Turkey of the Year 1994: Jack McCloskey

  • Updated: November 21, 2012 - 8:14 PM

The dinner bell is scheduled to clang for the 17th Turkey Banquet today at precisely 2 p.m. Through its history, this has been a feast worthy of Miles Standish, with huge, golden, pen-raised turkeys, mounds of stuffing, rich-brown gravy and lump-free mashed potatoes, butter-soaked yams, and fresh pumpkin, apple and mincemeat pies.

Sadly, this banquet could wind up being catered by White Castle, if the greedy, irresponsible kitchen and wait staffs do not agree to a few changes in the basic agreement with the Turkey Committee.

The salaries paid to our superstar chefs have gotten out of control. We're willing to lower the number of banquets it takes for a chef to cook out the option on his services, if they agree to cap their salaries. We're willing to raise the minimum wage paid to the kitchen help, if the union agrees to give up the money earned through the licensing of cookbooks. And, all management is asking from the waitpersons is a 50-50 split in tips.

If the strike occurs as scheduled this afternoon, the real losers will be the little people who buy tickets to the banquet.
Yes, the fans are the ones who always end up paying for the greed of the banquet staff. Management is saddened by the prospect of this strike, but the short-term pain our guests will feel wolfing down those White Castle sliders today will be rewarded with the long-term survival of the Turkey Banquet.

Big, basted birds or sliders, either way, the time has come to bring in this year's class of Turkeys:
-Don Fehr and Gary Bettman. When you cut to the bone, these are the two people responsible for the fact there was no finish to the 1994 baseball season and no start to the 1994-95 National Hockey League season. Fehr, the director of the union, led the baseball players into a strike. Bettman, the NHL commissioner, locked out the hockey players.

- Jeff Reboulet. The Reb is the Twins' assistant player representative and was an outspoken critic of management when the strike hit in mid-August. A great American, Billy Gardner, once said of striking utility infielder Chuck Baker: "Three outfits want him - the Army, the Navy and the Marines." Remember that, Reb, as your precious days in the major leagues evaporate, one after the other.
- Don Shelby. Richard Pryor's concerts were funny. Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine was funny. At their best, none of these gentlemen was as funny as Shelby as he walked across the court of an empty Target Center last spring and shared with the WCCO-TV audience his innermost thoughts on the proposed sale of the Timberwolves to a New Orleans group. Great material, Don. We were on the floor, kicking our feet, crying, we were laughing so hard.

- Michael Jordan. There are a minimum of 25,000 people in the Western Hemisphere with a greater aptitude for hitting a baseball, and that includes several members of the Coors Silver Bullets.

- Mike Veeck. How about this guy? He is trying to get the politicians in St. Paul to spend millions for a riverfront stadium for his Class N (never-were, never-will-be) ballplayers. Before Mayor Norm Coleman gets carried away, he would be advised to remember the Kicks, the early years at Canterbury Downs and the early minutes at St. Croix Meadows. The Saints - stale jokes and all - are a phenomenon that too shall pass.

- Scott Erickson. Too bad the strike came. Erickson might have been able to equal his 19 defeats from 1993 and earn another big raise from the Twins.

- Mike Brown. The Timberwolves must be represented by a player at the banquet. Late in a recent game, Brown had too much pride to tell coach Bill Blair that his long streak of consecutive games played was on the line. Don't you know, Big Brown Bear, that pride isn't an issue with this pack of mutts?

- Sean Salisbury. The quarterback was trying to get the Detroit Lions interested in his services during the free-agent signing. And he suggested that NFL defenses feared the idea he could be teaming with Barry Sanders. Salisbury can be funnier than Shelby.

- Arne Carlson. Our horse-laughing chief executive knew passage of the OTB amendment would save Minnesota's grass-roots thoroughbred business and would have done nothing to add to the state's gambling problem. Carlson was afraid he might lose 50 votes from his landslide victory over John Wimpy, so he refused to take a position. OTB lost by a narrow margin. OK, sing along: "That . . . gutless ... Arne!"

- Howie Hanson. He was a leader of the fight to reject the Department of Natural Resource's deal with the Mille Lacs Band of the Chippewa on treaty fishing rights at the big walleye lake. Thanks to Howie's dogged fight against the settlement, the Chippewa figure to wind up with fishing rights over a 12-county area of East Central Minnesota. Don’t worry, Howie. You can always pick up a couple of pounds of walleye filets at Byerly's.

- Bill Sexton. This former Slayton basketball coach badly wanted the Timberwolves. He just didn't want to pay for them.

- Ken Burns. Too many hours of Burns' PBS documentary, "Baseball," were devoted to his cast of pretentious dweebs: George Will, Daniel Okrent, Thomas Boswell and John Thorne. There was even an off-the-wall poet going through a bad hair day. Burns' invitation to the Turkey Banquet was secured when he chose Bob Costas - born in 1952 - to give us the exciting details of Willie Mays' catch in the 1954 World Series.

- Martina Navratilova. She retired. Big deal. For a number of years, Martina has been Willie Mays (him again) playing for the Mets. You knew Navratilova was washed up when the crazed German did not bother to account for Martina in his plot to return Steffi Graf to the world's No. 1 rating.

- Sid Hartman. Many of his close personal friends have been honored by the Turkey Committee, but this is Sid's first invitation. Our beloved colleague earned it by using the bully pulpit of his newspaper column and his Sunday radio show to convince every living, breathing resident of Minnesota that Coach Wacky's football Gophers had a real shot at an upset in the season opener. Final: Penn State 56, Gophers 3.

- Tonya and Nancy. You didn't believe it when you first heard of the possibility that she was involved, but it turned out Tonya Harding was the Ma Barker of figure skating. And the rival who wound up getting hit with the stick - Nancy Kerrigan - has since come across as such a brat that the only difference between her and Dennis Rodman is pink hair.

The Turkey Committee's final meeting was held Tuesday. There were strong arguments offered that Harding and Kerrigan should be named co-winners of The Herschel - the Turkey of the Year trophy named in honor of that legendary Viking, Herschel Walker. Eventually, the committee members were persuaded that, with such marvelous Twin Cities candidates available, we should stick to the local bias the award has had in recent years.

Tonya and Nancy were eliminated from grand-prize consideration, and the debate raged into the evening. It's my feeling, if there was not a television playing in the meeting, that we would have a woman staking a full claim to The Herschel for the first time.
For weeks, Chris Voelz, the women's athletic director at Minnesota, was the front-runner.
Productive, capable people who have worked for Voelz can't stand her. Productive, capable people who have worked with Voelz can't stand her. Put Voelz in a room with them and, in 5 minutes, Mother Teresa and Paul Wellstone would be trading punches.

What happened is that, at the precise moment the final vote was going to be taken, someone looked at the TV and said: "Hey, the Timberwolves are trailing Cleveland by 42."

Yes, our NBA team, the outfit that had been meticulously put together by the new general manager hired after the 1991-92 season, was 42 down to the Brad Daugherty-less Cavs. The same much-ballyhooed general manager traded for Chuckles Person, Micheal Williams, Stacey King and the aforementioned Mike Brown. Later, he drafted the high-risk J.R. Rider and gave $650,000 to the invisible Charles Shackleford.

"If we don't give it to him this time, it will be too late," a committee member said. "He won't be around here to be considered next year."

So, we have awarded The Herschel to him - Jack McCloskey.

By the way, if this year's Turkey presentation seems considerably more mean-spirited than on previous Thanksgivings, the committee is simply trying to reflect the mood of the country and the leader of the new political populism, Newton L. Gingrich.

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Atlanta 100
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Houston 85
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Indiana 98
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Portland 99
Minnesota 120 FINAL
LA Lakers 119
NY Rangers 3 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Washington 5
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Montreal 1 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Detroit 5 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 4
Carolina 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 2
Vancouver 5 FINAL
Columbus 0
Ottawa 2 FINAL
Florida 3
Edmonton 3 FINAL(OT)
St. Louis 4
Minnesota 5 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 4
Tennessee 67 FINAL
Kansas 82
Eastern Ill 40 FINAL
NC Central 65
New Orleans 65 FINAL
Texas A&M 87
Radford 65 FINAL
NC A&T 57
Butler 64 FINAL
Georgetown 58
Prairie View 71 FINAL
Brown 81
Southern U 63 FINAL
Northern Ariz 70
Santa Clara 44 FINAL
Rhode Island 66
IUPU-Ft Wayne 67 FINAL
Dartmouth 68
Wright State 59
Texas-El Paso 77 FINAL
Xavier 73
Penn State 88 FINAL
Bucknell 80
James Madison 56 FINAL
Ohio State 73
Yale 66 FINAL
Providence 72
Lamar 59 FINAL
Texas Southern 71
Miss Valley St 66 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 75
Missouri State 55 FINAL
Alaska-Anchorage 51
Minnesota 66 FINAL
Georgia 62
Oklahoma 56 FINAL
Wisconsin 69
Stephen F Austin 83 FINAL
Austin Peay 62
Norfolk State 72 FINAL
St Francis-NY 70
Middle Tennessee 51 FINAL
Cincinnati 69
Char Southern 47 FINAL
Florida State 58
Princeton 65 FINAL
San Diego 75
Drake 46 FINAL
Valparaiso 66
Rice 74 FINAL
Washington St 76
USC Upstate 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 64
Rider 54 FINAL
Georgia Tech 61
High Point 59 FINAL
Clemson 62
Emerson 50 FINAL
Hartford 83
Savannah State 71 FINAL
Jacksonville St 74
Monmouth 56 FINAL
Maryland 61
South Alabama 75 FINAL
Miami-Florida 87
Boise State 54 FINAL
NC State 60
Vanderbilt 65 FINAL
Rutgers 68
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
St Johns 66
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Syracuse 72
Bradley 49 FINAL
TCU 57
Alabama State 91 FINAL
TX-Pan American 79
Delaware State 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 65
Tennessee St 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 66
North Carolina 75 FINAL
Florida 64
Memphis 72 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Hofstra 86 FINAL
Jackson State 56
Samford 64 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 77
Cleveland State 68 FINAL
Marshall 59
UT Martin 64 FINAL
Nebraska 75
SE Louisiana 61 FINAL
Tulane 71
Creighton 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 75
Murray State 61 FINAL
Portland 64
North Texas 73 FINAL
Arkansas 89
UNC Greensboro 79 FINAL
Indiana 87
Michigan State 79 FINAL
Marquette 68
Western Mich 79 FINAL
San Jose St 60
Stetson 62 FINAL
Northern Colorado 82
Texas-Arlington 81 FINAL
Montana State 104
Pacific 64 FINAL
Colorado State 75
Miss State 75 FINAL
Saint Louis 50
La Salle 56 FINAL
Virginia 64
North Dakota 53 FINAL
Utah 90
UAB 76
Baylor 54 FINAL
Illinois 62
Long Beach State 70 FINAL
Washington 80
Mercer 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 65
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 31 FINAL
Western Mich 21
Nebraska 37 FINAL
Iowa 34
Western Ky 67 FINAL
(19) Marshall 66
So Florida 0
Houston 35 FINAL
Akron 24 FINAL
Kent State 27
Ball State 41 FINAL
Bowling Green 24
Buffalo 41 FINAL
Massachusetts 21
Toledo 52 FINAL
Eastern Mich 16
Arkansas 14 FINAL
(17) Missouri 21
Navy 42 FINAL
South Alabama 40
(13) Arizona State 35 FINAL
(12) Arizona 42
Stanford 31 FINAL
(9) UCLA 10
(21) Colorado State 24 FINAL
Air Force 27
Virginia 20 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
East Carolina 49 FINAL
Tulsa 32
North Texas 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11:00 AM
Illinois 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11:00 AM
NC State 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11:30 AM
Boston College
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Utah 12:00 PM
Texas State 1:00 PM
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Idaho 1:00 PM
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(4) Miss State 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
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(10) Michigan State 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
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San Jose St 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 3:00 PM
Kansas 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
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BYU 3:30 PM
ULM 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
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Texas-El Paso
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Fresno State
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(15) Auburn 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
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Oregon State
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(5) Baylor
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(20) Oklahoma
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Michigan 76 FINAL
Washington St 64
Green Bay 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 50
Eastern Kentucky 71 FINAL
Western Carolina 62
Florida Atlantic 57
Fordham 74 FINAL
Incarnate Word 42
Furman 63 FINAL
Florida State 94
Illinois State 44 FINAL
Miami-Florida 95
Eastern Michigan 74 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 78
George Washington 74 FINAL
NC State 66
Ohio State 55 FINAL
Wichita State 70
Western Ky 69 FINAL
Tulane 64
La Salle 71 FINAL
Long Island 66
Binghamton 51 FINAL
St Johns 67
UNC-Asheville 52 FINAL
NC Central 55
North Florida 55 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 41
Akron 73 FINAL
Belmont 58
Miss Valley St 46 FINAL
Liberty 80 FINAL
Penn State 68
Colgate 44 FINAL
(21) Rutgers 60
Mercer 80 FINAL
Saint Louis 75
Northeastern 72 FINAL
No Dakota State 79
(10) Maryland 80 FINAL
James Madison 64
Villanova 46 FINAL
Arizona State 51
Tulsa 87 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Boston College 90 FINAL
Brown 80
Wyoming 63 FINAL
Iowa State 84
Weber State 100 FINAL
New Mexico St 97
Texas Tech 53 FINAL
Purdue 69
Washington 81 FINAL
Hartford 70
Fla Gulf Coast 86 FINAL
Clemson 61
Drake 69 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 61
UNC Greensboro 64 FINAL
Navy 71
(15) Nebraska 71 FINAL
Northern Iowa 58 FINAL
Hofstra 61
Austin Peay 71 FINAL
Southern Miss 80
(17) Iowa 67 FINAL
Arkansas 77
Cal-Irvine 54 FINAL
Bowling Green 62
Samford 56 FINAL
Georgia State 61
Siena 78 FINAL
Denver 62
Abilene Christian 88 FINAL
George Mason 86
Towson 49 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Howard 55 FINAL
St Marys-CA 80
Houston 67 FINAL
Idaho State 73
Texas Southern 71
East Carolina 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 43
Sam Houston St 67
Minnesota 54 FINAL
Vanderbilt 71
Kent State 47 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 57
Montana 55 FINAL
Princeton 80
(9) Kentucky 92 FINAL
Oklahoma 88
Arizona 65 FINAL
FIU 58
Northern Ky 52 FINAL
Grand Canyon 45
Stetson 57 FINAL
Marist 50
American Univ 59 FINAL
Gonzaga 56
Loyola Marymount 66
Oral Roberts 38 FINAL
NC A&T 47
Stony Brook 42 FINAL
(8) Duke 72
Colorado State 76
(5) Stanford 54 FINAL
(11) North Carolina 70
Monmouth 82 FINAL
Wagner 59
Portland 59 FINAL
Nevada 84
Stephen F Austin 62 FINAL
UC-Riverside 90
Alcorn State 33 FINAL
Rice 61
Lafayette 61 FINAL
(12) Louisville 102
Florida 81 FINAL
Georgetown 73
Miami-Ohio 51 FINAL
Oakland 65
SE Missouri St 62 FINAL
Southern Ill 78
Florida A&M 46 FINAL
SMU 77
Northern Colorado 67 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 58
Montana State 66 FINAL
CS-Northridge 78
(22) Syracuse 63 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Dartmouth 74 FINAL
Cal Poly 61
Utah State 43 FINAL
(13) Baylor 99
Toledo 64 FINAL
Virginia 62
Christian Brothers 39 FINAL
Arkansas State 79
South Florida 67 FINAL
Illinois 61
Coll of Charleston 24 FINAL
(3) Connecticut 85
Wake Forest 65 FINAL
Charlotte 58
San Jose St 87 FINAL
(14) California 110
Central Michigan 73 FINAL
Oregon 67
Fresno State 93 FINAL
San Diego 88
Boston U 49 FINAL
New Mexico 56
Missouri State 59 FINAL
Colorado 87
Ole Miss 52 FINAL
Utah 38
Prairie View 58 FINAL
Hawaii 72
Army 61 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 39
Cincinnati 52 FINAL
Creighton 63


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