Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Great Moments in Pool History - Firsts of Dubious Distinction

2000 - Sister Kissing

This particular commissioner doesn't have any sisters, so I don't know what it feels like and frankly am too polite to ask. What I do know is that we went ten years of this contest without ever having a tie at the top, then had three first-place ties in ten years, and then haven't had any since.

The first time we had two entrants who had to split the glory (and cash) was in the year 2000. J Donadio, Jr. and Mahalko both had 274 points, which incidentally was the lowest first-place total ever at that time (that record, however was "bested" in 2006, when (oddly enough) L Donadio won with just 268 points, and then shattered in 2011, when Huffnagle won with 223).

Five years later, Butscher and K Wanger (now K Ripley) split the prize, each having 308 points in 2005. Not to be outdone by his daughter, the third tie occurred four years after that, when R Wanger split the winnings with Nowakowski, each with 328 points in 2009.

2010 - Nobility

We always admire when someone plays the contest for the sheer joy of competing, without any hope of actually collecting any tangible reward. Though if it was us, we'd make sure to pay the fee and be eligible for the prizes. For the first 20 years of the contest, the truth appeared to be that those who chose not to pay did so because they really did have no hope of winning, because their picks were, shall we say, uninspiring.

Well, that truth burned to the ground in 2010, when non-paying Crotty won the contest in his first attempt, with 317 points, and was declared the most noble winner we'd ever had. His cash went to Biebel (305 points).

Five years later, it happened again. This time it was Tester, amazingly also in his first attempt, who won with 360 points. His cash went to Baumgarten (354 points).

Interestingly enough, Crotty played in our contest for five more years, and in each of those contests he chose to pay and thus play for both glory and cash. He never won again.

Tester stayed true to his ideals, has never paid, and finished 60th, 51st, and 44th in the years since his day in the sun. This year, he's currently sitting in 33rd place.

1995 - Extremes

Lest anyone think the winners of our contest possess innate talent of some kind that allows them to preternaturally pick better than the rest of us, we offer as Exhibit A commissioner D Kedson. The 1990 winner with 360 points turned around just five years later finished dead last, with a mere 196 points in 1995.

Exhibit B is even more interesting, as we bring you Mash Leach. In the three years preceding the Monster Mash's stunning 1997 victory (316 points), he'd managed to finish 80th, 81st, and 98th, including a last-place "performance" in 1994 (150 points).

In deference to the rest of our contestants, we feel obligated to point out that these two have been the only entrants to pull off this Jekyll-and-Hyde stunt. But we're sure a lot of others came close.

2014 - Two Time Losers

As we mentioned in a previous post, we've had five multi-time first-place prize winners. What we haven't mentioned (at least not yet) is that the contest has only seen one contestant who finished last more than once. That contestant was Urban's Angels who hit the bottom spot in 2013 (135 points) and again in 2014 (114 points, the 2nd-lowest total ever in our contest). Even more impressive, those two years were the only years that Urban's Angels entered our contest.

EDIT: Turns out Urban's Angels was NOT the only multi-last place finisher: Spitz achieved this dubious feat the year before anybody'd ever heard of Urban's Angels, in 2012, after also finishing last all the way back in 2001. And in this current 2019 contest, Mash Leach has finished last for the second time. So there's that.

Which seems like as good a place as any to end this post.

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