1. Yankees Pitchers Mike Kekich and Fritz Peterson Swap Families
This one is the king of all WTF: Two New York Yankees pitchers in the ’70s decided to take swinging to the next level when they TRADED FAMILIES. The four were close and would often spend time together, until one day one of them must have joked, in that way that everyone knows isn’t a joke, “We should just trade lives!” and three other adult human beings all decided that that was a great idea. My favorite part of this story is that Peterson fleeced Kekich in the trade. Peterson is still with Kekich’s ex-wife Susanne, while Kekich and Marilyn Peterson’s relationship fell apart shortly thereafter. The moral? The ’70s were weird and scary.
2. O.J. Simpson Runs from the Cops After His Ex-Wife Is Murdered
You know the story at this point. One of the most famous and beloved athletes in the world, O.J. Simpson, is accused of killing his wife and her boyfriend. Four days after the killing, the LAPD allows Simpson to turn himself in. Instead he gets in The White Ford Bronco and tries to run, leading to the most surreal low-speed car chase in television history. And then despite the fact that he tried to run, and an overwhelming amount of evidence, he is acquitted of the crime — before being found “responsible” for the deaths in civil court. And he later writes a book called If I Did It describing the “hypothetical” murder in detail. And then goes to jail in the end anyway because he robbed a sports-memorabilia dealer at gunpoint in Las Vegas. All this actually happened.
3. Manti Te’o Has a Fake Dead Girlfriend
It’s too early to tell exactly how high on this list Te’o will end up, but he and “Lennay Kekua” (there have never been more telling quotation marks than those around her name) have already moved up this far. We still don’t know what happened, and depending on what part of the story you look at, you can be totally convinced of different theories. The tweets about the hoax that were sent months before it was revealed seem to point to an innocent Te’o who was duped. But Te’o’s strange, fishy interview with Sports Illustrated seems to imply that he’s hiding something and may have been in on the whole thing. It’s a rare story where every single possible explanation still sounds like an insane conspiracy theory. This one still has a shot at the title before all is said and done.
4. Tonya Harding Hires Goons to Attack Her Biggest Rival
Tonya Harding’s ex-husband and her bodyguard hired a guy to break Nancy Kerrigan’s leg in the days leading up to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1994. The man hired to perpetrate the act, Shane Stant, hit Kerrigan with a tire iron IN THE ARENA WHERE THE EVENT WAS TO TAKE PLACE! Harding denied involvement in the attacks, something her ex and bodyguard disputed, but she did plead guilty to the cover-up. The “W” in this WTF is for “white trash.”
5. Joe Paterno Willfully Ignores His Defensive Coordinator’s Sexual Abuse of Children
This story is the saddest of the bunch. Who knew that one of the noblest of all figures in sports history was actually anything but?
6. Jarrod Wyatt, MMA Murderer, Eats Someone’s Heart
Let’s let the AP tell this story of an MMA fighter who lost hold of reality during a drug trip with his friend and sparring partner.
When police arrived on March 21, 2010 at a home at the mouth of the Klamath River, they found Wyatt naked and covered in blood. He told the officers, “I killed him,” and said he had cut out [Taylor] Powell’s heart and tongue, according to court documents.
The officers found Powell’s body on the couch. His chest was cut open, and his heart, tongue and the skin of his face were gone, court records said. His heart was found charred in a wood-burning stove.
An autopsy determined the organs had been removed while Powell was still alive, the documents said.
Witnesses said the two ingested hallucinogenic mushrooms before the attack and believed they were involved in a struggle between God and the devil. Wyatt was reportedly convinced that the world was about to end and that Powell was the devil.
I have no desire to eat mushrooms anymore.
7. Monica Seles Is Stabbed on the Court
In 1993, the biggest female tennis star in the world was stabbed by a fan of one of her rivals (Steffi Graf), who ran onto the court. She wouldn’t play again for over two years. The fan didn’t serve any jail time, ostensibly due to his fragile mental health.
8. Mike Tyson Bites Off Evander Holyfield’s Ear
By the time Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear, he had already been convicted of rape, spent three years in prison, and converted to Islam*. THEN HE BIT OFF SOMEONE’S EAR! If anyone else had committed this act, it would’ve been higher on the list. But there is only so surprised you can be by Mike Tyson.
*Converting to Islam is not inherently a WTF moment. Mike Tyson (of all people) claiming to find religion is, as evidenced by all the craziness that has happened SINCE he bit off a man’s ear.
9. Dock Ellis Threw a No-Hitter While on LSD
The video is self-explanatory.
10. Jason Grimsley Climbed Through a Ventilation System to Free Albert Belle’s Confiscated Bat
In a 1994 game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox, the White Sox challenged Indians star Albert Belle’s use of a particular bat, claiming it was corked. The home plate umpire confiscated the bat and put it in his locker to be examined after the game. At that point the Indians panicked. They knew the bat was corked. So they sent pitcher Jason Grimsley through the ventilation system and into the umpires’ locker room with a non-corked bat (belonging to Paul Sorrento, as all of Belle’s bats were corked). He got away with the switch, but the umpires knew something was up. Why? Because the bat had Paul Sorrento’s name on it. Baseball’s dumbest version of Ocean’s 11 ever.
11. Tiger Woods Crashes His Car While Trying to Escape His Allegedly Golf Club–Wielding Wife
Remember when the most boring athlete in the world became the most interesting overnight, due to a string of infidelities that his wife angrily discovered on Thanksgiving? Me too. That was great.