Let me bring y’alls back to March 2001. Seriously, we were all still in college. I know because the crumpled up piece of paper in my closet says I graduated later that Spring. The number one song was “Angel” by Shaggy and the top draw at the box office was Exit Wounds. Who would have predicted that one little password was about to change our lives? Even more than Exit Wounds.
On an unseasonably warm March day*, somewhere between 4 and 8 fantasy sports pioneers gathered around their computers to embark on a journey that continues to this day. With a click of the mouse, Rich Gallup made Pedro Martinez the first official member of a KFS team. The first round continued with luminaries such as Jeff Bagwell, Kevin Brown, Sammy Sosa, and Darin Erstad being called to the stage as a PornBat, or a Numbnut, or a Bergie.
*may have been snowing several inches per hour
And while a few owners considered the draft over when the ghost of Mike Keyes drafted Richard Hidalgo in Round 7, the best was actually yet to come. Lance Berkman to Bookland in Round 13? Nope. Ichiro to VHQ in Round 19? Child’s play. Surely, I mean Mike Sirotka to T-Dub in Round 15. No, I’m talking about the tradition like none other – the final round funny pick. So let’s hop in the wayback machine and revisit Round 23, 6 years ago.
By the way, that initial league password? “jonrobbins”. Continue, if you can…
Pick 177 – VHQ StalkerDodgers – Travis “Gookie” Dawkins
2001: The homeless man’s Pokey Reese did not appear in one MLB game in 2001, choosing instead to bust out a year later with 5 hits in 48 ABs to the tune of a .389 OPS.
Where is Gookie now: After spending ’06 with the Pirates AAA affiliate in
Pick 178 – EMF EscortWagons – Turk Wendell
2001: Turk went 4-5 with 1 save in 70 total appearances for the Mets and Phillies. His WHIP, and I know you were wondering, was 1.448.
Where is Turk now: OK, first of all, Turk Wendell went to Quinnipiac? How did I not know that. You guys knew that, right? Anyway, after he was told he wasn’t good enough to pitch in
Pick 179 – T-Dub Firestones – Mitch Meluskey
2001: Yet another final-round selection who failed to show up in the box score in 2001, Meluskey clearly plateaued a year earlier by hitting 14 of his 15 career home runs and stealing 1 of his 2 career stolen bases
Where is Mitch now: The once-promising heir to the Randy Kutcher redneck name throne fizzled out after taking hitting lessons from Brad Ausmus for 3 seasons and punching out teammate Matt Mieske during a batting-cage fight. I’m totally remembering all this stuff off the top of my head…
Pick 180 – Rich’s Sales Clerks – DeWayne Wise
2001: Continuing our theme, Larry DeWayne Wise played nary a game in ’01. But forget that, why did we let Adler name his team “Rich’s”? That was totally confusing, especially since they both wore vests a lot at work.
Where is DeWayne now: When not being the annoying voiceover guy for CNN Headline Sports (no?), Wise can be found plying his trade as a member of the AAA Louisville Bats, where he shares a locker room with Dan Conway (not that Dan Conway), Rick Asadoorian (that Rick Asadoorian) and Mark Bellhorn (definitely that Mark Bellhorn)
Pick 181 – Bookland PornBats – Rocky Biddle
2001: Funny name, sure. But a serious game also. Biddle won a whopping 7 games for the White Sox in ’01, despite bowing to pressure and walking 3 batters intentionally. Pussy.
Where is Rocky now: Perhaps most well known for winning a Pitcher of the Week award in 2003, when he saved 34 games for Montreal and New Haven, Lee Francis “Rocky” Biddle suffered a torn labrum in 2005 and was released by the Washington Nationals. To answer the question, though, I have no idea.
Pick 182 – MSDW Numbnuts – Bengie Molina
2001: The slowest Molina (which is like the tallest Braden) hit 5 home runs and knocked in 40 for the Wherever Angels of Wherever. He was 0 for 1 on stolen base attempts, thus costing MSDW GM Jon Watterson a crucial point in, lets say Week 9.
Where is Bengie now: A tradition within a tradition began with this pick, as Watterson tried to pick actual MLB contributors in the final round while the rest of us frantically scrolled for hyphens and z’s in names. 84 career home runs and 2 gold gloves qualifies as contributing I suppose, so Molina fits the bill. In 2007, Bengie will try and replace SF icon Mike Matheny behind the plate. He has recently been spotted lapping Barry Bonds in windsprints around the diamond.
Pick 183 – Baybutt Pirates – Vinny Castilla
2001: After getting over the irony of a Mexican being drafted by a guy who went to college in the middle of the woods in
Where is Vinny now: Short story? He’s retired. Long story? His last professional baseball appearance came as a member of the 2007 Mexican entry into the Caribbean Series. His team finished last in the tournament, despite being led in home runs by Alfredo Amezaga (1).
Pick 184 – Bergiez – Bobby Bonilla
2001: When is a non-humor pick the best humor pick ever? When it’s our very first Mr. Irrelevant and his name is Bobby freaking Bonilla, that’s when. Bobby batted .213 in 93 games with the Cardinals in ’01, and pretty much faded into
Where is Bobby now: I was afraid to look, but fear not - Bobby is somehow a functioning member of society, currently holding it down as an MLB union rep. He also sits grudgingly in a tie for 124th on the all-time home run list, his dogged pursuit of Kent Hrbek having apparently stalled just six measly dingers short.
So there you have it. Who will be added to this pantheon this weekend? Tune in at 8:45 ET this Saturday to find out. Actually, tune in and then go away for about an hour while actual rosters are boringly constructed out of middle-of-the-road Brewers pitchers. THEN tune back in towards the end.