Special Report

Greatest Rookies of All Time

Source: Sport Magazine Archives / Wikimedia Commons

14. Oscar Robertson
> League: NBA
> Rookie season: 1960-61
> Team: Cincinnati Royals
> Statistics: 30.5 points per game, 10.1 rebounds per game

Oscar Robertson, the man who became known as “Mr. Triple Double,” proved early on he could fill up a stat sheet. Robertson averaged 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, and a league-leading 9.7 assists his rookie year. The “Big O” redefined what a point guard could do on the court, and he dominated the game for 14 years, winning just about every award possible and making the Hall of Fame.

Source: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

13. Albert Pujols
> League: MLB
> Rookie season: 2001
> Team: St. Louis Cardinals
> Statistics: .329 average, 37 home runs, 130 RBI

Albert Pujols began his Hall of Fame-caliber career with a bang in 2001. The St. Louis Cardinals first baseman burst onto the scene hitting .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs. That would be the first of his 10 consecutive seasons batting at least .312 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.

Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

12. Peter Stastny
> League: NHL
> Rookie season: 1980-81
> Team: Quebec Nordiques
> Statistics: 39 goals, 70 assists

If not for Wayne Gretzky, Peter Stastny’s name would be all over the rookie record books. Stastny tallied 109 points his rookie year, then the second highest total for a first-year player behind only Gretzky’s 137-point debut the previous season. Stastny was especially dangerous on the power play, scoring 11 goals and 21 assists with a man advantage. Stastny would go on to have six more 100-point seasons and make the Hall of Fame.

Source: Scott Halleran / Getty Images

11. Dwight Gooden
> League: MLB
> Rookie season: 1984
> Team: New York Mets
> Statistics: 2.60 ERA, 276 Strikeouts, 17-9 record

Dwight Gooden was an instant star when he broke into the Major Leagues with the New York Mets in 1984. He shattered the rookie strikeout record with 276 punchouts. Gooden seemed poised to have one of the greatest pitching careers ever, making four All-Star teams in his first five seasons as well as winning a Cy Young and a World Series. But his pitching suffered as he battled injuries and personal issues such as substance abuse. He pitched until 2000, but his best years all came during the 1980s.

Source: Adam Bettcher / Getty Images

10. Randy Moss
> League: NFL
> Rookie season: 1998
> Team: Minnesota Vikings
> Statistics: 1,313 receiving yards, 17 touchdowns

When Randy Moss entered the NFL in 1998, he was bold, brash, and absolutely unguardable, largely due to his 6-foot-4 frame. Moss teamed up with quarterback Randall Cunningham to terrorize NFL defenses. Moss recorded an NFL-leading 17 touchdowns and 1,313 receiving yards his first season, earning the first All-Pro spot of his Hall of Fame career.