Athletes Who Retired Too Early

Many famous athletes have shattered their fans’ heart by their early retirement from professional athletic career. According to some surveys, many players retired early just to ensure they don’t meet a poor record or form at the end of their career, whereas many athletes had to stop their athletic career for their repeated injuries and personal causes. Many athletes even retired from the professional field just because they lost their interest in the games, or were forcefully retired by authorities.


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During his first retirement in 1993, basketball legend Michael Jordan also faced much criticism and many arguments on the media, but on a happy note, he made his comeback and continued his legacy which restored his fans’ love towards him. Whatever the reasons are, an early retirement of any good athlete is and will be a shock for the sports universe. Quite a large number of players achieved their height of success and are still remembered, even after their early retirement. So here is the list of top 10 athletes who retired too early.

Top 10 Athletes Who Retired Too Early

10. Roberto Clemente

Top 10 Athletes Who Retired Too Early
Top 10 Athletes Who Retired Too Early

Former Puerto Rican professional baseball player Roberto Clemente was the first Latin Americanto to be inducted in National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973. After a brief session in Puerto Rican Baseball, he was debuted for the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 17, 1955. He played his entire 18 seasons career for the Pittsburgh Pirates and achieved 240 home runs, 3000 hits and a batting average of .317. He made it to the All-Star fifteen times in two spells from 1960 to 1967 and from 1969 to 1972. He led his team to victory of the World Series championship twice and was named World Series Most Valuable Player in 1971. He became NL batting champion four times and also won Gold Glove Award a record 12 times from 1961 to 1972. Roberto’s legendary journey was stopped due to a fatal aviation accident which took his life in 1972 at the age of just 38.

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9. Rocky Marciano

Top 10 Athletes Who Retired Too Early
Top 10 Athletes Who Retired Too Early

Former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Rocky Marciano is the only person in history who was undefeated throughout his career. After playing both baseball and football during his days at Brockton High School, he joined the army for a term of two years in 1943. After a short three-week session with Chicago Cubs baseball team, he was debuted as a professional boxer on July 12, 1948, against Harry Bilizarian. He won his first sixteen boxing matches by knockout out of which nine came in first rounds. He participated in 49 boxing matches throughout his career and won all of them including 43 knockouts. He held his World Heavyweight title from September 23, 1952, to April 27, 1956. He defended his title six times against Jersey Joe Walcott, Roland La Starza, Don Cockell, Archie Moore and twice against Ezzard Charles. He announced his retirement at the age of just 32 in 1956.

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8. Lorena Ochoa

Top 10 Athletes Who Retired Too Early
Top 10 Athletes Who Retired Too Early

Retired Mexican professional golfer Lorena Ochoa is the first Mexican golfer of either gender to be ranked number one golfer. She is widely considered as the best Mexican golfer of all time. Lorena achieved 22 state events and 44 national events in Mexico as a junior and also won five consecutive titles in Junior World Golf Championships. During her days at University of Arizona, she was named NCAA Player of the Year for 2001 and 2002. She debuted in the 2002 Futures Tour as a professional and became the highest earner on the LPGA Tour for the 2003 season. She won 27 LPGA Tours and 3 Symetra Tours, and also achieved the best female golfer ranking in the world for three years. She retired after 2010 Tres Marias Championship at the age of just 29.

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  • SP95

    Plz dont include too many baseball players in the list , also forgot to include Arnold Schwarzenegger , he retired when he was still No. 1. Another Tennis player Justine Anna was also not included. There must be other great players who retired earlier but not mentioned here.