Martin St. Louis
His 5’8 stature might have something to do with the fact that he went undrafted, but he’s now played over 1,000 NHL games in a 17-year career. He’s a five-time All-Star and a winner of the Pearson Award, Hart Trophy, and Ross Trophy; all which could be attributed to his speed and durability.
Sanders was possibly the most talented back to ever play the game, and some of his insane ability to change direction could be attributed to him being 5’8.
The “Pocket Rocket” is an inch shorter than St. Louis, but that didn’t stop him from cruising to 11 Stanley Cup trophies with the Canadiens; more than any player in NHL history.
Webb was not forecasted for much success in the NBA due to this size, but he turned out to be a productive player for much of his career. His shining moment, though, came when he won the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest (you know, back when it meant something).
Webb was small, but Bogues was the smallest in history. The 5’3 player played with Manute Bol and was said to have 44-inches worth of ups. He even blocked a shot from Patrick Ewing, inspiring a generation of shorter kids.
A third of LA’s feared “Triple Crown Line,” the 5’8 Dionne never made it past the second round of the playoffs, although that can be attributed more to the Kings lack of depth. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.
Emmit Smith stood a bit taller, but had similar cutting ability and explosiveness. The RB is three times a champion, and was an easy elect into Canton in 2010.
Declared by many to be history’s best soccer player (and occasionally history’s best athlete) Pele only stands at 5’8. But he seems a lot taller when he’s standing on his record three World Cups.
Standing at a diminutive 5’5, Maradona makes up for his stature with personality and talent. His time was marred by cocaine use and personal issues, but he was still legendary enough to lock down the head-coaching job of Argentina’s national team for a period.
Between the two previous guys and Messi, these are arguably the best soccer players in history. Messi is Maradona’s successor and has won pretty much every accolade that isn’t the World Cup, although at 27, he should have at least one more crack at it.
Pudge caught more games than anyone in history, and threw out 45% of the runners who tried to steal on him. Maybe his 5’9 frame allowed him to jump out of his position faster.
Drew Brees and Russell Wilson may be making a case for short QBs these days, but Flutie did it first, and at 5’9, remains the shortest QB to ever be voted to the Pro Bowl. He’s also earned himself a Heisman, a Walter Camp award, and a few Grey Cups just for the fun of it.
Another great catcher, Yogi Berra, measured up at only 5’7, but was tough at nails; he once caught an entire 22-inning game when he was 37. He also could dig a hit out of almost any pitcher.
Despite being small, Puckett is one of the greatest three-hole hitters ever, and wasn’t a shabby center fielder either, bringing home two World Series titles in his 11 year career.
These are our favorite small athletes, who are yours?