The Heckler’s first-ever Sportsman of the Year could have gone to any of the five finalists, but in the end, Jay “Pick 6” Cutler got the nod. Here’s what nominators had to say about the four runners up.

Cubs GM Jim Hendry
Aaron Miles: “Last winter, I was halfway through filling out an application for Wal-Mart when he offered me $4.6 million guaranteed for two years. Goodbye food stamps, hello new Range Rover.”

Tom Ricketts: “Had the Cubs actually won a playoff game in ’07 or ’08 or even made the playoffs last season, the price of the team would have been at least 15 percent higher than I wound up paying, so I’m pretty thankful Jim’s made a lot of questionable moves.”

Mark DeRosa: “Sure, I missed being on the Cubs during the first half of last season, but had Jim never let me go to Cleveland, I never would have been traded to the Cardinals, and that was pretty sweet.”

Milton Bradley: “I’ll tear your [expletive deleted] face off.”

Kenny Williams: “Thanks to Jim’s free agent track record, I can acquire 10 contracts just as bad as Alex Rios’ and no one will notice. Welcome back to Chicago Juan Pierre!”

Joey Gathright: “Only one GM had the vision and courage to offer me a guaranteed contract based on my ability to jump over a car. Jim is a pioneer.”

Former Cubs OF Milton Bradley
Alfonso Soriano: “For at least one year my contract doesn’t look so terrible, not that really I care.”

Geovanny Soto: “No one’s talking about my sophomore slump and I owe that to Milton.”

Sammy Sosa: “Suddenly Sammy doesn’t look so bad, does he?”

Guy from Schaumburg: “That chick drinking the Mai Tai was really impressed by my ‘you suck Bradley’ taunt. I totally would have hooked up with her if I didn’t pass out in the sixth.”

Michael Darling (Chicago Cubs Security Guard): “I went the entire year without having to chase down any fans running on the field… thanks for scaring some sense into the crowd.”

Anonymous: “Milton! WOO! Bradley! WOO! Makes! WOO! Me! WOO! Look! WOO! Sane! WOO!”

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen
Nick Swisher: “Thanks for running me out of town Ozzie. It was really depressing to play for the Yankees, hang out with Jeter and win a World Championship.”

Jay Mariotti: “Another year, another 200 stories without ever stepping foot into a stadium. Thanks for the fodder Ozzie.”

Dewayne Wise: “Ozzie said he’d send me back to Charlotte if I didn’t nominate him.”

Kelly Fitzgerald (MLB Charitable Director): “Thanks to Ozzie’s inability to censor himself we increased our donations 25 percent since he became manager. He might be the greatest inadvertent philanthropist I’ve ever heard of.”

Bulls head coach Vinny Del Negro
Isiah Thomas: “Thanks to Vinny I now have an outside chance at getting another NBA coaching job.”

John Paxson: “Vinny’s ineptitude has helped Bulls fans forget that I blew chances to acquire Garnett, Kobe and Pau Gasol.”

Derrick Rose: “Vinnie keeps a bowl full of M&Ms on his desk and doesn’t make me go to class. He’s like Coach Calipari … only with M&Ms.”

John Wall: “I’ve never been a fan of New Jersey or Minneapolis, now there’s a chance I could get to start my career in Chicago.”

Brad Miller: “Vinny’s example is just the motivation I needed to get myself into shape for hunting season.”

From the December 2009 issue by Brad Zibung and Rich Fruin