Turkey of the Year 1996: Kerri Strug

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

The Tournament of Turkeys Committee, the group that sponsors the Festival of Turkeys Parade and the Turkey Banquet, annually faces enormous financial obligations. In 1995, the committee wound up with a bottom-line deficit after merchandise sales fell to an all-time low. Arthur Finkelstein, fresh from the Rudy Boschwitz campaign, was hired as the committee's consultant. Arthur told us: "You can't sit back and let a bunch of long-haired, pot-smoking, flag-burning liberal wimps corner the market with `Save the Whales' T-shirts. You must go on the attack. You need a new logo - a turkey so mean that people are going to buy out of fear that, if they don't, that Big Tom is going to jump off the T-shirt and peck away until he bleeds 'em dry." Yes, Arthur can become overly passionate in his views, but the committee took his advice. The committee is unveiling the new logo today, on the occasion of the 19th annual Turkey Banquet. Obviously, there has never been a logo remotely similar to the new Turkey, which is sure to inspire record sales at our Gobble-dygook Gift Shops. The Turkey Committee waddles toward the 21st century, confident in its financial future and bursting with pride at this year's flock of Turkey honorees: - Doug Woog. The Gophers' coach has given a whole new meaning to an old hockey term - hat trick. It used to be three straight goals. Now, it is, "You'll find the $500 in a hat under my office desk." - Dave Stevens. This is the other Dave Stevens, not the Twins relief pitcher famed for the prodigious home runs that he gives up. This Stevens is the ESPN producer who was given a much-ballyhooed tryout with the St. Paul Veecks of the Northern League in May. The TV barking dogs and the minicams went hard for this story, since Stevens has no legs. The committee admires Stevens' timing. The Twin Cities has a mostly new generation of barking dogs since Dave offered the same storyline and action shots for the minicams while participating in the Twins' tryout camp in 1984. - Arne Carlson. The surplus-happy Gov wants the Gophers to give $1 million per year to their next football coach, and he doesn't care who it is.   - Stephen Cito. His son Mike, a junior football player at St. Pius X High in Albuquerque, N.M., complained that he had been a victim of cheap shots during a game. Cito, a pediatric dentist, had Mike bring home his helmet. Then, the dentist ground the two chinstrap buckles to razor-sharp edges. The officials discovered this when two players from Academy High were observed bleeding from cuts on their hands and arms. The committee's advice: If you ever wind up in Dr. Cito's chair, don't let him administer gas. This is one dentist a patient wants to keep an eye on. - Pat Forciea. The ever-present Iron Ranger entered 1996 as Minnesota's marketing genius. His major tasks were selling tickets for the Twins and the football Gophers. The Twins' per capita fell because of discounted tickets and attendance remained well below pre-strike levels. The Gophers continued to lose before sections of empty seats. The Forciea phenomenon started in 1990, when he was the campaign manager for Paul Wellstone in his senatorial race against Boschwitz. Wellstone won by 2.6 percentage points. In the rematch this month, Wellstone - without Forciea's guidance - beat Boschwitz by 12 percentage points. - Greg Norman. The committee has assigned a waiter to cut Norman's serving of bird into very small pieces at today's banquet. None of us wants to watch him choke again.   - Linda Hill-MacDonald. Four Minnesota high school seniors are rated among the top 25 players in the country. The Gophers and coach Hill-MacDonald went 0-for-4 in recruiting the blue-chippers. Seventeen Minnesota girls were signed early to Division 1-A scholarships. Hill-MacDonald landed one. The committee's guess, Linda, is that the in-state recruits were scared off when they saw the depth on your 1996-97 Gophers.   - Isaiah Rider Jr. We had to invite him, but here is the good news: J.R. can't make it. His car won't start. He didn't get his wakeup call. The pipes froze. The cab driver took him to the wrong hotel. He was abducted by aliens. No, wait - he is an alien. In fact, the committee has learned that Ivan Reitman went to a Lakers game a couple of years ago, saw J.R. playing for the Timberwolves, and that gave Reitman the idea for "Space Jam." - Bob Huggins. The Cincinnati basketball coach started the 1996-97 season No. 1 in the Division I ratings and No. 302 in graduation rates. Coach Huggins gets all emotional when one of his players proudly accepts a diploma. Unfortunately, that has not yet happened in Huggins' seven years with the Bearcats. - Terry Ryan. The Twins' general manager let outfielder Kimera Bartee, the player with a chance to save the Scott Erickson trade, get away for $50,000. First baseman Travis Lee, the No. 2 choice in the June draft, was allowed to get away when Ryan - after a clerical error - did not have the good sense to panic and get him signed. And finally, it took Dark Star, the most mysterious figure this side of Kato Kaelin, to get Chuck Knoblauch signed to a $30 million contract. There has not been a Minnesota sports executive to have such an outstanding year since Remarkable Mike Lynn made the Herschel Walker trade.   Speaking of which: One year ago, the committee voted to institute the Herschel Walker Lifetime Achievement (as a Turkey) Award. The first winner was Chris Voelz, the women's athletic director at Minnesota. Former employees wept in appreciation that Voelz finally had received the recognition she deserved. Again in '96, awarding the Herschel was a no-brainer: The winner is Bud Selig, owner of the Milwaukee Brewers and baseball's acting commissioner for life. Forget Selig's blunders (Teddy Higuera, Franklin Stubbs, etc.) in running the Brewers into the ground. This is Bud's lasting achievement: Selig led the owners through a four-year labor fight that resulted in the cancellation of a World Series and a 30 percent drop in baseball revenues. In the end, the owners gave away the farm simply for a promise from the Players Association that it won't sue. There is another mystery to be solved before we announce the grand-prize winner. All season, small groups of ticket buyers would gather at Twins' games, point to the large tent in the second deck in right-center field and ask, "What's that?" It was The Casbah, the new - and we hope permanent home – for the Turkey Banquet. The committee and its staff spent the summer inside The Casbah, making preparations for today's feast. This Thanksgiving, we have added to the drama by placing the 1996 Turkey of the Year under the cover of one our many sterling-silver serving trays. And here she is: Kerri Strug. Yes, it's the pixie of Atlanta, the little darling who wobbled on her landing, was given a hometown, gold medal decision worthy of South Korean boxing judges, allowed the tyrannical coach, Bela Karolyi, to carry her from the arena because of that turned ankle, and then - as a media creation - backed out on a post-Atlanta tour she had agreed to do with teammates. When informed on Wednesday of this honor, Strug squeaked: "It's a tribute to my focus and courage. I do have one request. Rather than turkey, stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy and pumpkin pie, I would like a small serving of Gerber's mashed carrots."

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53

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