Saturday, November 17, 2012

Top Ten Baseball-Reference Sponsorship Messages: 2012 Edition

It's that time of year again! Award season? Well yeah, there's that, but there's also Baseball Junk Drawer's annual Top Ten Baseball-Reference Sponsorships post!

Compiling this year's list proved a bit easier than in previous years, because most of those junky keyword link ads on the $2 pages haven't been renewed, so I didn't have to slog through a billion of them this time. In this down economy though, it seems fewer people like throwing around money on funny sponsorship messages, so the pickings were also a bit slimmer than in years past. I'm happy with each of the Top Ten, but there aren't any truly worthy honorable mentions this time.

Before I inadvertently convince you not to read this post, I think we ought to jump into the list and appreciate what we've got.

10. Jersey Bakley
St. Michael's Anglican Church sponsor(s) this page.

Come join us! Traditional 1928 Prayer Book Anglican Worship. Near Uptown Charlotte. Fr. Rich "Jersey" Bakley, Rector
It's hard to say why this one struck my fancy. I guess the suggestion that a North Carolina clergyman just happens to share a nickname and surname with a journeyman pitcher from the 19th Century second-tier major leagues was worthy of a grin.

9. Dock Ellis
Benjamin Armstrong sponsor(s) this page. sponsor(s) this page.

I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate.
Not that this shows especial creativity on the part of the sponsor, but it's a heck of a great quote from Ellis himself about his no-hitter allegedly pitched on LSD. I've never done drugs, but based on conversations with people who have, I have to wonder if Ellis took some creative license with this recounting of events. Either way it's an entertaining thought.

Additionally, the odd repetition caused by the appearance of the phrase "sponsor(s) this page" as part of the sponsor's name adds to the overall drug-addled feel of this message.

8. Byron Browne
Mike Friedman sponsor(s) this page.

One of the answers to the question of how a team with five Hall of Famers can finish last.
Ah, the 1966 Chicago Cubs. They employed Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Robin Roberts, and some replacement-level guy in left field. It might seem unfair to pick on Mr. Browne, but as Mr. Friedman acknowledges, he's only one of the factors in that team's failure.

7. Turkey Gross
NotGraphs sponsor(s) this page.

Turkey Gross did not care for Thanksgiving.
Oh, what a groaner...but perfect for the early second half of November!

6. Randy Tomlin
Wicked slider that Aryeh Bak couldn't touch. sponsor(s) this page.

Randy Tomlin: forever my hero after striking out Aryeh Bak 22 times in one game on Sega Genesis 1993 Tony La Russa Baseball. The look of frustration on Aryeh's face still comforts me today.
Ah, video game memories. There ain't nothin' like 'em, and they last a lifetime. They're the closest things we unathletic schlubs ever get to glory on the field. Lots of guys who were obscure in real life have become immortals via the hallowed console. My brother still reveres Greg Hibbard for his amazing control in Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball.

On a similar note...

5. Jeff Plympton
Dave Pasquantonio sponsor(s) this page.

I wasn't much of an athlete in high school. But my top athletic moment was hitting a double off of Jeff in Babe Ruth baseball. He could throw heat. I'm really glad he made it to the majors!
Mr. Pasquantonio cheered for another player's success for a purely selfish reason, namely that it gave him bragging rights. Not that I'm faulting him for it. If you could say you once got an extra-base hit against a future major league pitcher, wouldn't you want to be able to?

It's the same reason I've been rooting for Brian Schlitter to become a star. I was at his major league debut, and I want to be able to say I was there when it all began. So far that hasn't been working out too well.

4. Cannonball Titcomb
Salva Veritate sponsor(s) this page.

I have nothing to plug. I just hope you are as happy as I am that this player existed.
Cannonball Titcomb. If you break it down into four individual words it can be understood in several different permutations, each of them appealing to the junior high kid in us all. Salva Veritate indeed.

3. Bris Lord
Jay Wolfe - Rude Island Baseball Congregation sponsor(s) this page.

Bless this man - The King of all Mohels!!!
I'm not Jewish, but thanks to "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Pretty Fly (For a Rabbi)" I'm familiar with the terms "mohel" and "bris." The idea that the old Human Eyeball actually performs circumcisions in a superlative fashion is quite clever.

It looks like this one just expired, so I caught it in the nick of time.

2. Lou Whitaker
Mark Edie sponsor(s) this page.

Roberto Alomar: 2320 g at 2B, 116 OPS+, 63.5 WAR, 7 teams. Famous misdeed: Spat at umpire. Result: 2nd-ballot HOFer. Sweet Lou: 2308 g at 2B, 116 OPS+, 69.7 WAR, 1 team. Famous misdeed: Forgot uniform at 1985 ASG. Result: 2.9% of HOF vote. Go figure...
When I first saw this one, I thought it was brilliant, and I knew it would likely rank high on this list. With the recalculated WAR, Whitaker's lead is now even larger: 71.4 to 62.9. While Alomar is a worthy Hall of Famer in my view, I always thought he was a tad overrated all the same.

1. Dick Fowler
Rob Morton sponsor(s) this page.

Worst 1-on-1 basketball opponent ever.
I glossed over this sponsorship when I happened across it a while back, thinking it was some sort of inside joke or something. The next time around it hit me. Ahhhh-hahahahahahahahaha! Rob Morton, you are one clever cat.

While I'm happy to include each of these sponsorships here, I wish they had had more competition (since Marvin Benard's legendary sponsorship has been ineligible since 2009). Step up to the plate, folks, and sponsor a page! I want wit, I want insight, I want relatability! Let's make the 2013 edition the best one yet!

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