Yes, it’s a job. As fans, it’s a job we’d love to have, but being a professional athlete–a successful one–the day in, day out grind of the profession can take its toll. Sure it pays well, adoring fans that clamor to see your every can be fun and playing a game for a job is a pretty cool way to work.
So, in honor of Labor Day, we salute some of the hardest workers in their respective sports.
When we think of baseball durability, we of course think of the Iron Man, Cal Ripken Jr. But instead of the guy that played the most consecutive games, how about the guy that took the most hits? No, not the most hits from the plate (that would be Pete Rose), but was hit the most. Biggio was beaned 285 times (the most among living MLB players, Hughie Jennings was hit 287 times).
Brett Favre owns seemingly every record a quarterback can own. With the good, Favre took the bad, as in 525 sacks, the most a QB has surrendered in a career. And some he knew were coming.
But poor old David Carr withstood a season of hell in Houston. The no. 1 overall draft pick out of Fresno State in 2002, Carr was tasked with being the signal caller for a the expansion Texans. In their inaugural season, Houston went 4-12 and Carr was sacked a brutal 76 times that year. 76 times! Yes, that is an NFL record.
To his credit, David Carr never publicly criticized his line or his team, he just took his lumps. Speaking of his lumps, he was sacked a total of 249 in five seasons in Houston.
Why do we watch hockey? Yup, for the fights. We love the enforcer, every team has one, the guy whose job it is to protect the other players on their line. They serve as the judge, jury and executioner to decide where justice should be served on the ice.
As a result, the enforcer is not stranger to the penalty box. No player visited the sin bin more and Tiger Williams. Williams had a job to do, lay down the law, wherever he went (Toronto, Vancouver, Detroit, Los Angeles and Hartford). One of the nastiest enforcers hockey has ever seen, Williams logged the most career penalty minutes in NHL history, 3,966 minutes over the span of 14 seasons.
Over the course of seasons, Robert Parish won championships, was a 4-time champion, a 9-time All-Star and named among the 50 greatest players of all-time. The Chief went up against some of the best big men ever (see Kareem, Hakeem, Robinson and Ewing), and was part of a Big Three (with Bird and McHale) that could make a case for the best trio ever.
As Parish’s Celtics rolled through the 80’s, the Chief was there every step of the way. A day at the office was to be in the office every day. Parrish played 21 seasons in the NBA, from 1976 to 1997! Of the span of three decades and 16 playoff appearances, he played in a lot of games. Make that a ton of games. Parish finished his career playing in 1,611 games, the most in NBA history. In those 1,611 games, the Chief put in 45,704 minutes, that’s over 761 hours or 31 days worth of time on an NBA court.
So as you enjoy your day off and gear up for another week on the job, think of these guys who took their profession to another extreme.