Trevor Bayne, at 20 years old has become the youngest Daytona 500 winner at 20 years old. A bright future on the NASCAR circuit with fame, money, and sponsorships await this young man. Or does it? Sometimes young sports winners never duplicate their earlier successes, and fade into obscurity. Here’s 5 examples…
1) Lonnie Clayton – Kentucky Derby winner. Little Lonnie Clayton won Horse racing’s most prestigious event at 15 years old, then faded into obscurity… I mean, you never heard of him, right? A few years after his big win, he was arrested for allegedly fixing a race. Although acquitted, his reputation was destroyed and his career ruined. He attempted a few comebacks, but never won another race. Lonnie’s could not use social media like Facebook and Twitter to get his message out and counter the false allegations because he won that Kentucky Derby in 1892.
2) Mike Tyson – Heavyweight Boxing Champion. In 1986 at 20 years and four months, Mike Tyson knocked out Trevor Berbick in the second round of their championship bout and was never heard from again.
3) Tiger Woods – The Masters Golf Tournament. At 21 years of age, Woods became the youngest Masters winner in 1997. After the win, Woods underwent radical cosmetic surgery and changed his name to Charlie Sheen, made a popular TV sitcom, and has had nothing but problems since. Charlie Sheen also underwent radical cosmetic surgery, changed his name to Tiger Woods, made a few popular golf video games, and also has had nothing but problems since.
4) Dwight Gooden -1985 Cy Young Award, Baseball. At 20 years old, “Dr. K” Dwight Gooden became the youngest Cy Young Award winning pitcher in MLB history. Unfortunately, that was the year that in addition to a beautiful trophy, the winner also received 50 kilos of cocaine as a prize (hey, it was 1985, they didn’t know how bad cocaine was back then). Bad timing for Doc. Sure he kicked around for a few more years, and actually threw a no-hitter in 1996, but it really doesn’t count because it was with the Yankees, and I hate the Yankees.
5) Roy E. Munson – Iowa State Amateur Bowling Champion, 1979. Roy Munson had a bright future ahead of him after winning the Iowa State Amateur Bowling Championship in 1979, but soon after fell in with the wrong crowd and suffered an “accident” and lost his hand. Even bowling legend “Big Ern” McCracken (a solid citizen and a helluva nice guy) selfless mentoring couldn’t save Munson from his self-destructive tendencies. To this day, in the Midwest, to “have the world at your feet and blow it” is referred to as “pulling a Munson”.