The Weirdest Superstitions In Sports

Humans are superstitious beings. Some of us avoid walking under ladders. Others turn away when a black cat is crossing the road. But few of us mortals can compete with pro athletes in this arena. Lucky socks, secret handshakes, gold thongs... Many of our favorite sporting legends have taken supertitions to a whole new level. Do these crazy pre-game rituals actually help them win? We may never know...

Serena Williams wouldn’t change her socks

Serena Williams is the most successful female tennis player in the Open Era in terms of Grand Slams. She won 23 of them, and only Margaret Court has won more overall. But despite her enormous talent, the American tennis legend has admitted to leaning on superstition to help her performance.

Whenever she was competing in one of the annual Grand Slam tournaments in Australia, France, England, or America, Williams would not change her socks once. Yes, that’s right: the tennis legend would wear a single pair for an entire tournament! And she pretty much invariably won, or at least “went deep.” It’s not the most hygienic thing to do, we’d suggest, but it clearly worked for her, so who are we to argue?

Steph Curry has a lucky pair of purple sneakers

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Steph Curry wouldn’t need any rituals or superstitions, given how darn good he is at playing basketball. But the Golden State Warriors hero is no different to other superstitious sportsmen: he has a specific pair of purple sneakers he wears for good luck.

These have become known as his “Purple Playoff Shoes’” by some, and when he wears them, the Warriors tend to win. It began in the 2022 postseason; Curry started wearing the shoes when the Warriors were 2-1 down to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, and they proceeded to turn it around by game six. He’s worn the Curry 4 Flowtros ever since, and the Warriors continue to flourish.

David Beckham had to have his fridge perfectly organized

David Beckham is one of the most famous soccer players ever. While he was not as talented as, say, Lionel Messi or Pele, Beckham transcended the sport in a way that few have. “Golden Balls” — as his Spice Girl wife Victoria nicknamed him — was noted for his bending free kicks, ever-changing hairstyles, and bizarre fashion statements. But the English soccer legend also had a weird superstition.

Beckham swore by a pre-game ritual that to us mere mortals might seem completely unrelated to good performance. He felt he couldn’t perform well unless he had painstakingly rearranged the fridge in his home, with no condiment placed without perfect symmetry. The essence of it seems to be that if this was not the case, then OCD-sufferer Beckham would not have been able to focus on the game fully. Instead, he’d have been obsessing over his disorganized fridge!

Wayne Gretzky rubbed baby powder on his hockey stick

It is almost unanimously accepted that Wayne Gretzky is the greatest ice hockey player of all time. But did you know that the Canadian had a really strange superstition before taking to the rink?

Yes, “The Great One” had a ritual for taking care of his hockey stick. The Hall-of-Famer carefully applied friction tape to the blade, before sprinkling baby powder on it, to ease the tape’s stickiness. He was also very particular about other sticks touching his. He once remarked that the baby powder was “essentially a matter of taking care of what takes care of you.”

Jason Giambi wore a golden thong to break out of a slump

Jason Giambi had a hugely successful career in baseball. For starters, he played first base for the most prestigious club of them all, the New York Yankees. Sorry, Red Sox and Cardinals fans. But when in a particularly bad slump in 2008 Giambi took to desperate — and frankly bizarre — measures.

Indeed, when stuck in that horrible hitting rut, Giambi began wearing a gold thong in a bid to get himself out of it. This strange superstition seemed to do the trick, improving his performance at the plate. Giambi later revealed this wasn’t the first time he had turned to golden lingerie to boost performance. Each to their own!

Usain Bolt ate 1,000 chicken nuggets during the 2008 Olympics

The stats say Usain Bolt is the greatest sprinter of all time. The Jamaican is an eight-time Olympic medalist and holds the world records for the 100 meters, 200 meters, and — jointly — the 4×100 meters relay. But did you know that during his record-breaking exploits at the Beijing 2008 Olympics he had a weird superstition?

Yes, during those Olympics Bolt only ate chicken nuggets from McDonalds. Approximately 100 a day, and around 1,000 of them in total. Why? Well, upon arrival, Bolt had eaten some Chinese food that had upset his stomach. So he decided to stick to what he knew, and food that he was sure wouldn’t make him sick. Fair to say that it worked, and McDonald’s — which is universally regarded by nutritionists and doctors as unhealthy food — somewhat incredibly powered the world’s best athlete to his record feats.

Laurent Blanc kissed teammate Fabien Barthez’s bald head

Laurent Blanc played a key role as his nation France secured their first soccer World Cup title in 1998. But the tall defender had an unusual ritual that he continued throughout the successful tournament played on home soil, which ended with a resounding 3-0 victory over the much-fancied Brazil in Paris.

Yes, for some reason Blanc decided it was lucky to kiss the bald head of his teammate, goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, prior to each match. And it is hard to argue with his belief in this bizarre superstition, given that France won their maiden World Cup. What’s more, Les Bleus followed that up by claiming their second European Championship two years later. Blanc and Barthez were again vital for France in Belgium and the Netherlands, with the head-kissing ritual continuing throughout that tournament too.

Brian Urlacher ate two cookies before each game

Retired NFL linebacker Brian Urlacher is a legend in the eyes of most Chicago Bears fans. Urlacher spent his whole career with the Bears, and he was as feared by opponents for his incredibly physical nature as he was adored by his own fans. Still, despite his almost unmatched physical presence, Urlacher had a strange pre-game superstition.

That ritual involved eating choc-chip cookies before every game. These were supplied by Tim Bream, the former Bears trainer. “Why? Because I liked them,’” Urlacher told The Chicago Tribune. Certainly didn’t do him any harm on the playing side, anyway.

NASCAR won’t sell peanuts with shells

NASCAR is a very dangerous sport in which lives can be lost in any given race. If a car crashes at high speed and, say, catches fire, that could spell the end for the driver. So, it should come as no surprise that the drivers — and indeed the sport — have certain superstitions.

One of the superstitions in the sport concerns peanuts. Yes, peanuts are not sold in their shells at a NASCAR event, as the snack is considered bad luck. This goes back to before World War II, when several slain drivers were found to have those kinds of peanuts in their ruined cars. Likewise, drivers never carry $50 bills in their shirt pockets, after the 1964 death of Joe Weatherby, who had two hidden away in his.

Caron Butler chewed on straws and drank liters of Mountain Dew

Caron Butler enjoyed a fine career in the NBA, turning out for numerous teams including the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, and Detroit Pistons, among others. But the talented forward had a couple of strange superstitions that he observed during his 14-year career.

The first one, which he began when he was a high-school player, saw him drink half of a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew before a game. Butler would then guzzle the rest of it at halftime. Eventually, he was barred from doing this by the Wizards for health and fitness reasons. Undeterred, Butler picked up another weird superstition: chewing straws from Burger King or McDonald’s. Not Wendy’s, cos that would be weird!. He would chew around 12 during a game, before also being stopped from doing this for his own good!

Alex Morgan puts on her uniform in a very specific way

Alex Morgan played a key role in two World Cup soccer victories for the USWNT in 2015 and 2019. So we can perhaps forgive her for having weird superstitions. The American hotshot has continued to observe the following ritual throughout her career, and it has undoubtedly served her very well.

Morgan always makes sure that she puts her right sock on before her left, and her left boot before her right one. What’s more, the Californian ties her left boot before her right, slips her left shin guard into her sock before her right one, then rolls her shorts over one time, makes sure she doesn’t tuck her jersey in, and finally pulls up her socks before folding them over to leave a little shin guard showing. Morgan follows this routine in the same order before every game.

Jerry Tarkanian chewed on a towel

You have to feel for Jerry Tarkanian: the late basketball coach was hugely successful in the NCAA, a league in which he coached for over five decades. Much of that success came with the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, with whom he won the 1990 National Championship.

But Tarkanian is most remembered for his eccentric behavior on the side of the court, in particular his ritual of chewing on a towel. Why did he do it? Well, in the sweaty high school gym in California, he needed a towel to keep cool, and he chewed on it between wipes of his brow to prevent it going dry. This quickly became a superstition, once he began associating the towel-chewing with excellent results.

Bo Jackson shot arrows in the locker room

Bo Jackson is a legendary figure in American sports, having starred in both baseball and football. He didn’t just compete in them either, but was named an All-Star in each of those completely different sports, the only person in history to achieve that distinction. But besides those two pursuits, another thing at which Jackson excelled was archery.

Yes, Jackson had a bizarre superstition he followed in the locker room before games for the Kansas City Royals, that got him in the zone: firing his bow and arrow. He told online publication American Outdoor News, “I just shot my bow and arrow in the locker room a lot. The players weren’t there. I get there early and just to relax. I would do the “William Tell” thing, where I go get an apple and set it on something and put an arrow through the apple.”

Marshawn Lynch ate Skittles before every game

Ex-Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is noted for his bizarre pre-game superstition that involved the popular candy Skittles. It originated from when he was playing in school, as his mom Delisa revealed to the Seahawks website.

Delisa said, “When Marshawn was 12 or 13, we’d go to his games and I’d always have little candies in my purse. Before the game, I would say, ’Here Marshawn, come and get your power pellets.’ I would give him a handful of Skittles and say, ’Eat ’em up, baby. They’re going to make you run fast and they’re going to make you play good.’” Of course, Lynch did play well: he made it to the NFL on his diet of pre-game Skittles. The story became so widely known that Hawks fans began throwing the candy to him from the stands!

Patrick Roy talked to his goalposts

Patrick Roy is one of the most celebrated goaltenders in NHL history: his “King of goaltenders” nickname attests to that. But the legendary Canadian — who turned out for the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche in a long and successful career — also had a bizarre superstition he indulged during games.

That superstition involved, erm, having conversations with his goal posts. Yes, Roy — who won four Stanley Cups — talked to the inanimate and far-from-sentient metal posts that made up his goal. When asked why, he repeatedly replied, “Because they are my friends.” Okay, Roy, whatever works for you. We suppose they were his friends on the occasions they stopped the puck going in!

Johan Cruyff punched his teammate and spat chewing gum out in a specific place

Although he never got his hands on the World Cup — his native Netherlands lost the 1974 final to West Germany — Johan Cruyff is still regarded as one the greatest soccer players of all time. The Dutchman won numerous European Cups as a player with Ajax and another with F.C. Barcelona as a manager, and he even had a piece of skill named after him: the Cruyff turn.

Despite his near-peerless ability, Cruyff had a strange set of superstitions he indulged in pre-match. Firstly, he would smack his Ajax teammate Gert Bals in the stomach before kick-off, then he would proceed to walk towards the opposition half to spit out his chewing gum at their end of the pitch. It seemed to work a treat much of the time: Cruyff won three European Cups in a row with Ajax from 1971-1973. And when he forgot to do it before the 1969 European Cup final with A.C. Milan, Ajax were walloped 4-1 by their Italian opponents.

Rafael Nadal habitually picks a wedgie

Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal is notorious for his superstitious nature. The in-game rituals of the multiple Grand Slam-winner are legendary, and in all honesty, kind of exhausting to watch repeatedly over a long match. USA Today has earmarked 19 of them. So, here goes with some of the most eye-catching ones.

Firstly, Nadal walks out with a single racket in his hand, then puts his bag down on the bench and his tournament ID facing upwards on his chair. When on court, the Spaniard jumps at the coin toss, and makes sure to only cross the lines with his right foot. And he constantly picks his shorts and underwear out of his backside before serving, and he always places his water bottles in a particular formation. Phew!

LeBron James does a secret handshake with each teammate

As one of the greatest basketball players of all time — a man who is almost unstoppable at his best — LeBron James surely doesn’t need any weird pre-game superstitions to give him confidence. He might not, but the “Akron Hammer” has several anyway, that he has followed throughout his storied career.

Firstly, before the tipoff, James throws chalk up in the air and claps his hands, something he copied off Kevin Garnett. He then proceeds to give handshakes with each of his teammates, each of them unique to them. After bagging four NBA titles and becoming the leading points-scorer in the league’s history, who are we to argue with King James?

Julio Cesar Chavez wore a red bandana

Iconic boxer Julio Cesar Chavez became as notable to boxing fans for his red bandana as his ferocious punching power and granite chin. The story of how the legendary Mexican pugilist came to wear that bandana is interesting, and shows that despite his considerable self-confidence and iron resolve, he was superstitious himself.

Chavez began to wear the red bandana in November 1987 on the night that he faced Edwin Rosario, the WBA lightweight champion. Rosario had attempted to get the upper hand on Chavez by bringing a witch doctor to the pre-fight press conference, who had proceeded to cast a spell on the Mexican. Worried, one of Chavez’s team gave him the red bandana, ostensibly to repel any evil spirits. It certainly worked for that fight, a brutal TKO win, as well as for many others after: Chavez wouldn’t lose until his 91st professional fight in 1994.

Raymond Domenech refused to pick Scorpios

Eccentric soccer coach and former player Raymond Domenech coached his native France from 2004 until 2010. Whilst he enjoyed a degree of success in the role — leading his nation to the 2006 World Cup final which they only lost to Italy on penalties — his tenure in charge of Les Bleus was marked by controversy and strange behavior.

Yes, the superstitious and astrology-obsessed Frenchman would seemingly avoid picking players who were Scorpios, deeming them as bad eggs, personality-wise. This spelled the end for talented players such as Arsenal’s Robert Pires. Domenech favored the less-talented Sebastian Squillaci, allegedly on the basis that he was a Leo. The madcap manager also inexplicably decided to propose to his girlfriend live on TV, the same night France had just been eliminated in embarrassing fashion from Euro 2008, finishing bottom of their group.

Larry Walker did everything in multiples of three

In his prime, Larry Walker was an elite baseball player. In 1997 the Canadian Hall-of-Famer had his best individual season, winning the National League’s MVP award with some insane personal stats. But Walker also had some unusual superstitions. As it turned out, the now-retired Canadian right fielder was completely obsessed with the number three.

This was such an important thing for Walker that he tried to do everything in multiples of three. For example, he always took three practice swings before hitting, and donned the No. 33 squad number on his back. But it didn’t stop there: no, far from it. Walker also set his alarm clock to go off on 33 minutes past the hour, got married on November 3rd at 3:33 p.m., and when he turned out for Montreal Expos even purchased tickets for 33 disadvantaged children, in Section 333 of their stadium. Wow!

Tiger Woods marks his ball with a 1932 quarter and carries his tees a certain way

Many pundits and indeed fans consider Tiger Woods to be the greatest golfer in the sport’s long history. Certainly, at his peak, Woods was nearly unstoppable. How much of this was down to his superstitions though, is open to question. Still, the American indulges in quite a few.

Firstly, Woods marks his golf balls with a 1932 quarter, in a nod to the birth year of his late father Earl, who Woods said “taught me to putt.” Also, doing this makes Woods feel that his dad is always with him when he plays. The golf legend also carries a specific number of tees — three — and places them only in his right pocket. Meanwhile, his front-left pocket is where his pin sheet goes, and his yardage book sits in his back-right one. To avoid cracked or chapped lips, Woods always packs a Chapstick in his front-left pocket, too. 

Eddie Belfour threatened his teammates if they touched his equipment

Former Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Eddie Belfour was renowned for his crazy antics on and off the ice rink. These earned him the nickname “Crazy Eddie,” and the man considered one of the best goaltenders in NHL history also had a number of superstitions to which he stuck.

Firstly, Belfour would always wear a face mask to play, and he was incredibly superstitious about anyone touching his equipment. If that happened, he feared he couldn’t perform to his best. Any teammates — or indeed opponents — guilty of breaking that rule would be in line for a smack from the fiery Canadian. Ouch!

Ronaldo refuses to touch trophies

Alongside his bitter rival Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most-revered player of the modern soccer era. The Portuguese native has scooped a multitude of major titles with the likes of Manchester United, Juventus, and Real Madrid, and he won the European Championships with Portugal in 2016.

But although he has won a slew of silverware, CR7 — the nickname a combination of his initials and his preferred shirt number — has a superstition when it comes to trophies. Yes, Ronaldo makes sure not to give in to any temptation and touch the trophy he is contesting before a final, or at an official competition launch or something. The Portuguese remarked, “I never touch the trophies, never. It brings you bad luck.” 

Andre Agassi went permanently commando after winning a big match

Andre Agassi was one of the best tennis players of the 1990s and early 2000s. The American won eight Grand Slam titles in total, but it was during the one he won at Roland Garros in 1999 that Agassi began a pretty weird superstition. Yes, during the French Open of that year, Agassi somehow forgot to put his underwear on before a match.

Yet with that extra freedom under his shorts perhaps giving him the edge, Agassi won. So, the American decided to continue to go commando throughout the rest of the tournament, and duly won his first and only French Open title against Ukrainian Andrei Medvedev. Agassi continued with his boxer-less superstition until his 2006 retirement, winning a further four Grand Slams.

Turk Wendell wore a necklace of animal teeth and brushed his teeth in the dugout

Baseball star Turk Wendell has been labeled “the most superstitious athlete of all time” by magazine Men’s Journal, and with good reason. Indeed, the retired former Chicago Cubs and New York Mets relief pitcher had a number of superstitions that he followed religiously. To begin with, Wendell always wore the number 99 on his jersey, but his love of the number didn’t stop there: he ensured that the figures on every contract he ever received ended with a 99.

Besides a devotion to the number 99, Wendel wore an oversized necklace consisting of the teeth of animals he had hunted and killed, including lions and wild boars. Finally, whenever he was on the mound pitching, Wendell made sure he had exactly four pieces of licorice in his mouth. Then, when the inning had finished, Wendell would take a larger-than-life leap over the foul line, and go to the dugout to brush his teeth. Mad as a hatter!

Sergio Goycocheca had a pee before every penalty kick he faced

Unless you are a devoted soccer fan, then you might not have heard of Sergio Goycocheca. An Argentinian goalkeeper who represented his country at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, Goycocheca developed a weird and frankly kinda gross superstition during it. Yes, Goycocheca would, ahem, relieve himself on the field before each penalty kick that he faced. And in that particular tournament, when defenses reigned supreme, that was quite a few.

Indeed, in their run to the final, Argentina had to face penalty shootouts twice, in the quarter-final with Yugoslavia, and again in the semi-final against hosts Italy: they triumphed both times. Goycocheca had felt the need to pee before the shootout with Yugoslavia. Feeling it brought him luck, he repeated the same ritual against Italy. Unfortunately for Argentina, their defensive-minded team couldn’t quite drag the final against West Germany to spot-kicks, instead losing to an 85th-minute Andreas Brehme goal. And yes, that was a penalty, too.

Detroit Red Wings fans throw octopuses on the ice

It’s not just sports stars who have weird superstitions: fans are also prone to having unusual rituals they perform, in the belief that they bring their team luck. Take Detroit Red Wings fans, for instance. Supporters of this NHL team have a tradition of throwing octopus carcasses on the ice. Yes, really. That tradition goes back to 1952; it is often referred to as “The Legend of the Octopus” in the media.

During that year, one fan threw a dead octopus onto the rink in a play-off game, supposedly to represent the eight victories that the Red Wings needed to bring the Stanley Cup to Detroit. After that event, the Red Wings went on to win that coveted trophy, and ever since, supporters have deemed this weird act as being good luck. Pity the poor cleaning crew at the Little Caesars Arena, who have to deal with a deluge of octopuses every year!

Jason Terry wore five pairs of socks whilst playing

Former Dallas Mavericks star Jason “the Jet” Terry was an effective shooting guard for 19 seasons in the NBA. Perhaps his success came from his range of superstitions, which made him perhaps the most superstitious player in the entire league.

To begin with, Terry always made sure he wore five socks on each foot whilst he was playing, and he routinely ate chicken before a game. But most weirdly, Terry would wear the shorts of the next team he was going to face as he slept. This not surprisingly took a lot of effort, but his fellow players or staff at the team helped him out.

Paul Ince took the field last and wouldn’t put his shirt on until he was in the tunnel

Soccer player Paul Ince enjoyed a successful career in the game, playing for the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, and Inter Milan. The man nicknamed “The Guv’nor” also represented his native England at two European Championships and a World Cup.

Perhaps the Englishman’s success was partly down to his weird superstition, which saw him ensure he was the last player to enter the pitch behind all his teammates, as well as the opposition players and the match officials. What’s more, Ince would never put his shirt on until he was in the tunnel. He later revealed this was to avoid getting it sweaty while warming up. But after his team won the first time he’d done it, Ince carried the tradition on throughout the rest of his career.

Kevin Rhomberg had to touch someone back if they touched him

Kevin Rhomberg’s career in top-level baseball was a brief one: he played just 41 games for the Cleveland Indians between 1982 and 1984. Although he had a decent batting average, the left fielder is primarily remembered for his highly superstitious nature.

Yes, if someone touched, or brushed past Rhomberg, whether an opponent or a teammate, he immediately felt he had to touch them back. Unfortunately for him, this compulsion became widely known, leading to opponents deliberately touching him and basically making his life a nightmare. As well as that, Rhomberg would never make a right turn on the diamond. Why? Apparently it was because when you’re running bases, you’re only turning left.

John Henderson got slapped in the face before each game

Nicknamed “Big John” or “Big Hen,” John Henderson had a fearsome reputation in the NFL. The defensive tackle turned out for the Jacksonville Jaguars for a decade, striking fear into opponents with his size and power. But did you know Henderson had a weird ritual to get him in the mood for battle?

This ritual involved getting slapped hard across the face before every game. Yes, really. Henderson enlisted the Jaguars assistant trainer to throw a full-force slap across his chops to get him psyched for battle. The Jags coach must have been assured that Henderson would never respond in kind, or it could have got ugly in the locker room!

Les Miles ate grass from the field

Les Miles was a well-known and highly regarded college football coach who is now retired. Nicknamed “The Mad Hatter” for his signature white cap, Miles is best-known for his stint at Louisiana State University, with whom he won the BCS National Championship Game. And he also became famous for superstitiously eating grass.

Once, when Miles was asked about his unusual match-day dietary addition, he said, “I have a little tradition that humbles me as a man, that lets me know that I’m a part of the field and part of the game. You should have seen some games before this. I can tell you one thing: The grass in Tiger Stadium tastes best.” Erm, Okay, Coach Miles: we’ll take your word for it!

Chelsea players all shared one urinal

Though they have not had the best few years, Chelsea F.C. have been one of the most successful teams in English and European soccer over the last two decades. During that period of success they were led by players such as their captain John Terry, and senior figures Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. Those players — of whom Terry was perhaps the most superstitious — developed a weird ritual before every home match.

When Terry and Lampard peed in the left urinal before a home game that Chelsea won, a superstition developed where they and other players would only use that particular urinal. The superstition got so ridiculous, that the whole team were queuing up before the match to use that urinal, causing the kick-off for several matches to be delayed and angering referees!

Baseball players won’t mention a potential no-hitter

There’s a well-known superstition in baseball that is adhered to by almost all of its players. This occurs when a pitcher on the team is throwing a perfect game, i.e. a no-hitter. Players on that team will know they need to keep schtum, and not mention how the game is going. In fact they will often proceed to totally blank the pitcher for fear of jinxing them.

A famous example of this superstition occurred during the 1956 World Series. That final saw the New York Yankees take on local rivals the Brooklyn Dodgers. Yankees pitcher Don Larsen was having a blinder in Game Five, and as a result saw himself given the silent treatment by his teammates. He sat alone in the dugout between innings, as his teammates were terrified of jinxing his perfect game. Larsen later quipped that he had never felt lonelier in his life, but perhaps his teammates were right to ignore him, as he achieved what remains the only perfect game in World Series history.

Björn Borg grew a beard for Wimbledon

Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg was renowned for his ice-cold nerve on the court, which was particularly noticeable when he was facing someone fiery who was trying to get under his skin. Yes we’re looking at you, John McEnroe! But although the “Ice Man” had an incredible talent that could sometimes make him near-impossible to beat, he was still oddly superstitious.

Borg’s superstition only concerned one tournament, though. And that was the biggest of them all: Wimbledon. For this Grand Slam grass event, the Swede prepared by cultivating a beard in time for the first round. Borg would also sport the same Fila shirt during the tournament. It’s fair to say that this worked, as the Swede won a then-record five straight Wimbledon titles from 1976 to 1980.

Richie Ashburn slept with his baseball bats

Richie Ashburn had a highly distinguished career in baseball. “The Tilden Flash” led the way in many stats, such as put-outs and batting; his greatness was such that he was named an All-Star player no fewer than four times. Yet Ashburn was still very superstitious.

Yes, whenever the former Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and New York Mets star went through a bad streak at the plate — which was not often — he had a particular ritual that he undertook. Ashburn would take his bat home with him, tuck it up in his bed, and sleep with it. This was presumably to build an intimate connection with his bat, and perhaps it was also to ensure it didn’t get mixed up with inferior ones at the stadium.

Greg Swindell bit off a fingernail and munched on it

Greg Swindell starred as a left-handed pitcher in the MLB for 17 years. He turned out for the likes of the Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians, and the Cincinnati Reds, and he won the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Having a career in the MLB for that long clearly requires a lot of talent, but also for Swindell, there was a highly unusual superstition that he used to help him along.

Yes, to bring him good fortune, Swindell bit off one of his fingernails before a game, and kept it in his mouth during the game. Given the sheer number and regularity of games baseball players play, and the slow speed at which nails grow back, Swindell must have had a pretty interesting and meticulously planned nail-biting regimen.

Juan Manuel Marquez drank his own urine

Legendary boxer Juan Manuel Marquez enjoyed a Hall-of-Fame-worthy career in the sport of boxing. In his 21 years as a professional, Marquez won world titles in four weight classes, was never knocked out, and traded blows with the likes of Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather.

Yet the Mexican had a really weird and disgusting superstition: one that might make you gag just reading it. You see, during camp, Marquez would routinely drink his own urine. Yuck! When questioned on it, he said it was a good way of replenishing his system with the vitamins and other nutrients he lost through peeing. Okay, Juan Manuel, whatever works for you!

Michael Jordan always wore his college shorts under his uniform

Michael Jordan should need little or no introduction. After all, he is almost indisputably regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, and in contention for being called the number-one sportsman. His success with the Chicago Bulls made him an icon, as well as a marketing dream. Still, despite being just way better than everyone else, Jordan had a unique superstition of his own.

Yes, His Air-ness always wore his old University of North Carolina shorts under his Bulls ones for good luck. After all, wearing those shorts had got Jordan to where he was. This is why, early in his career, it is noticeable that he wore longer shorts than other players. Jordan continued to don these lucky powder-blue shorts throughout his entire storied career.