Alcoholic athletes? Of course. Athletes are people, and alcoholism cuts across society. It doesn’t respect occupation, race, income, or other demographics. (Be sure to visit Famous Alcoholics and Alcoholic Musicians.)
I. List of Alcoholic Athletes
Perhaps you’ll be surprised at some of the names. Please see the disclaimer note at the end of this page. Now on to the list of alcoholic athletes!
I. List of Alcoholic Athletes
Tony Adams. Center-back football (soccer) player. Captain of Arsenal and England teams. Manages Gabela FC .
André the Giant. (Known as Jean Ferre in Quebec.) French wrestler and world tag team champion. (Birth name André René Roussimoff.)
Tai Babilonia. Pair ice skater with Randy Gardner. Five U.S. Figure Skating Championships. International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Champion.
Jerry D. Bailey. Jockey. Won 5,893 races. National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame. Thoroughbred horse racing commentator.
Oksana Baiul. Ukrainian figure skater. ISU World Figure Skating Champion. Olympic champion in ladies’ singles.
Charles Barkley. Basketball player. Named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. TV basketball analyst.
Boris Becker. German tennis player. World No. 1 professional tennis player. Olympic gold medalist in doubles.
George Best. Football (soccer) winger. Manchester United and the Northern Ireland national team. European Footballer of the Year in 1968. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
Vida Blue. Baseball pitcher. Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, and Kansas City Royals. Cy Young Award and MVP.
Wade Boggs. Third baseman baseball player. Primarily with the Boston Red Sox, but also the New York Yankees, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Baseball Hall of Fame.
David Boon. Australian right-handed batsman international cricket player. Umpire, and cricket commentator.
Miguel (“Miggy”) Cabrera. Venezuelan first baseman. Played for the Detroit Tigers. (Birth name José Miguel Cabrera Torres).
Ken Caminiti. Third baseman baseball player. Fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball. National League MVP with San Diego in 1996, and member of the Padres Hall of Fame.
Cris Carter. Wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings and the Miami Dolphins. (Birth name Graduel Christopher Darin Carter).
Gary Charles. English right-back football (soccer) player. Played with Nottingham Forest, Derby Country and Aston Villa. Capped twice for England.and was capped twice for England. Manager of Nuneaton Town.
Maurice Clarett. Running back football player. Played for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League and the Denver Broncos of the National Football League.
John Daly, golfer. Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour. Daly became the first PGA Tour player to average more than 300 yards per drive over a full season.
“Ryne” Duren. American relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. Known for the combination of his blazing fastball and his very poor vision. (Birth name Rinold George Duren.)
Brett Favre. quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). First NFL quarterback to pass for 500 touchdowns, throw for 70,000 yards, complete 6,000 passes, and attempt 10,000 passes.
Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff. International cricketer. A leading fast bowler, middle order batsman, and slip fielder. TV and radio commentator.
Garrincha. (Birth name Manuel Francisco dos Santos.) However, nicknamed Mané Garrincha, but best known as simply Garrincha. Brazilian right winger and forward football (soccer) player. Part of Brazil’s World Cup winning teams in 1958 and 1962.
Paul Gascoigne. (Nickname “Gazza”.) English midfielder football (soccer) player and manager. Earned 57 caps. The National Football Museum: He is “widely recognised as the most naturally talented English footballer of his generation”.
Dwight Gooden. (Nicknames “Doc” and “Dr. K”.) Baseball pitcher in Major League Baseball for 16 seasons. Pitched for the New York Mets, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Jimmy Greaves. International football (soccer) forward. England’s fourth highest international goalscorer, Tottenham Hotspur’s highest ever goalscorer, the highest goalscorer in the history of English top-flight football, and has scored more hat-tricks for England than anyone else. Finished as the First Division‘s top scorer in six seasons. English Football Hall of Fame.
Josh Hamilton. Baseball outfielder. Played in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Five-time MLB All-Star. Won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 2010.Ricky Hatton
Doug Harvey, baseball umpire in the National League for 30 years (1962-1992). His authoritative command of baseball rules earned him the nickname “God” from players.
Ricky Hatton. British boxer. Holder of multiple world championships. Ranked by BoxRec as the best British light-welterweight of all time, the third best in Europe, and eleventh best worldwide. In 2005 he was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine, the Boxing Writers Association of America, and ESPN.
Steve Howe. Relief pitcher baseball player. Twelve seasons in Major League Baseball. Played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.
James Hunt. British race car driver. Won the Formula One World Championship. Media car racing commentator.
Allen Iverson. Shooting guard and point guard basketball player. Eleven-time NBA All-Star, All-Star game MVP award twice, NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2001. Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
“Sugar” Ray Leonard. Boxer. world titles in five weight divisions. Lineal championship in three weight divisions. First boxer to earn over $100 million in purses. Olympic Games gold metal in boxing. Boxing Hall of Fame.
Mickey Mantle. Center fielder, right fielder and first baseman baseball player. The greatest switch hitter in baseball. National Baseball Hall of Fame and elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Malcolm Macdonald. English football (soccer) player, manager, and commentator. Played for Fulham, Luton Town, Newcastle United, Arsenal and England. Newcastle United’s fifth highest goalscorer of all time. Won England’s Golden Boot with both Newcastle and Arsenal.
Diego Maradona, Argentine football (soccer) player and manager. Many people consider him the greatest football player in history (Nickname “The Golden Boy.”) One of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.
Todd Marinovich. American and Canadian football quarterback and manager. He played for, among others, the Los Angeles Raiders of the National Football League and also in the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League. (Birth name Marvin Scott Marinovich.)
Billy Martin. Second baseman baseball player and manager. Elected to the American League All Star team. (Birth name Alfred Manuel Pesano, Jr.)
Paul Merson. English forward, attacking midfielder, and playmaker football (soccer) player. Capped 21 times for the England national football team. Represented the nation at 1992 UEFA European Championship and the 1998 FIFA World Cup
Joe Namath. American quarterback football player in the American Football League and National Football League. Pro Football Hall of Fame. Sports broadcaster.
Dan O’Brien. American decathlete. Won Olympic gold medal, three consecutive world championships, and set the world record in 1992.
Alexander Ovechkin, Russian winger and captain of the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League. Named to the First All-Star Team. Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, and Lester B. Pearson Award (now called Ted Lindsay Award)
Barret Robbins. Center football player. Nine seasons for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League.
“Babe” Ruth established many MLB batting and pitching records. They include including career home runs, runs batted in, bases on balls, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging. (Latter two still stand.) Inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame member. (Birth name George Herman Ruth, Jr.)
C.C. Sabathia. Left-handed baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees. Pitched an average of over 200 innings per season during career. Cy Young Award.
Kenny Sansom. Arsenal and England full-back football (soccer) player. Second most capped England national team full-back.
Steve Sarkisian. Football player with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Head football coach with the University of Washington and the University of Southern California.
Aldon Smith. American football outside linebacker and defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders.
Darryl Strawberry. Baseball fielder. Voted to the All-Star Game eight years in a row. Sports commentator.
Evan Tanner. Mixed martial arts fighter. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion. First American to win the Pancrase Neo-Blood tournament in Tokyo, Japan.
Roy Tarpley. Power forward and center position basketball player in the NBA. Earned an NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Lawrence Taylor. Linebacker football player. Entire career with New York Giants in the NFL. Three AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards and league’s MVP.
Hank Wilson. Baseball player. A powerful hitter. Baseball Hall of Fame. (Birth name Lewis Robert Wilson.)
David Woodley. Football quarterback. Played for Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL.
Alcohol & Athletes. Northfield, MN: Life Skills, 2008.
Ambros, C. The Coaches’ Handbook on Alcohol and Drugs. Hughestown, PA: Rainbow, 2006.
Duren, R. and Sabellico, T. I Can See Clearly Now. Ryne Duren Talks From the Heart about Life, Baseball and Alcohol. Chula Vista, CA: Adventine, 2003.
Duren, R. and Drury, B. The Comeback. Dayton: Lorenz, 1978.
Harvey, D. They Called Me God: the Best Umpire Who Ever Lived. NY: Gallery, 2016.
Jones, C. Sport and Alcohol. London: Routledge, 2016.
Lorenston, S. Female Intercollegiate Athlete Alcohol Use. Microfiche.
Mantle, M. Mickey Mantle: My Favorite Summer, 1956. NY: Dell, 1992.
McGrath, P. Back From the Brink. London: Cornerstone, 2010.
O’Brien, D. and Botkin, B. Clearing Hurdles: a Quest to Be the World’s Greatest Athlete. Indianapolis: Blue River, 2012.
Once I Was a Champion. (DVD video) Platinum, 2003. Story of Evan Tanner.
Priest, J. and Whitten, R. What’s Your Fate? OK City: DustJacket, 2012.
Sport & Alcohol. Palmerston, NZ: Massey U, 2011.
Wilde, E. The Effects of Female Sports Participation on Alcohol Behavior. Princeton: Princeton U, 2008.
Notes on Alcoholic Athletes
- Many of these athletes have acknowledged their alcoholism. Others have not. This list is compiled from biographies and other sources believed to be accurate. However, this site cannot guarantee the accuracy of its list of alcoholic athletes.
- Know of any alcoholic athletes who should be added to this list? If so, contact hansondj(at sign)potsdam(dot)edu/ Many thanks for your help!