Monday, July 21, 2008

The FDH Lounge Pantheon -- First Inductees

By Rick Morris

Yesterday, The FDH Lounge inducted its first class of enshrinees into The Pantheon, our new virtual institution designed to honor the best of the best in various categories. Categories in The Pantheon are extraordinarily wide-ranging, matching the diverse content found both here and on our Internet TV show, where we argued the merits and demerits of the various candidates. As always, we urge you to check out the archives of the program from the website.

Our Senior Editor Jason Jones joined me as always during the broadcast, as did two members of our new Friends of FDH Club: Russ Cohen from Sportsology and Paul Belfi from SportsTalkNetwork. We also opened ballots from many other Dignitaries: Bob Glassman, Nathan Noy, Joe Lindway, Tony Mazur, Samantha Jones, Steve the FDH New York Bureau, Mike Morris, Chris Galloway and Jon Adams. The four of us who participated in the broadcast broke any ties that arose in the different categories.

Time to announce our inductees. Unless otherwise noted by a number in parentheses, each candidate received one vote. Also, please note that some of our Dignitaries had some fun with the proceedings, as they were free to do, so some votes (just a few here and there) were cast primarily with mirth in mind.

BEST PRESIDENT: Ronald Reagan (4 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: John F. Kennedy, (2 votes), Teddy Roosevelt (2 votes), Calvin Coolidge, Andrew Jackson, George Washington, Harry Truman, John Quincy Adams
NOTES: Although it might surprise some, I was not among the Reagan voters, casting my ballot for Coolidge instead. As was the case with most categories, the arguments deployed on behalf of different presidents were very strong.

OTHER CANDIDATES: Italy (2 votes), United Kingdom (2 votes), Australia, China, Rome (the Republic before the Empire)
NOTES: Belfi about fell off of his stool laughing when I cast my vote for Canada and noted, "Now, I admit, this is the only other country I have ever visited." Nevertheless, I'm qualified to opine on any land! America's Hat wins in a landslide.

BEST MOTION PICTURE: The Godfather (2 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: The Whole Nine Yards, Transformers, Castaway, Spartacus, The Natural, Animal House, Blazing Saddles, Pirates of the Caribbean, Rocky III, Citizen Kane, The Shawshank Redemption
NOTES: We had a very wide field of potential candidates here, with nominated films being included from several genres.

BEST THESPIAN: Kevin Costner (2 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Cheech & Chong, Robin Williams, John Wayne, Jason Alexander, Michael Caine, Jimmy Stewart, Al Pacino, the first ancient Greek to portray Oedipus
NOTES: Top that field for diversity of performers!

BEST FEMALE BOMBSHELL: Raquel Welch (2 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Erin Andrews, Kate Beckinsale, Heidi Klum, Sarah Michelle Geller, Phoebe Cates, Bo Derek, Carmen Electra, Pam Anderson, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Newmar, Christie Brinkley (circa first SI swimsuit cover)
NOTES: Even at age 67, Raquel is still bringing it, although the votes cast for her were cast with her prime in mind. Remarkably, none of us voted for Helen Mirren even with her new bikini pics having been released!

BEST MUSICAL PERFORMER/GROUP: Bon Jovi (2 votes -- wins on tiebreaker)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Linkin Park (2 votes), Rush, Van Halen, Yes, The Eagles, U2, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queen, Beethoven (!!!)
NOTES: How ironic that Jason and I, the FDH principals, would have never countenanced a vote for Bon Jovi -- and indeed, we lobbied heavily for Linkin Park on the tiebreaker vote -- and our event ends up bestowing this honor anyway. Ah, irony.

BEST TV SHOW: All in the Family (2 votes -- wins on tiebreaker)
OTHER CANDIDATES: The Office/NBC version (2 votes), Heroes, The Odd Couple, Curb Your Enthusiasm, St. Elsewhere, The Brady Bunch, Family Guy, Cheers, Ninja Warrior G4, Happy Days
NOTES: Again, Jason and I are overridden as our efforts on behalf of The Office went for naught in the tiebreaker. Our favorite caller Andy from Toledo sent in the email that broke the tie, although an email voting for The Office followed not long after that. Our crop was heavy on sitcoms, but fairly diverse in terms of types of them.

OTHER CANDIDATES: Jerry from Tom and Jerry, Tom and Jerry collectively, Lion-O, Boris Badanov, Smurfette, Bullwinkle, Toki Wartooth, Charlie Brown, Krusty the Clown
NOTES: We had a fairly wide range of cartoon characters represented in this group.

OTHER CANDIDATES: Batman (2 votes), Spiderman (2 votes), Jughead, Tony Stark/Ironman, Veronica, Professor Charles Xavier, Brown Hornet, Spawn
NOTES: The majority of votes were collectively cast for what were perhaps the three biggest names in the genre. One of the funniest moments of the night: I prefaced my vote by saying that I was voting on the basis of the character I found most personally entertaining, not the biggest superhero, whereupon Jason (without ever hearing me discuss this character before) correctly called my Jughead vote. When I asked how he could have predicted it, he said merely, "I know you." When I then asked if I was that predictable, everyone answered simply, "Yes!"

BEST PRO WRESTLER: Ric Flair (3 votes -- wins on tiebreaker)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Roddy Piper (3 votes), The Rock, Bruno Sammartino, Abdullah the Butcher, Johnny Powers, Scott Steiner, Mankind, Buzz Sawyer
NOTES: This one ran across a wide spectrum as well. Deservedly, though, the Nature Boy earned his spot in The Pantheon once the tiebreaker round ended.

BEST FOOTBALL PLAYER: Jim Brown (4 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Lawrence Taylor, Leroy Kelly, Joe Montana, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson, Rocket Ismail, Red Grange
NOTES: Old school, new school, complete buffoonery, we were all over the place on this one.

BEST BASKETBALL PLAYER: Michael Jordan (6 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Larry Bird (2 votes), Lebron James (2 votes), Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving
NOTES: I couldn't get anybody to go along with my "Big O" pick, but the Jordan cliche pull was just too strong for too many.

BEST RACE CAR DRIVER -- ANY CIRCUIT: Richard Petty (2 votes -- wins on tiebreaker)
OTHER CANDIDATES: A.J. Foyt, (2 votes), Ricky Bobby (2 votes -- couldn't have been an original joke if two people thought of it!), Mario Andretti, Danica Patrick, Michael Schumacher, Bill Vukovich Sr., Dale Earnhardt, Sr., Jeff Gordon
NOTES: My pick, Foyt, probably didn't get enough respect for being the single greatest all-around driver ever in light of his vast success at both open-wheel and stock car driving. My runner-up pick of Big Daddy Don Garlits certainly deserved to be nominated by somebody.

BEST HOCKEY PLAYER: Wayne Gretzky (5 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Mario Lemieux (2 votes), Bobby Orr, Patrick Roy, Mark Messier, Brett Hull, Gordie Howe, Andy "Death Machine" Busch
NOTES: As with Reagan, somebody could look at this list and think that I as the resident Red Wing honk voted for "Mr. Hockey." I did not, instead casting my vote for a player who changed the game with his revolutionary offensive greatness on the blue line, Bobby Orr.

BEST BASEBALL PITCHER: Nolan Ryan (3 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Mariano Rivera (2 votes), Greg Maddux (2 votes), Tom Seaver, Walter Johnson, Randy Johnson, John Rocker, Satchel Paige, Babe Ruth
NOTES: From Walter Johnson (my pick) to Randy Johnson, this was another category where our thoughts were all over the place. I did think that we ended up wrong on this one, as Ryan had a great long career, but had few dominant seasons.

BEST BASEBALL HITTER: Babe Ruth (4 votes)
OTHER CANDIDATES: Tony Gwynn (2 votes), Pete Rose (2 votes), Willie Mays (2 votes), Ted Williams, Manny Ramirez, Hank Aaron
NOTES: Babe Ruth was the only inductee nominated in more than one category, as he also received a vote for Best Pitcher! Given that the stated criteria included defense as a consideration, I cast my vote for Mays as the single greatest all-around position player ever.

Many thanks to all who participated to make this such a great event. We will be bringing our second installment in late 2008 or early 2009.

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