I compiled a list of candidates so long that I unfortunately can't share them all here. Perhaps later I'll dedicate a separate post to the honorable mentions. For now though, I'll just give you a top ten countdown, since it's a nice round number and all.
10. 1987 Chicago Cubs
Andere Richtingen sponsor(s) this page.
Seemed every game I attended that season featured Greg Maddux as starter. And he sucked!
In a different time, before he became one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, Greg Maddux was a young Cub trying to solidify a place in the Majors. This fan undoubtedly remembers taking trips to Wrigley and wondering why the home squad couldn't find anyone better than this kid. On a last-place Cubs team you can imagine Maddux blending in with the ineptitude Mr. Richtingen witnessed all summer long. This comment serves as a sort of mental time capsule, which I find fascinating as well as humorous.
9. 1993 Boston Red Sox
RedsoxNation.com sponsor(s) this page.
"Click on the link to fast forward 10 years to my favorite baseball moment!", G Travis Crawford.
Who doesn't love the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry (well, besides pretty much all non-Yankee or Red Sox fans, that is)? Overhyped though it may be, the rivalry produces some solid smack. Take this sponsorship, for example. The link is listed as "RedsoxNation.com," which sets the reader up to think it'll be a pro-Red Sox moment. Of course, ten years after 1993 was 2003, the year the Red Sox lost the ALCS in seven games to the Yankees. Clicking on that link takes you to the page of Aaron Boone, whose homer sent the pinstripers to the World Series. How irate must some fans be who fell for it?
8. Len Koenecke
Eric Enders sponsor(s) this page.
"Please remember that Federal Aviation Regulations require passenger compliance with crew member instructions."
This comment won't make much sense to you if you're not familiar with Len Koenecke's untimely death. If you are, this comment should elicit one of those "that was so wrong" chuckles. For those of you unfamiliar, Koenecke was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher when he attacked the crew of a small plane he was riding on. Ahhhhh, makes sense now, doesn't it? Isn't that comment so wrong?
7. Dale Sveum
Brewer Fan Ange sponsor(s) this page.
I once saw him throw a ball from third base in to the fifth row of the box seats, well done. Also love the fact that a player who's career strikeout average (.260) is higher than his career batting average (.236) is our hitting coach. SPLENDID HIRE!!
There are comedians who make careers out of being bitter and angry, so we know those emotions can be played for their humor value. I think that's what Brewer Fan Ange was going for here. The punctuation and grammar mistakes convey a sense of muddled frustration, which is simultaneously cathartic for the sponsor and a source of amusement for the reader. What can I say? It works.
6. 1872 Washington Nationals
Bob Vesterman sponsor(s) this page.
They would've won the twelfth.
Perhaps you need to see the whole page to get this one. The joke is that the Nationals went 0-11 before folding. It's inspiring, in a way. It's almost as if 137 years later there's still one lone advocate who believes in this team. Does it matter at this point? Of course not, but it's a sentiment we can all appreciate. Mr. Vesterman repeated this joke on the 1873 Baltimore Marylands page.
5. Todd Hollandsworth
D.J., Stephanie and Michelle Tanner sponsor(s) this page.
You're the greatest, Uncle Joey!
Wow. A Full House reference? The joke here is that many people think Hollandsworth resembles Dave Coulier, who played Joey on the popular family sitcom. My only gripe is that D.J., Stephanie and Michelle didn't call the character "Uncle Joey." Jesse was the girls' mother's brother, which made him "Uncle Jesse." Joey was their father's college buddy, which made him just "Joey." It's clear to me that whoever left this comment had only a casual familiarity with the show. Despite the inaccuracy, it's clever enough to make the list.
4. Terry Francona
An Anonymous Supporter sponsor(s) this page.
Now we know! Welcome back to Woodrow Wilson, a loaf of bread for 10 cents, and The Curse. 2004 and 2007 are tainted beyond question. Welcome back to 1918 Red Sox Nation.
You may have noticed that there are a bunch of Red Sox-related pages that blast them for copying the Yankees' "spend to win" approach. I find it amusing, because I hate the Red Sox as much as anyone (well, maybe not anyone, since I don't hate them enough to sponsor a bunch of BB-Ref pages bashing them, but whatever). This comment is in the same vein, so I can appreciate it. I assume it was in response to Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz' PED revelations. The second sentence is what makes this one truly great. Listing historical markers to get your point across appeals to the intellect while tickling the funny bone.
This comment, presumably from the same person, is repeated on the 1978 Red Sox page.
An Anonymous Supporter sponsor(s) this page.
The man, the legend....Quinn!
Several 19th Century players are shrouded in mystery. Their careers were so short and their names so common that it's nearly impossible to find any information about them. In some instances we don't even know their first names, as is the case with Mr. Quinn here. What better way to honor one of these unknown soldiers (and spend the $2 credit from BB-Ref's user survey), than to make a joke about his obscurity? It comes courtesy of "An Anonymous Supporter," whose decision to remain unnamed gives him some commonality with his subject. I wish I knew if that was intentional or just a great coincidence. Nonny, whoever you are, you made me laugh.
2. Ruben Rivera
Nesta Jones sponsor(s) this page.
September 1995. Rookies Derek Jeter and Ruben Rivera sit in the Yankees dugout, mouths full of Big League Chew, on the verge of stardom.
I like it. It paints a picture of a moment in time. Here you have two players at the dawn of their Major League careers looking forward to the glory that awaits. The future is bright and shiny, and they can't help but eagerly anticipate its arrival. Of course, the twisted irony is that one became a franchise icon while the other, the man being sponsored here, became a mediocre journeyman. Rivera was one of the Yankees' top prospects back in '95, but these days the only thing he's remembered for is stealing Jeter's glove and getting kicked off the team. How quickly the bright, shiny future becomes the disappointing, ignominious past.
Finally, the comment that beats all others I've encountered:
1. Marvin Benard
A high fastball sponsor(s) this page.
I loved this guy. He couldn't hit me with a tree trunk.
Genius. Pure genius. It personifies something as ephemeral as a pitch, then says that this hurtling sphere of cork and cowhide decided to pony up ten dollars and razz the player consistently baffled by it and its brethren. It's perhaps the most creative way one could pick on a former player's weakness as well as give a laugh to any fan who remembers it. Well done, McCovey Chronicles!
So there you go: the best of the best for 2009-10. Hopefully all these sponsors will renew them once they expire, because their brilliance deserves to live on and be enjoyed by many generations. If they decide not to renew, hey, the future generations can visit this blog.