Butkus League Profiles : Raj

Years ago there was a magazine called “Chicago Sports Profiles”. The magazine featured stories about Chicago athletes from the local teams. My mom bought me a subscription and I loved it. Therefore, using that theme I thought I’d write profiles of our Butkus League members. Not only should it be a fun trip down memory lane but also the goal is to inform readers about these famous fantasy leaguers. We’re gonna start out with a defunct star, known as “The Raj”.

Butkus League Profiles : Raj

AKA : Rajesh Salgia

Team : Raj’s Nittany Lions penn st. logo

Alias(es) :

  • Raj Pa (Long before the term “rhythmic slapping” was invoked, Raj loved Joe Paterno. It’s a shame really. In tribute, consider singing Raj’s theme song “It’s a Shame About Raj” sung to the tune of “It’s a Shame About Ray” by The Lemonheads)
  • Raj Mahal (Raj is Indian. Get it?)
  • Rajer (like Roger)

Years : 1999, 2000, 2004 (Current status : defunct)

Championships : none

Bowl Record : 0-1 (Raj only played in one bowl game, a miserable 2004 Pop Warner Bowl (9th Place bowl) loss to Jon 93-56, good for 10th Place out of 10 members. Ughsauce. Raj retired shortly thereafter. Probably a good idea Raj Mahal.)

raj salgia and reid at charmor
Raj & Reid in our CharMor apartment – circa 1995-’97

Known For :

  • His traditional Indian Bollywood wedding dance caught on video (goto: https://www.facebook.com/salgia/videos/vb.617336674/10150222006706675/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab)
  • Redskins mugs
  • Dikembe Mutombo
  • Loving Penn St., especially ’94 PSU starring QB Kerry Collins, RB Ki-Jana Carter, FB Brian Milne, WR Bobby Engram, WR Freddie Scott, and TE Kyle Brady
  • Reading the sports section of the paper during elaborate “vegetable casserole” lunches
  • His cousin also named, what else?…….. Raj
  • Competitiveness, especially in our college years when we’d compete in everything. Raj was an avid basketballer as well as a racquet sports enthusiast. He was an excellent tennis player. Raj Pa was a really solid athlete, starring on several intramural teams (named “Lee Corso”) at the U of I.
  • Quilting (I made that one up. I don’t believe Raj loves quilting, but I could be wrong.)
(L to R) : Raj, Simon, Reid, Derek, Mike, & Brandon at Derek’s 40th Birthday Party (February 23, 2013)

Accolades :

  • Raj set our record for highest score in a week in the first scoring period in Butkus League history. He scored 215 points in Week 1, 1999. His record would stand for ten weeks until Simon broke the record with 225 points in Week 11, 1999.
  • Raj Mahal finished in 3rd Place in 1999. He scored 1723 points in 12 weeks, falling just 24 points shy of Leo (1747) and 34 points shy of Derek (1757) which would have earned him a spot in Butkus Bowl I. Unfortunately for Raj, he didn’t even earn a Rice Bowl bid as we didn’t have other bowls yet in that first year. We started secondary “consolation” bowls with the Rice Bowl and Corso Classic in 2000.
  • In his second year, Raj co-managed his team with Derek’s brother Luke. Did Raj do much of the work? or was it Luke? The world may never know. We dubbed their team “Luke/Raj” and it will remain in the history books as “Luke/Raj”. Luke/Raj finished 7th out of 8 teams in 2000. In 2001 Luke took over for Raj full time. So long Raj Mahal!
  • Suddenly Raj got the itch again in 2004. The Rajer was back! If I have this right, Raj attended the 2004 Draft on 8/21/04. Then he never made a waiver move all season. What happened?!? (see below for more)
  • Raj holds the record for lowest score in a single week. His team scored 13 points in Week 9, 2004. 13 points! That takes some serious effort. This remains the record and is the equivalent of Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak or maybe Cy Young’s 511 wins. 13 points? We start 11 guys including the team defense. It’s safe to say nobody will ever break this record.

Pantheon : All 1999 Butkus League Draft picks (Some great iconic players!)

  • 1999 #5 Overall Pick: QB Quincy “Ice Water” Carter/Georgia
  • RB Shaun Alexander/Alabama – A fantastic career with Seattle Seahawks, Alexander rushed for over 9000 yards and scored 100 TD’s in the NFL
  • QB Carson Palmer/USC – 2002 Heisman Trophy, just retired from the Arizona Cardinals
  • RB Anthony “A-Train” Thomas/Michigan – “A-Train” had a short but solid career with the Chicago Bears
  • WR Troy Walters/Stanford – Walters is currently Nebraska’s offensive coordinator

Funny stories :

The Butkus League is not for the faint of heart. One time we all thought Raj had gone home after the Draft at Jeff’s apartment. (Could this have been the infamous 8/21/2004 Draft?) We continuously ripped on Raj’s draft. “He made some really idiotic picks tonight. What was he thinking? Yeah, Raj must have been on drugs. He did very poorly. He sucks!?!” Then suddenly Raj walked out of Jeff’s bathroom and proclaimed, “I’m still here guys!”

Doh! ……….. That was the last time the Butkus League ever saw Raj. He quit before the 2005 Draft. Once again, “It’s a Shame About Raj!” – Lemonheads

The Hail Mary :

Raj is one of the originals. In fact, we met him in August of 1993. Brian and I were fresh out of Lake Zurich and along with Derek (a sophomore in Fall ’93) we met Raj in our first dorm meeting organized by the RA’s (Resident Advisors) from the 4th floor of Hopkins Hall. It was a great bonding experience for us. We got to meet everyone on our floor and find out more about them. We loved Raj right away. He told us he was from Wheaton and loved referencing his alma mater Wheaton Warrenville South High School, home of the great Red Grange, whose name adorns Wheaton’s football field, known as “Red Grange Field.” Derek, Raj, and I ended up getting an apartment together in ’95. Our friendship continued after graduation.

Needless to say, when we formed the Butkus League, Raj became one of the “Original Seven” members. He showed so much fantasy promise in ’99. Then it all fell apart. Nonetheless, Raj remains a great friend. Most of us saw the Raj Mahal at Derek’s 40th Birthday Party at Meson Sabika in Naperville in 2013. It was a blast! Always fantastic seeing the Rajer.

Sometimes fantasy fantasies fail, but friends are forever. Hail to the Raj!

Reid & the Raj Mahal – February 23, 2013


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