Special Report

Youngest Athletes to Dominate Their Sport

Source: Jonathan Daniel / Allsport Mandatory Credit / Getty Images

16. Shaquille O’Neal
> Age: 21
> Season: 1993-1994
> Team: Orlando Magic
> Achievement(s): 59.9% shooting, All-Star

Shaquille O’Neal was seen as a can’t-miss prospect out of college. And once he made it to the NBA, he rarely missed his shots. In his second season, the Big Diesel led the NBA with a 59.9% field goal percentage and averaged 29.3 points per game. Since he was over seven feet tall at just 21, O’Neal was able to overpower more experienced opponents, grabbing 13.2 rebounds per game as well.

Source: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

17. Sidney Crosby
> Age: 19
> Season: 2006-2007
> Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
> Achievement(s): Hart Trophy, Ross Trophy, All-Star

Sidney Crosby more than lived up to his pre-draft hype. After scoring 102 points in his rookie year, he continued to improve. By year two, at just age 19, Crosby was the NHL’s best player. He scored a league-leading 120 points — 36 goals and 84 assists — and won the Hart Trophy as the NHL MVP.

Source: Bowman Gum / Wikimedia Commons

18. Stan Musial
> Age: 22
> Season: 1943
> Team: St. Louis Cardinals
> Achievement(s): MVP, led MLB in hits and batting average

Stan Musial’s 1943 season was one of the most dominant in baseball history. At 22, Musial had 220 hits, 48 doubles, 20 triples, a .357 batting average, and a .425 on-base percentage — all of which led the majors. The Cardinals outfielder made his first All-Star team and won his first of three MVPs. This would establish him as one of the best hitters of all time and a surefire Hall of Famer.

Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

19. Steven Stamkos
> Age: 19
> Season: 2009-2010
> Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
> Achievement(s): Richard Trophy

In 2010, Steven Stamkos became just the second teenage hockey player to lead the NHL in goals scored in a season. The 19-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning center was in just his second season when he scored 51 times to win the Richard Trophy. Stamkos would go on to lead the NHL in goals again in the 2011-2012 season.

Source: Brian Bahr / Getty Images

20. Tom Barrasso
> Age: 18
> Season: 1983-1984
> Team: Buffalo Sabres
> Achievement(s): Calder Trophy, Vezina Trophy, All-Star

Tom Barrasso mastered the position of NHL goaltender faster than any other player in history. In his first season, when he was just 18, Barrasso allowed just 2.85 goals per game with an 89.3% save percentage. For this performance, he won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie, as well as the Vezina Trophy as top goalie. To this day, Barrasso remains the youngest player to win the Vezina by several years. He would go on to win two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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