One Hit Wonders: Sports Edition

What do Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Michael Carter-Williams and Soft Cell have in common with one-another? They all were one-hit wonders in one way or another.

Automotive Racing: Trevor Bayne (NASCAR)

In 2011, and only his second race in NASCAR, Trevor Bayne won what is considered one of the biggest races in motorsport; the Daytona 500. Bayne, then a day over 20 at that point, became the youngest winner of the Great American Race of all-time.

However, since that day in 2011, Bayne raced in 186 races, with the top finish being seventh at the 2017 First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Bayne retired in 2018 as a member of Roush Fenway Racing.

Hockey: Andrew Raycroft (NHL)

Unfortunately for Andrew Raycroft, what he is best known for is being the part of one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history.

Raycroft, a draft pick by the Boston Bruins in 1998, didn’t get a full-time starting goaltender job until 2003-04 with the Bruins. With Boston, he posted a .926 save percentage and a 2.05 goals-against average en route to winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie in the NHL.

One team who took notice of Raycroft was the Toronto Maple Leafs, and after one more season in ‘Beantown’, was shipped off to the Leafs for a young Finnish goalie prospect named Tuukka Rask. Since the trade, Rask is 19-10-2 against his former club, while Raycroft played two seasons in Toronto, with a .890 save percentage and 3.17 GAA.

Following his two seasons with the Leafs, Raycroft played four more seasons in the NHL with Colorado, Vancouver and Dallas; where he ended with a 31-34-1 record and a .901 save percentage.

Football: David Tyree (NFL)

David Tyree, a sixth round pick out of Syracuse by the New York Giants never had more than 20 catches in a season, however, it took only one catch in 2007 to put Tyree into the annals of NFL history.

The famous “Helmet Catch” against the then-undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII on third-and-five with 1:15 remaining in the game to set up an Eli Manning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress to give the Giants the 17-14 win.

After the Super Bowl, Tyree didn’t make another catch in the NFL, missing the 2008 season with a knee injury, and then having no targets in the 2009 season with the Baltimore Ravens.

Baseball: Don Larsen (MLB)

Similarly to Tyree, Larsen’s baseball career wasn’t much to sneeze at. In 14 years with the St. Louis Browns, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, Houston Colt .45’s/Astros and the Chicago Cubs; Larsen posted a 81-91 record and a 3.78 ERA.

However, what Larsen was best known for was pitching a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees against the then-Brooklyn Dodgers. To this day, Larsen remains the only MLB player to pitch a perfect game in the MLB Postseason, and one of only two no-hitters in the postseason, the other being Roy Halliday in 2010.

After Larsen’s perfect game, he bounced around the MLB for 10 more years, posting a 51-51 record and a 3.75 ERA.

Basketball: Michael Carter-Williams (NBA)

The second Syracuse player on this list, MCW’s career started off strong as the 11th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. In his first season in the City of Brotherly Love, Carter-Williams won the NBA Rookie of the Year, averaging 16.7 points per game.

The next season, Carter-Williams was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team trade involving the Phoenix Suns.

Following the trade, Carter-Williams numbers continued to plummet, dropping to a low of 4.3 points per game in 2017-18 as a member of the Houston Rockets.

This season, with the Orlando Magic, Carter-Williams averaged 7.4 points per game in the shortened regular season.

Golf: Rich Beem (PGA)

For those of you who have never heard of Rich Beem, it’s okay, I didn’t until researching this article. Beem was a college golfer at New Mexico State University who turned professional in 1994. After turning professional, Beem, instead of golfing, sold cell phones and car stereos in the Seattle area.

Beem’s first PGA Tour win didn’t come until 1999, when he won the Kepler Open at TPC Avenel in Potomac, Maryland. However, the real one-hit with Beem came at the 2002 PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.

After a final round collapse by Justin Leonard (shooting +5), Beem, who was in second place after the third round was able to fend off a late rush by Tiger Woods to win the event at 10-under par.

Since his out-of-nowhere victory, Beem’s best finish in a PGA Tour event was a playoff loss to Phil Mickelson at the 2005 BellSouth Classic at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Georgia.

Soccer: 2004 Greece (Euro)

From Greece’s first appearance as a national soccer team at the 1906 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece until 2004, the Greek national team qualified for only four international tournaments; the 1920 Antwerp Summer Olympics (losing 9-0 to Sweden in the first round), the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics (losing 2-1 to Denmark in the first round), the 1980 UEFA European Championships (going 0-2-1 in the group stage), and the 1994 FIFA World Cup (scoring 0 goals and going 0-3 in the group stage).

At the 2004 UEFA European Championships, it was expected for Greece finish about the same as they had before, whimpering out in the group stage. However, thanks to a strong defensive performance, and a stellar job by netminder Antonios Nikopolidis, who recorded three clean sheets, the Greeks were able to upset the hosts Portugal 1-0 to win their first, and only international trophy.

Since 2004, the Greek national team has never been able to replicate the same success that they had against Portugal, with their best international tournament finishes being a 4-2 loss to Germany in the 2012 Euro tournament, and a 5-3 loss in a penalty shootout to Costa Rica in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.