Not all sports records are glorious. For every quarterback with the most touchdown passes, there's one with the most dogfighting convictions. For every jockey with the fastest time, there's one covered in the most equine ticks. This is an article about seven men who achieved greatness in failure, and feel free to take your time reading it because none of these these records will ever be broken.
Whenever the energetic Hughie Jennings stepped to the plate, the audience shouted out his catchphrase of "ee-yah!" while the bat boy walked to first base to wait with a bag of frozen peas and a neck brace. That's because when he retired from baseball in 1918, Hughie had been hit by 287 pitches. He took such a pounding to get on base that the stats on his baseball card were just a recipe for chicken scallopini.
Hughie once took a ball to the head in the 3rd inning, and he was so tough that he waited until the end of the game to fall into a, no bullshit, three day coma. He has every record for being hit by a pitch by any measurement of time. He once got hit by three pitches in a single game, and he almost remembered one of them. In the 1896 season, 51 balls smashed into Hughie. That might seem like a normal number if you're producing a turn of the century drama starring Phil Collins' mouth, but when you're talking about high-velocity objects impacting on a human body, it's kind of crazy. Speaking of crazy, when he traveled to away games, Hughie saved time by leaning into the grill of speeding trucks heading that direction. He had so many concussions that opposing first basemen were coached to sing sweet songs to him, knowing that if he fell asleep he'd die.
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The Houston Astros' Craig Biggio was only two behind Hughie when he retired in 2007, but with our technology, getting hit by balls is not quite the medical marvel it was in 1918. Back then, they didn't have machines to jam cerebrospinal fluid back up your nose. In 1918, when a doctor saw that many bruises, all he did was ask you what you did to make your husband so upset and add that if you're quite through wasting his time, he has a waiting room full of horses with actual injuries.
Clifford "The Black Rhino" Etienne started his amateur boxing career in prison while he was serving 40 years for armed robbery. He was let out 30 years early because once a prison teaches a violent criminal how to fight, its job is done. I think it might be a corrupt scheme to sell more prosthetic limbs and rape kits.
Before he used his new-found freedom to become a shitty professional thief, Clifford became a decent professional boxer. Coming into his 20th fight, he had a perfect 19-0 record with 13 knockouts. And to Clifford's credit, Fres Oquendo had to knock him down seven times before he stayed there. After the loss, Etienne seemed to be OK, winning five more fights from 2001 to 2003. But I guess he had 49 seconds to kill one night, so he spent them in front of Mike Tyson whose right hand exploded the part of Clifford's brain that knows what legs do:
Following that loss, Clifford was never quite the same. Two years later he suffered back-to-back losses and he decided if he wasn't good at boxing anymore, he could at least still be good at cocaine. So in 2005, on a hot summer night in Baton Rouge, Clifford Etienne got rob-a-payday-loan-store high and robbed a payday loan store. His getaway vehicle was a stolen car with a family still inside it, and he ended the night by shooting at police. If only the instructional video on dealing with that situation had been released a day sooner.
Once the judge was convinced he was reading actual charges and not a Martin Scorsese script, he gave Clifford 150 years without parole. This brought his career conviction total to 190 years. That is a sports record that will last forever. For an athlete to beat that record, he would have to get sentenced to life in prison for molesting his placenta during child birth and then live 69 years longer than the oldest person ever. Plus, now that I think about it, it would also have to take place in a country where placenta molestation is a pro sport, and last I checked, the Little Miss USA Pageant isn't a country. "Check and mate," says Clifford Etienne.
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NFL defensive end Robert Rozier got out of prison for petty crimes, killed seven white people to get into a black supremacy cult, went back to prison for that, testified against the cult's leader Yahweh ben Yahweh to get out of prison, then got put back into prison for spending his time in witness protection committing check fraud. After all of that, Robert Rozier's conviction totals are still trailing behind Clifford Etienne by 142.5 years. Etienne is that much worse than that.
Future Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre played so long that he racked up more NFL records than any other quarterback including most completed passes, most thrown yards and longest consecutive starts at an impossibly impossible 297. But there are downsides to being ageless and unkillable. For example, Brett watched three of his urologists die of old age and in his desperation he started texting pictures of his penis to friends.
During his long, long career, Brett also accumulated some unwanted records. He has more fumbles than any player that will ever play (166). He threw more interceptions than any player will ever throw (336). He lost more post-season games than any quarterback will ever lose (11). He was sacked 525 times, and that's not entirely his fault, but no one will fucking beat that, ever. That's nine more than John Elway took and Elway didn't give a shit. When John Elway is standing in lava with a football, he will stay there and sink until you're open. If Weekend at Bernie's 3 was set in the NFL, it would be less stupidly gruesome than a future quarterback trying to break Brett Favre's Number of Times Sacked record.
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By the time the necessary Terminator robots are invented to break all of Brett Favre's NFL records, we'll have more important things to do than play football. Like talking Brett Favre into not coming out of retirement again.
During his boxing career, American super middleweight Reggie Strickland lost 276 professional fights. If it's true that you learn more from a defeat than a victory, that makes him the smartest man on the planet. And he might be. At first it sounds stupid to take every fight you're ever offered, but think of all the hotel costs you save when you sleep in the center of a boxing ring every night. Reggie Strickland once fought nine times in a month and three times in four days. That's less like balls than it's like unethical neurological experiments. He woke up on the mat so often that he started saving time by wearing a mouth piece made out of scrambled eggs. His corner man was a box of Pop Tarts.
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Peter "The Professor" Buckley retired in 2008 with 300 fights. That's 63 fewer fights than Reggie, but Buckley's 256 losses were right on his tail. The two men have a lot in common besides their losing boxing records. For instance, most of their internal organs have been blended into a nutritious juice. They each feel that getting new concussions is the best way to tell your current concussions that you're disappointed in them. And they each did independent scientific research on how many hematomas you have to stack on top of each other before a human face simply stops trying to heal.