By RanterX on April 14, 2014
The greatest left-handed athletes of all time are some of the greatest men and women to ever play in professional sports. These talented athletes dominated their respective sports, all while being in a minority as a left-handed person. These 25 athletes are simply the best left-handed athletes ever.
Manny Pacquiao is one of the most underappreciated athletes the sport has ever had. He has won 10 world titles in eight different weight divisions and is the first to win four lineal championships in four different weight classes. Pacquiao's career record is 56-5-2 with 38 wins by knockout. If he beats Floyd Mayweather Jr., if they ever fight, he could climb up this and many other lists.
A superstar for the Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City Kings, Nate Archibald led the league in scoring and assists in the 1972-73 season. After playing most of his career with losing teams, Archibald joined the Boston Celtics later in his career. In the 1980-81 season, he won his only championship as the Celtics' starting point guard.
Steve Carlton was one of Philadelphia's most beloved players and arguably the best pitcher in franchise history. Carlton won five Cy Young Awards, led the league in wins and strikeouts four times, and won more than 300 career games. His best individual season came in 1972, where he led the league in ERA, wins, strikeouts, innings, complete games and K/BB rate.
Martina Navratilova established herself as one of the greatest tennis players who ever lived, male or female. During her illustrious career, Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.
Once his career is over, Rafael Nadal will rightfully take his place among the sport's greatest players of all time. So far in his career, Nadal has won 64 career titles, including 14 Grand Slams. He is also the greatest player in French Open history with nine Grand Slam wins.
Originally a right-handed boxer, "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler became a left-hander in the early stages of his career. As a southpaw, Hagler destroyed Tommy Hearns, John Mugabi, Vito Antuofermo and dozens of other opponents to claim several middleweight championships. Hagler's last fight came in a controversial split-decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987.
The man who is one of the greatest soccer players who ever played in Diego Maradona was a left-footed kicker. He scored 258 goals in 492 club appearances, but excelled on the game's biggest stage. Maradona led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup and scored both goals in their 2-1 semifinal win over England. The first goal was his famous, or infamous, "Hand of God" goal.
Nicknamed "The Big Unit," Randy Johnson was the most intimidating left-handed pitcher in the game's history. Standing at 6-foot-10, Johnson towered over opposing hitters. He played in the major leagues for 22 seasons with six different teams, and is a member of the 300 win club and the 3,000 strikeout club. At 40 years old, Johnson became the oldest to ever throw a perfect game when he blanked the Atlanta Braves.
Long before Tim Duncan arrived in 1997, David Robinson was the face of the San Antonio Spurs. "The Admiral" scored more than 20,000 points and grabbed more than 10,000 rebounds in his Hall of Fame career. Robinson was a 10-time All-Star, a two-time NBA Champion, and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
A premier pitcher for the "Team of the 90's," Tom Glavine won 164 games during the decade, the second highest amount of any pitcher in the National League. Glavine was a five-time 20-game winner and a two-time Cy Young Award winner. He is also one of only 24 pitchers (and just six left-handers) in major league history to earn 300 career wins.
Nicknamed "Mr. October," Reggie Jackson was one of the biggest clutch hitters in MLB history. In Oakland, Jackson won three straight AL pennants and two World Series titles with the Oakland Athletics. In New York, Jackson won three AL pennants and two World Series titles with the New York Yankees. His three home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers is still one of the greatest performances in postseason history.
An ambidextrous player, Rickey Henderson batted right and threw with his left. No matter which side of his body he used, Henderson will go down as one of the game's greatest players. The all-time steals leaders, Henderson holds the major league records for most career stolen bases, runs scored, unintentional walks and leadoff home runs.
San Diego's greatest player, Tony Gwynn was one of the lone superstars on mostly bad San Diego Padres teams. When he did get a chance to shine, Gwynn won eight batting titles in his career, tied for the second-most in MLB history. He was a 15-time All-Star, won seven Silver Slugger Awards and five Gold Glove Awards, and played 20 seasons for the Padres.
The left-handed pitcher with the most career wins in MLB history, Warren Spahn played 21 seasons in the big leagues. He won 20 or more games 13 times, and was the winner of the 1957 Cy Young Award winner. The Warren Spahn Award, given to the major leagues' best left-handed pitcher, is named after him.
There is no debating that Steve Young is the best left-handed quarterback ever. Succeeding a legend like Joe Montana, Young struggled early on, but became an outstanding quarterback and a Hall of Famer. In his career, Young had 232 touchdowns, 33,124 passing yards, and just 107 interceptions. In his eight seasons as a starter, he took the San Francisco 49ers to the playoffs seven times and won Super Bowl XXIX.
Barry Bonds was a historical talent on the field regardless of his off-field transgressions. He won three MVPs in four years from 1990-93 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was the most dominant hitter in the game with the San Francisco Giants. In 2001, Bonds hit a record 73 home runs in a single-season and on Aug. 7, 2007, Bonds broke Hank Aaron's career home run record. He finished his career with 762 career home runs.
Injuries robbed Ken Griffey Jr. of an illustrious career, but when he was healthy, he was one of the best ever. Mostly forgotten out in Seattle, Griffey Jr. hit more than 600 home runs in his career, playing in the "steroid era." Unlike his other contemporaries, Griffey Jr. was clean throughout his career and is by far the Seattle Mariners' best player in franchise history.
The youngest player ever elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Sandy Koufax spent all of his Hall of Fame career with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. During that time, Koufax became arguably the greatest left-handed pitcher in MLB history. Before arthritis in his left elbow ended his career prematurely at age 30, he won three Cy Young Awards, and each time, he won the pitcher's triple crown by leading the NL in wins, strikeouts and ERA.
St. Louis' greatest sports hero, Stan Musial led the St. Louis Cardinals with a grace and dignity that likely will never be seen by anyone ever again. Musial led the league in double eight times, five times in triples, and hit 20 or more home runs in 10 different seasons. He hit 475 home runs during his career, was named the National League's (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times, and won three World Series championship titles.
One of Boston's most iconic players, Ted Williams lost three seasons to military duty in World War II, but still managed to hit 521 career home runs and 525 career doubles. His .482 OBP is also the best in MLB history. He was also a two-time American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP), six-time batting champion, 17-time All-Star, and a two-time Triple Crown winner.
A left-handed shooter by nature, Wayne Gretzky became the greatest goal scorer in NHL history and the greatest player in NHL history. At the time of his retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records -- 40 regular-season records, 15 playoff records, and six All-Star records. As of 2009, he still holds 60 NHL records.
Ty Cobb was a terrible human being on the diamond, but he was an outstanding player. During the dead ball era, he won a home run title, and more importantly, eight slugging crowns. He still holds several records as of the end of the 2013 season, including the highest career batting average (.366) and most career batting titles with 11, among many other accomplishments.
Lou Gehrig may very well be the greatest baseball player of all time if he didn't contract the disease that now bares his name. Gehrig played 17 seasons for the New York Yankees, where he earned the nickname "The Iron Horse." He finished with a career batting average of .340, an on-base percentage of .447, and a slugging percentage of .632. He also tallied 493 home runs and 1,995 runs batted in (RBIs).
The greatest winner in NBA history, Bill Russell is easily the greatest left-hander to ever play in the NBA. Russell was a main figure for the Boston Celtics' dynasty under Red Auerbach in the 1950s and 1960s. Russell was a five-time NBA MVP, a 12-time All-Star, and an 11-time NBA Champion.
When it comes to sheer dominance in baseball, Babe Ruth will always be at or near the top. Choose your favorite example of his monopoly on home runs. Ruth hit his 700th homer before anyone else in baseball history had collected even 400. He won 10 on-base and 13 slugging average titles. Ruth established many MLB batting (and some pitching) records, including career home runs (714), slugging percentage (.690), and runs batted in (RBIs) (2,213).
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