Source: Rex Features
Sports has seen a lot of great stories, and even greater athletes. Some players enjoy both, but others have shorter chapters in their book of professional athletics. Some call it 15 minutes of fame, but I prefer to use the term “One Hit Wonder”. In honour of those great short stories here are the Top 5 One Hit Wonders in sports history.
5. Timmy Smith
A 5th round running back from Texas Tech, Smith would get just 29 snaps in his first season of play, so not much was expected of the young ball carrier. However, come playoff time that tune would change. He would have 66 rushing yards against the Bears in the divisional round, and 73 yards on 13 rushes against the Vikings in the NFC championship. Yet Smith's claim to fame was his dominance at Super Bowl 22.
Although another famous short lived story (who will appear later on) takes most of the attention from this Redskins victory, it was Smith who broke the record for most rushing yards in a single Championship game with 204. Obviously, this was the peak of Smith's career as injuries would slow him down. He'd play until the tender age of 26. Smith's Super Bowl performance is the definition of a one hit wonder.
4. David Freese
Freese had a productive career so his story is a little different from the others on this list. The third baseman made his lone All-Star appearance in 2012 where he recorded career highs in home runs and RBIs, but it was his 2011 postseason run that made him famous, especially since prior to that year he only had 87 games under his belt.
Freese's NLDS was pretty average posting a .278/.278/.556 slash line, but he would explode in the NLCS and World Series winning both series MVP's, and famously kept the Cards alive in game 6 with a 2-run triple in the bottom of the 9th, followed by a game winning homer in extras forcing a game 7. If not for that postseason David Freese would be another footnote in the storied tale of Major League Baseball.
3. Jim Carey
Ok here's one that I've always been intrigued with. I've always been a big fan of goalies as a kid and Jim Carey was a big reason, because of his name and his unique story. Carey was the top goalie pick in the 92’ NHL draft, and had a quick rise through the Caps system. He'd excel in the American Hockey League in Portland and would get the call in 1994-95 where he'd make an immediate and short-lived impact.
94-95 saw Carey place third in Vezina voting and the runner up in the Calder chase, all this after just 28 games played. However, it was the 95-96 season that placed such high expectations on the young goalie. At the age of just 21, Carey was named an All-Star, and won the Vezina, the second youngest to win it but, after that year Carey's game plummeted. He bounced around the NHL and find himself out of the league just 3 years after his Vezina win.
2. Doug Williams
I made short mention of him in the Timmy Smith section, but Doug Williams was the true star of Super Bowl 22. The first black QB to win a SB, and the first to win SB MVP as well. Williams was an odd story, breaking in the league with the horrid Tampa Bay Bucs as a 1st rounder, there he would post a career record of 33-33-1 and lead them to their 1st playoff game. Remarkably by their standards at the time.
After that though, Williams made his way to the USFL where he played until the league eventually collapsed. At the age of 31, Williams found himself back in the NFL and as the backup to Jay Schroeder on the Washington Redskins. For the majority of his first two season Williams would ride the bench, that was until the final game of the 1987 season, and that's when Williams story would change forever.
Winning the final game of the regular season and at the same time the starting QB job, Williams would ride the hottest wave a QB may ever have. Beating the Bears and Vikings en route to squaring off against Jon Elway and the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. Starting just two games in Redskins jersey prior to this postseason run, Williams exploded with a 340 yrd, 4 touchdown game, winning MVP honours. Like many on this list, WIlliams' time in the sun was short, he'd be out of the league by the end of the decade.
1. Buster Douglas
Not much needs to be said about this one. It's simply the greatest upset in the history of sport and there's nothing remotely close, okay, maybe "The Miracle on Ice", but besides that nothing. A fight that took place in Tokyo, Japan because no one in the USA wanted to touch this squash match, for obvious reasons, turned out to be one of the century's defining underdog moments.
A lot a took place in the lead up to the fight. Tyson's marital problems, his separation from his previous cornerman, Douglas' finding a new sense of purpose after his mother passed. This all led to something spectacular. However, Douglas is number one on this list because he is the walking embodiment of a One Hit Wonder. When you think Buster Douglas you think Mike Tyson, there is no separation.
All things considered Douglas did have a nice career. With wins over Trevor Berbick and Oiliver McCall, but after Tyson he was KO'd by Holyfield in the 3rd. Douglas' life spiraled out of control afterwards, gaining close to 400lbs and even slipping into coma. However, Buster rebounded and came out of retirement just over 6 years after his famous win. The biggest underdog of all, and the greatest one hit wonder as well.