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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Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 7:30 PM
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19


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