By: Dylan Moore
Hockey: Theo Fleury
Theo Fleury is undeniable. The 5’ 6” French Canadian played with a knack for the net and tenacity rivaled by few.
Given his unceremonious end to his career and his drug problems, the NHL has mostly steered clear of Fleury. But his 7 All-Star appearances, 455 goals and 1088 points in 1084 games make him hard to ignore, even as decades pass since his career has ended.
To make it simple, 15 players managed to average over a point per game in both the regular season and the playoffs. 14 of them are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and then there is Theo Fleury. The 1989 Stanley Cup winner’s Hall of Fame introduction is long overdue.
Baseball: Tony Oliva
The lifelong Minnesota Twin was just inducted into the Hall of Fame this past year. While that is great and shows he isn’t as forgotten as some may think, do not let this distract you from the fact that it took over 40 years for him to be inducted.
While never the best player on loaded Twins teams (hall of farmers Rod Carew and Harmon Killebrew made sure of that), Oliva’s impact on the Twins’s success was second to none. The 3 time batting champion was as consistent as it got, and his gold glove and 8 All Star appearances held up his career enough so he could be re-recognized all these years later.
Football: Fran Tarkenton
Continuing with the hometown heroes of the distant past, Vikings QB Fran Tarkenton is the next player on this list. While he is a long-time Hall of Famer, his impact has been largely forgotten. Not only did he hold just about every passing record a QB could for a decade after he retired, he also invented scrambling. For those who don’t know, scrambling is moving around in the pocket to evade defenders, and occasionally leaving the pocket to gain yards by running. This is something previously believed to be undoable by a QB before Tarkenton.
45 years after his retirement, the Vikings legend seems to have left the minds of NFL fans worldwide.
Basketball: Moses Malone
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Moses Malone. All of these players have one thing in common: 3 or more NBA MVPs. What differentiates Malone from the rest is simply recognition.
Even though Russell and Chamberlain played multiple decades before “The Chairman of the Boards,” they are both consensus top 10 players in every NBA fans mind, while Malone might not make the top 20. While he only won 1 ring, his scoring numbers, All Star appearances and NBA trophies make just about every player in today’s game jealous.
Even though there are plenty that get far more recognition in any all time debates than “Big Mo.” Moses deserves much more respect.
Soccer: Ronald Koeman
While there is no hall of fame for the biggest sport in the world, that hasn’t stopped Ronald Koeman from being snubbed far too many times. The center back had a whopping 193 goals in only 533 career matches at club level (reminder: he was a defender).
While still recognized by most as an all-time great in this position, his career, combined with his goal scoring record, goes far under the radar. The fabulous Dutch defender needs to be discussed by soccer superfans far more than he is.
While not all of these players are fully “forgotten,” it seems their career achievements certainly are. There are so many greats in all the sports discussed today, yet so many get disrespected and downright ignored when it comes to discussing legends of the game. I hope my article today reminded you how talented these individuals were and are.