Rob Johnson

Some people are superstitious. They avoid walking under ladders and breaking mirrors while they toss salt over their shoulder for good luck. Athletes are no exception, but their superstitions may be a bit more eccentric than the average Joe’s. Here are some interesting cases.

Let’s start with former MLB player Moises Alou. During his 18 year career, Alou racked up six all-star selections, two silver slugger awards and a World Series championship with the ’97 Florida Marlins. He also had a very interesting way of keeping his hands soft and callous-free.  Before every game, Alou would urinate on his hands. Gross. Obviously he’d never heard of moisturizer.

Turk Wendell, former reliever for the New York Mets, had a whole gaggle of rituals he performed when playing in the MLB. Wendell jumped over baselines whenever he crossed them and chewed black licorice on the mound. But if you think he had oral hygiene issues, think again.  The obsessive reliever would head to the dugout between each inning and brush his teeth.

Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks wears a pair of his opponents’ shorts to bed each night before games. Caron Butler of the Washington Wizards drank a whole two-liter of Mountain Dew each game between pre-game and halftime. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for his kidneys), the Mavericks made him stop this tradition in lieu of a healthier beverage: good old H2O. John Henderson, the six-foot-seven, 335 pound defensive tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars, has his trainer slap him across the face as hard as he can before Henderson begins ravaging offenses. Look it up on YouTube, it’s quite the spectacle.

Jason Giambi wears a thong whenever he gets into a batting slump. While Yankees fans (and Rockies fans if there are any) may be covering their eyes in shame, it seems to work for him. So well, in fact, that other players would try the same thing to break out of their hitting troubles.

Even the great Michael Jordan had his own little quirk. MJ would always wear a pair of his UNC shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform, hoping that his championship apparel at North Carolina would bring him the same success in the NBA. It’s a shame it didn’t work out.

But the wackiest superstition, borderline obsessive compulsive, belonged to Kevin Rhomberg of the Cleveland Indians. You may be asking yourself, who the hell is that? And you would be right to ask. During his 41-game stint with the Indians, Rhomberg was no superstar. But he could not be touched … literally. If a player touched him, he would have to touch them back. A Yankees v. Indians game once had to be stopped by an umpire because Yankees players would not stop touching Rhomberg and running away. Something tells me he was not very good at playing the no tagback rule as a child.

So, if you’re ever searching for ways to improve your test scores or have better luck for your intramural sports games, these are some excellent methods. But if you choose to do so, do everyone a favor and wash your hands.