7. Walter Ray Williams Jr.
I sure wish they'd stop airing those Denny's commercials with him on the Sunday PBA telecasts on ESPN (surely someone in the Denny's creative team can come up with a new idea...what's the Moons Over My Hammy guy/gal up to these days?) and he isn't the most charismatic man in the world, but he is quite possibly the greatest bowler of all time. At the very least, he's earned a spot in the conversation. But of course you know all that. And I feel your jealousy. Second-best photo with a Jr. this year.
6. Cal Ripken Jr.
The Iron Man lived up to his nice-guy reputation at the book signing he did at the downtown NYC Borders, where he personalized books, pretty much signed whatever you wanted, and posed for photos with everyone who asked. And that was great and all, but it turned into a three-hour-plus signing, which is problematic when you're at the signing during your lunch hour from your job across the river. I left work at 12:15 and got back around 3:45. But it all worked out OK. Except, despite my best efforts, you can see me in the background of an episode of the YES Network's "Yankees Ultimate Road Trip 3." There's a show I never thought I'd appear on. I still feel dirty.
5. Porter Wagoner
It bums me out that I don't look just a little better in this photo. But it bums me out even more that Porter Wagoner's gone. As I've said, though, I'm glad he had a nice final act. Rest in peace, Porter.
4. Billy Joe Shaver
If more than three of the people on my Holiday Greeting List would have known who Billy Joe Shaver was, this would've made the cut this year. It's neck and neck with the picture of me and Hunter S. Thompson for my all-time favorite celebrity photo.
There is probably no single performer I enjoy watching in concert more than Billy Joe Shaver. He is the type of person for whom the word "captivating" was invented (that sounds very James Liptonesque, but it also happens to be true). After this photo was snapped (or maybe it was just before), I took a picture of a woman who was so captivated by Billy Joe's presence that she was literally shaking after the photo was taken. I was able to keep it in check.
NEXT: The first runner-up and the two winners. Exciting!