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October 30, 2009

Field Notes: Celebrating In Quotes' Sweet 16

It was 16 years ago this month, in October 1993, that the “In Quotes” feature began appearing in Maroon Sports. In almost every issue since then, In Quotes has reprinted quips—by turns funny, sad, surprising, and telling—from athletes and fans at all levels of play. It’s what the followers of Maroon Sports read first. If they’re like me, it’s the only thing in the section they do read.

For In Quotes’ Sweet 16, I’ve picked my favorite lines since the very first—“My special contribution was the tongue,” Michael Jordan; October 8, 1993—was printed. The date provided for each is the original date of publication in the Maroon.

November 2, 1993

"I’m a combination of the Terminator and Bambi."

Shaquille O’Neal

November 23, 1993

"Music soothes my savage beast. I got a beast in me running wild."

Dennis Rodman

January 21, 1994

"Me and Penny are going to be the Kareem and Magic of the '90s."

Shaquille O’Neal

February 15, 1994

"Hey, any team can have a bad century."

Tom Trebelhorn, on the Chicago Cubs

February 18, 1994

"We Norwegians are born with skis on our feet. Of course this is hard on our mothers. But that’s the way it is."

Bjarn Helmtvedt

May 9, 1994

"If I get within 20 feet of the plate, I’ll be lucky."

Former University President Hugo Sonnenschein, on throwing out the first pitch at Comiskey

October 21, 1994

"It’s so nice to have such smart athletes."

Overheard at a U of C game

December 6, 1994

"There’s no medical term for what I’ve got."

Charles Barkley

March 31, 1995

"I’m back."

Michael Jordan

April 14, 1995

"The best part was when the Grinch beat up the little dog and threw him down the hill. My brother and I laughed. The Grinch is my favorite Christmas memory."

Detroit Lion Chris Spielman

March 5, 1996

"Auburn’s a great school, and it pays well, too."

Charles Barkley, advising John Stockton’s son on where to attend college

May 7, 1996

"Marge Schott in a lime teddy."

Bob Costas, on his worst nightmare

August 16, 1996

"Let’s face it: I’m not Wesley or Denzel."

Shaquille O'Neal, a month after the release of Kazaam

April 11, 1997

"If anybody says they get used to it, you don’t."

Jim Leyland, on Chicago weather

May 13, 1997

"There’s no image we can’t improve."

Minolta ads featuring Dennis Rodman

May 22, 1998

"Whoever sucker punched me, it’s not over."

Darryl Strawberry

October 8, 1999

"Anyone who tells me soccer is boring, I’m going to punch them in the face."

MLS coach David Dir

April 7, 2000

"I don’t like to wear a visor."

Toronto Maple Leaf Bryan Berard, after being blinded in one eye by a puck

November 7, 2000

"I don’t know where everybody’s getting the news that I’m at death’s door and all that crap. I just ate a hamburger."

Ted Williams, after being hospitalized

November 17, 2000

"He’s a partier."

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Chris Gatling, on why he voted for George W. Bush

January 1, 2001

"The ball was large sometimes, the ball was small sometimes, sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn’t."

Former Pirates pitcher Doc Ellis, on throwing a no-hitter while using LSD

May 7, 2002

"I wish that you guys had children, so that I could kick them in the head or stomp on their testicles, so that they could feel that pain, because that’s the pain I have waking up everyday."

Mike Tyson, in a press conference

May 17, 2002

"How do you know that I’m out of control? Maybe I’m just awkward."

Los Angeles Laker’s forward Robert Horry, arguing with referees over a foul call

April 11, 2003

"I hope I never see my name up there."

Yogi Berra, after the Yankees honored recently-deceased former players by displaying their names on a scoreboard

January 17, 2007

"I’d just pick the ball up and kick that shit out of the stadium, game over."

The Game, on how he’d beat David Beckham at soccer

——

Internet Exclusives:

November 2, 1993

"I pitch like my hair is on fire."

Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams

November 16, 1993

"He can beat hisn with yourn, and yourn with hisn."

Bum Phillips, on Don Shula

January 7, 1994

"I like Jim. I’d let him marry my daughter. I just wouldn’t let him quarterback my team."

Ron Meyer, on Bears quarterback Jim Harbaugh

January 11, 1994

"If you come into my house, I’m going to hurt you."

Manute Bol (220 lbs), to Shaquille Oneal (301 lbs)

January 18, 1994

"They can’t stop me."

Ricky Waters, in the huddle after his first NFL carry

January 21, 1994

"The interceptions and two fumbles? Those just happened at the wrong time."

Cowboys coach Barry Switzer, on the previous weekend’s loss

January 25, 1994

"Strikes are like throwing babies back and forth: Everybody loses."

Hawks owner Bill Wirth, on the possibility of a players’ strike

January 27, 1994

"It’ll be fat on fat. If we rub against each other the wrong way, we’ll start a grease fire."

Nate Newton, on playing against William “The Fridge” Perry

April 4, 1995

"This is where the atomic bomb was created… that’s a great school."

Ernie Banks, speaking at the University of Chicago

April 25, 1995

"Let’s face it: This is the toy department of life."

Howard Cosell, on sports

May 19, 1995

"Jordan never won a ring without Horace [Grant]."

Sign at an Orlando Magic game

October 27, 1995

"You want some more of this?"

Michael Jordan, before fighting Steve Kerr in practice

January 12, 1996

"I’m getting screwed out there so much I need a chastity belt."

Dennis Rodman, complaining about referees

January 16, 1996

"I am a tropical black man."

Shaquille O’Neal

February 2, 1996

"We aren’t playing as well as we’d like."

Scottie Pippen, on the Bulls’ record 39-3 start

February 13, 1996

"They’re some combination of warm and fuzzy and the kid next door."

David Stern, on Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal

May 14, 1996

"Create havoc, create destruction."

Dennis Rodman, on his role with the Bulls

May 24, 1996

"I’m lucky. I’m blessed. I’m happy. I just don’t show it."

White Sox designated hitter Harold Baines

June 28, 1996

"Minnesota’s a great city."

Ray Allen, after the Timberwolves traded him to Milwaukee

July 19, 1996

"It’s not about the money."

Shaquille O’Neal, after signing a $123-million dollar contract

August 9, 1996

"It’s just a family outing."

Parents of Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard, on her chaperoned date with Dennis Rodman

December 3, 1996

"It was like a hog going at a sweet potato in the middle of the mud."

Panthers linebacker Kevin Greene after a win

January 10, 1997

"When I play against Michael, I try to kill him."

Charles Barkley, on Michael Jordan

April 4, 1997

"There’s no 'I' in Minnesota."

Clem Haskins

May 6, 1997

"I’m a man who believes in bondage and discipline."

Chicago sports radio host Terry Boers

May 13, 1997

“There’s no image we can’t improve.”

Minolta ads featuring Dennis Rodman

August 22, 1997

"When I ask myself what I should do in a situation, I always wonder, 'What would Jesus do?'"

Deion Sanders

November 6, 1998

"I can still kick your ass."

Governor-elect Jesse Ventura, to a Vikings player

November 13, 1998

"All of my projects are done right because I know the game, and I consider myself a rap expert."

Shaquille O’Neal, shortly after dropping "Respect," his fourth album

January 29, 1999

"Last I heard, I was being traded to Washington for Monica Lewinsky."

Theo Fleury, of the Calgary Flames

February 16, 1999

"We use him to pose for our trophies."

The Nets' Jayson Williams, on the 5-foot-5 Earl Boykins

February 19, 1999

"I had Charlotte, or the Dairy Queen in Sheboygan Falls."

Joe Wolf, on signing with the Hornets

March 7, 2000

"I’m going to be sarcastic and have fun."

Charles Barkley, on being hired as an announcer by Turner Sports (a watershed in the history of In Quotes)

May 23, 2000

"I thought it was excellent, to tell you the truth."

Rush Limbaugh, on auditioning for Monday Night Football

November 10, 2000

"The only good thing George W. Bush has ever done is fire Bobby Valentine. If he ran on that, he would win easy."

A baseball agent, speaking to the New York Post

January 16, 2001

"There’s nothing more aggravating than seeing a guy wearing a headband and shooting airballs."

NBA player Slick Watts, who began the league’s headband trend

February 2, 2001

"I don’t want to go to no Disneyland anyway."

Ray Lewis, after getting named Super Bowl MVP, and then passed up for Disney’s annual “I’m going to Disneyworld” ad

February 9, 2001

"If I wanted to watch pretend football, I’ll just watch the Jets."

David Letterman, on the XFL

February 27, 2001

"We obviously missed the fact that Darrin [Morris] was dead. It is regrettable."

The president of the World Boxing Organization, after the WBO ranked a dead man

May 11, 2001

"You can’t go up to a woman and say, 'I think you’d be good at sumo.'"

Sid Hoare, president of the British Sumo Association, on his trouble recruiting women

March 1, 2002

"It’s hard to get up for a good high-school team like the Chicago Bulls."

Shaquille O’Neal

July 19, 2002

"God’s got his back."

Allen Iverson’s mother, regarding her son’s legal troubles

October 18, 2002

"The only unusual thing was the Slurpee out of the sock."

49ers coach Steve Mariucci, after Terrell Owens scored and pulled a Sharpie from his sock to sign the football

November 5, 2002

"I have two weapons: my legs, my arm, and my brains."

Michael Vick

January 21, 2003


"You know what? It’s just one of those things."

Damon Stoudamire, after being charged with possession of a pound of marijuana

October 17, 2004

"He’s not your normal, can-eating, tied-up-in-the-back goat. This goat looks like he just came out of a goat contest."

Former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, on a recent encounter with a billy goat

February 27, 2007

"If it fits in a skillet, I kill it. I eat everything I kill."

Orioles pitcher Jamie Walker

February 5, 2008

"The defense—the strength of this Patriots team—got debacled."

Emmitt Smith, after the undefeated Patriots’ Superbowl loss to the Giants

——

Through the years, there have been some mainstays of the In Quotes: Michael Jordan has been quoted 17 times, and been the subject of eight other quotes. Shaq has provided 16 quotes, and been addressed in five. Dennis Rodman gave us 13 quotes, and was the inspiration for seven. Charles Barkley (13 times the speaker, once the subject) appeared early in the In Quotes (first quoted February 4, 1994), but has come on especially strong since moving from the hardwood to the announcer’s box in 2000. That professional basketballers should be In Quotes' four most-frequent contributors I take to be the result of two factors: First, of course, the Bulls' dominance in the '90s and their significance to Chicagoans; and second, the star power and personalities that make the NBA as much fun as it is.

A couple more fun In-Quotes facts. The city of Jacksonville, Florida has three times been harshly criticized by In Quotes commentators: twice by a Baltimore columnist during the NFL's 1995 expansion to Jacksonville and Charlotte, and once, a decade later, for entirely unrelated reasons.

As a team, the Cubs have been a surprisingly infrequent subject of In Quotes. Eight In Quotes have fallen somewhere between poking fun at and out-and-out ridiculing the North Siders' struggles, a handful have made neutral or indifferent points, and just once, during In Quotes' 16-year run, has an unambiguously positive comment on the Cubs been published.