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Menino inspires list of political sports goofs

Memo to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino: Please don't ever stop making sports references. Scott Eisen/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The quotable mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, has added to his awesome list of sports malaprops.

On Wednesday, he praised the play of Celtics stars “Hondo” and “KJ” for their performances against Miami in the Eastern Conference finals. Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, of course, are current stars on the Celtics -- not John “Hondo” Havlicek and former Suns star Kevin Johnson.

Menino has previously referred to “Varitek splitting the uprights,” “Jim Lomberg,” “Donald Sterns,” Wes “Weckler” and Rob “Grabowski.” He was presumably intending to invoke “Vinatieri splitting the uprights, Jim Lonborg, David Stern, Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski.

Meantime, this got us thinking about other politicians who have made failed sports references to bond with voters. Here’s a sampling:

  • When asked during a televised debate in January what he would be doing that Saturday night if he weren’t running for president, Newt Gingrich said, “I'd be watching the college championship basketball.” He likely was trying to refer to the upcoming BCS Championship Game, which was contested two days later on a Monday night.

  • Also in January, Vice President Joe Biden said the "the Giants [are] on their way to the Super Bowl," at a fundraiser in San Francisco -- days before the 49ers-Giants matchup in the NFC Championship Game. He later said he was used to thinking in terms of the San Francisco Giants.

  • In 2011, President Barack Obama referred to legendary Kentucky basketball coach “Adolph Ruff,” whose name is actually Rupp.

  • In 2008, then-Sen. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., referred to “Rafael Palmerry,” his “300th hit” and the “Blackhawks” scandal of 1919. Presumably, he was talking about Rafael Palmeiro, his 3,000th hit and the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

  • In 2004, presidential candidate John Kerry told a crowd in Michigan, “I go for Buckeye football. That's where I'm coming from.”

  • In 1998, former President Bill Clinton welcomed the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings to the White House but mispronounced the name of captain Steve Yzerman. He said “Ya-zerr-man” instead of “Eye-zer-man.”

  • Also in 1998, then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) famously referred to baseball sluggers “Mike McGwire” and “Sammy Sooser.”

Did we overlook your favorite sports goof by a politician? Post it to the comments section.