It takes a lifetime, but only, I think, 12 minutes [in a dream] to complete the courses.”

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

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