Page 2's Whiner Hall of Fame
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

Once upon a time, in a sleepy upstate New York village, five men stood as all-time greats.

Then, in 1936, it was Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner -- the Baseball Hall of Fame's inaugural class.

Babe Ruth
Who will be immortalized with a plaque in our Hall of Fame? Read on.
Today, far away from the idyllic hamlet of Cooperstown, N.Y., in a nebulous place called cyber-space, we honor our own all-time greats.

See, Vijay Singh last week got the Page 2 minds to thinking. The thought: Holy mother of Scott Hoch, does this guy sound like a whiner!

It got us wondering: Through the pantheon of our sports fan lives, who were the masters of their craft? Who were the men who achieved heights all to their own? Who were the true immortals?

Yes, that's right: Who would be our inaugural class in the Page 2 Whiners Hall of Fame?

Forthwith, how we might imagine that Inauguration Day and Ceremony for our initial class of 10 of Sports' Greatest Whiners:

1. John McEnroe
Career Achievements: Put the capital "S" and "B" in Spoiled Brat ... mere sound of his voice questioning line calls can cause hives ... whined so intensely and consistently, it even overshadowed his tennis brilliance to the point where most remember him as a Whiner, not a Champion ... so defined by his sour grapes personality, had to title his autobiography: "You Cannot Be Serious!" -- four words for which he may as well have a trademark.

Presenter: Bjorn Borg.

Excerpts from Presenter's Speech: "John, it is with great experience and knowledge that I present you into this Whiner Hall of Fame. Even in a sport earmarked by individual petulance, you cut your own figure. As a stoic Swede who never understood your baby-faced cries, I often watched across the net with wonder: Why and how can a man act in such a manner? John, on this proud day, I see you gain the fruits of your labor."

Excerpts from McEnroe's Acceptance Speech: "Whiner? What? Ninety percent of those line calls were absolutely wrong, and the other 10 percent were so borderline the line judge deserved to be ripped! In conclusion, I can only say: '"You cannot be serious!''

Lou Holtz
Lou is sick and tired of bein' hassled by The Man.
2. Lou Holtz
Career Achievements: Wore out hundreds of caps in sideline tantrums ... consistently poor-mouthed own team's chances to point of comedy and, eventually, nausea ... even at nationally-revered Notre Dame, felt "The Man" was always against him ... tone of voice was particularly irksome, something close to a crying child.

Presenter: Gerry Faust.

Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: "Lou, as a man who flailed and failed at Notre Dame, I can truly say I never understood your incessant crying and moaning. You had it so good, and always had it so good. Also, Lou, how you tried to annually build Navy into the second coming of Bud Wilkinson's Oklahoma teams truly made me sick. It is with great honor that I present you with this bronze bust, Lou."

Excerpts from Holtz's Acceptance Speech: "How you guys chose me for this I'll never know. I don't deserve to be with here with all these greats. I mean, for Chrissakes, McEnroe? That guy's a champion! I don't belong with him. I don't belong anywhere near him, or to be mentioned in the same breath as him ..."

3. Jerry Rice
Career Achievements: After winning Super Bowl MVP, complained about lack of endorsements ... openly jealous of Deion Sanders when the two were teammates in one Super Bowl season ... later in career with 49ers, looked for a flag on every incomplete pass ... always objected to the written word, as regards his play ... in the midst of departing the 49ers, ripped Steve Mariucci on his way out the door.

Presenter: John Taylor, Rice's longtime receiving partner and a man who did not talk to the media for years.

Excerpts from Presenter's Speech: Stone silence.

Excerpts from Rice's Acceptance Speech: "You know me, guys. I've always been overlooked, and I continue to be overlooked. I thought I should have been ahead of John McEnroe, but apparently the powers that be felt otherwise. I'm just glad Deion didn't make it here. I'm surprised you guys didn't choose Deion, since you always liked him better. Or, at least, he made more money and ..."

4. George Steinbrenner
Career Achievements: Fired more managers than he can remember; in fact, often wakes up in the middle of the night and fires his pillow ... when World Series is not won by the Yankees, creates a Culture of Fear to make Saddam Hussein's regime look like Disneyland ... if player is great and beats George's Yankees, pouts until he can buy that player ... Put Yankees legends Joe Torre and Derek Jeter on the hot seat for winning only four World Series since 1996.

Presenter: Jeter.

Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: "Boss, congratulations on this fine honor. Should we meet at the China Club, say, around 3 a.m. for some partying?"

Excerpts from Steinbrenner's Acceptance Speech: "Who gave me this award? Who thinks I'm a whiner? I bet it's that Billy Martin who arranged this. He's fired! Fired, I say!"

Bill Laimbeer
Who doesn't hate Bill Laimbeer?
5. Bill Laimbeer
Career Achievements: Dubious distinction of sporting Bad NBA Look: big, awkward, doughy white guy ... look not helped by consistent facial expression of shock and bewilderment that a foul could be called on him ... look and facial expression further not helped by fact that he often had just leaned an elbow into a screen to knock down a player, engendering rage among opposing fans.

Presenter: The late Celtics play-by-play man Johnny Most.

Excerpts from Presenter's Speech: "Bill Laimbeer was a sewer rat. A sewer rat. Wait: I said Kurt Rambis was a sewer rat? Well, hell -- Laimbeer's a sewer rat, too."

Excerpts from Laimbeer's Acceptance Speech: "Foul? There was no foul on that screen! Blood? I don't care. Wipe up the stinking blood! There's still no foul on that play!"

6. Al Davis
Career Achievements: Envious of Steinbrenner's record of firing, Davis has instead tried to sue any elected official, municipality or small children's charity that he views as blocking the "Greatness of the Raiders" ... shuffles quarterbacks like a Vegas blackjack dealer shuffles cards, because each QB has blocked the destiny of the "Greatness of the Raiders" ... finally happy with QB Rich Gannon, fired coach Jon Gruden, because apparently he was blocking the inevitability of the "Greatness of the Raiders" ... might sue for his inclusion on this list.

Presenter: Jon Gruden.

Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: (With Hand Over Face) ""Face, dude. Face."

Excerpts From Davis' Lawyer's Speech: "Please grab a subpoena on the way out the door. It will save us postage costs and time. Thank you."

7. Scott Hoch
Career Achievements: Ripped St. Andrew's Golf Course, the birthplace of golf, as a lousy track ... gave the thumbs-down to Annika Sorenstam's compelling bid to play with the men ... said he hates the British Open, golf's oldest and most revered championship, because of drizzly weather ... we repeat: Ripped St. Andrew's Golf Course, the birthplace of golf, as a lousy track.

Presenter: A guy named Angus, a Scottish caddie.

Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: "Aah cannae buleev this Scott 'Och! 'E's got me kilt in a twist, laddie! I'd love to shove a' bagful o' haggis douwn 'is golf trrrrousers!"

Excerpts From Hoch's Acceptance Speech: "See? I couldn't understand a word he said. Why can't he speak English, like the rest of us? That's why I don't like the British Open. I don't know if the caddie said a 5-iron or a 6-iron, because he's speaking some sort of foreign language. Plus, he's wearing a skirt. Who does he think he is, Annika Sorenstam?"

8. Italian and Brazilian National Soccer Teams
Career Achievements: Take more dives than an Esther Williams film ... if an opposing player near them thinks about sneezing, the Brazilian or Italian falls to the ground, writhing and whining ... worse, when the call is not made, that Brazilian or Italian is miraculously healed, and jetting down the pitch at full-speed, clearly unhurt.

Presenter: A FIFA official.

Excerpts From Presenter's Speech: "No, no, no! No, no! No foul! No foul!"

Excerpts From Brazilian and Italian National Soccer Team's Acceptance Speech: No speech made. Each player, on way to podium, tripped over an imaginary boot and writhed for the remainder of the ceremony.

9. Pete Rose
Career Achievements: Refuses to admit he bet on baseball, thus forever prolonging his entrance into the Hall of Fame ... 15 years later, is as adamant as ever, despite Everest-ian evidence to the contrary ... Will not stop whining about the miscarriage of justice he has endured, while failing to admit to something most Americans believe is as obvious as Rose's stubbornly-unfashionable Prince Valiant haircut.

Presenter: "Lucky,: a New York bookie who is wearing wraparound shades and a dark hat.

Excerpts from Presenter's Speech: "Yo, Pedro! Remember those days when I'd take your call from Riverfront about an hour before the game, and you'd tell me that Tom Browning had the extra hop in the fastball that night? Man, those were the ..." (Rose wrestles the microphone from Lucky).

Excerpts from Rose's Acceptance Speech: "Hey, that Lucky. Funny guy. I'd like to thank him for being here, and to thank everyone who ever believed in me. See? I made it to a Hall of Fame!"

10. ???
OK ... there are too many whiners for one Hall of Fame class. Here are your nominees.

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.



Brian Murphy Archive

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