A good example for this is sorting. Quicksort is a relatively "poor" algorithm if you compare its average (and even more so its worst case) big-O to some more modern competitors. However, in practice, it has been one of the top performers (or the general-purpose top performer) for 5 decades, and it still is.
I like your post: It's relevant and well explained. So I'm sorry for nitpicking, but quicksort's asymptotic performance in the average case is O(n*log(n)), which is optimal. What you said is true for worst-case performance. Also, I am not sure you can say quicksort is "the general-purpose top performer" these days. Introsort gets the best of both worlds, avoiding the nasty Omega(n2) worst-case behavior and running about as fast as quicksort in the average case, which is why it's often the algorithm of choice for implementing std::sort in C++.