Rookie Road

Hello Readers!

Given the goings on at the Test Match today with Rishabh Pant getting his Maiden Test century in thrilling fashion. The 20-year-old hit the England Bowlers all around the ground, getting to triple figures with a 6. Sam Curran, a fellow rookie came away with England’s man of the series. So it got us to thinking, what are the other best performances from young players that thrust them onto the scene?

Michael Owen

We all remember this one (if you were alive) the world cup in 1998. Owen was taken to the squad as the 3rd or even 4th choice striker (Think Theo Walcott but better). In the Second Round match Owen started, he picked up a long ball and ran at the Argentine defence and they couldn’t handle him. Owen chipped Carlos Roa and a star was born (Seriously, that does not do the goal justice look that up). Owen may not have won the golden boot, but that goal set the world alight.


1958, a 17 year old that no one had heard of was on the way to becoming one of the greatest footballers in history. Pele started the tournament injured, missing the first few games but were he truly shone was the semi-final. His Brazil team were 2-1 against France when at halftime. Pele scored a second-half hat-trick and to this day is still the youngest person to do so at a World Cup. Over 1000 goals later, including 2 in the final. Pele is the greatest goal scorer the game has ever seen and one of the best to lace up his boots.

Wilt Chamberlin

Whereas the first two on his list are over a shorter space of time Wilt did it over a season. Picked in the 1959 Draft, Chamberlin had the greatest rookie season the NBA has ever seen. For starters, as a rookie, he was the highest paid player in the league. In his first game, he bagged 43 points and 28 rebounds, people knew then they were watching a Star in the making. The numbers speak for themselves at the end of this rookie year Wilt had 2102 points, averaging at over 36 a game and picked up the MVP as well as Rookie of the year. The feet has only ever been done once since then. The Hall of Famer and the possible GOAT was incredible from first stepping on the court.

Gale Sayers

Simply put, this mad had the greatest rookie game in NFL history end of. He was a first-round pick in both the AFL and NFL. He chose the Chicago Bears. Finishing his Rookie season with 2,272 all-purpose yards but his crowning moment came on December 12th against the 49’ers. Sayers scored six touchdowns and racked up 326 all-purpose yards. Proving his all of fame calibre early.

Shoeless Joe Jackson

Now his career was tainted by the “Blacksocks Scandal” which we will cover in more detail later. Now, this was waaaaay back and yes he did marry a 15-year-old (he was a good player, not a good person). He will never make it to the call of fame for off the field reasons, But in 1911 aged just 23 Jackson was the league MVP with 226 hits and 90 RBIs both of which were league records at the time.

Alex Ovechkin

Now he has his Stanley Cup, Ovi has the whole set for a Hall of Fame Player and it all started so well. In his rookie year, Ovechkin dominated the league, scoring 106 with 52 goals taking the Calder Trophy, beating constant rival Sidney Crosby, he was also third league-wide in scoring. He crashed 425 shots on net, claiming the record for most shots in a season from an NHL rookie.

Teemu Selanne

Teemu is the greatest rookie Goalscorer in the history of the NHL. His record will never be broken, he scored a huge 76 goals after moving from Finland taking the Calder Trophy in the process. In his first 12 games, he had 11 goals, which was also a record for a rookie. He finished the 5th overall scoring in the league, breaking the rookie record for points with 132.

Who have we missed off? What other rookie sensations who went on to have great careers should we have on our list? Comment, Email or Tweet us @unlikelydanblog

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