Ask a baseball fan his or her favorite episode of The Simpsons and 9 out of 10 times their answer should be ‘Homer at the Bat’, the episode in which Mr. Burns hires a bunch of professional baseball players to play in the company softball game.
As it turns out, Mr. Burns did pretty well in picking his players and got pretty much all the stars of the game by early 90’s standards. Considering it’s been over 15 years, I’d say it’s a good time to see what our old school favorite players are up to.
All images belong to M.L.B and Getty Images and were taken in 2008.
Mike Scioscia – Mike’s visit to Springfield ended in Mike suffering radiation poisoning which may be the reason he ended his career with a .259 lifetime average. Thankfully, he is a much better manager who led the Angels to their first ever World Series championship and has a very strong chance of repeating the feat this season.
Steve Sax -The former 5-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year was wrongfully charged with every single crime in New York after his horrible visit to Springfield and retired from baseball at the young age of 34. The best thing I can think of saying about Steve is that he led the league in singles 3 times from 1986 through 1989. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, he was also among the league leaders in caught steals in the 80’s, including a whopping 30 times in 1983!
Wade Boggs – While he may have been knocked out by town drunk, Barney—he made it back to the game in time to get 3,000+ hits and retired with a lifetime batting average of .328, earning him a spot in the Hall of Fame. More amazing than his numbers, Wade has managed to naturally grow hair on his once bald head. How does he do it?
Ozzie Smith -Ozzie’s fall into the Springfield Mystery Spot may have been a tragic one but no one will ever forget his 13 straight Gold Glove awards, along with 12 straight All-Star appearances for the San Diego Padres & St. Louis Cardinals. Much like James Brown couldn’t do his splits during concerts late in his career, it’s been many years since we have seen Ozzie’s lovable back flips but thanks to the power of YouTube, you can watch it again and again.
Ken Griffey Jr. – It took a visit to rehab and lots of therapy but today Ken Griffey Jr. is off the bottle of nerve tonic and is the only player featured in The Simpsons that is still playing baseball (and well). As of yesterday, Ken has 611 career home runs and can currently be seen playing for the Chicago White Sox, although a little heavier than you might remember. If you are near Chicago and haven’t made a trip to see him play, I’d do so ASAP because he won’t be around much longer.
Roger Clemens – Poor Roger Clemens was hypnotized into thinking he was a chicken in his visit to Springfield. In reality, “The Rocket” was a cheater who appeared in the dreaded ‘Mitchell Report’ earlier this season, wiping out any chance of an entry into the Hall of Fame. Clemens, pitched 24 seasons and won 354 games while striking out close to 4,700 batters.
Darryl Strawberry – For a while it seemed as if Darryl was a lost cause after several drug arrests and other brushes with the law but the man who once outshined Homer in his softball debut is doing much better these days and is making his fans proud again. Darryl retired in 1999 with 335 career home runs and exactly 1,000 RBI. The photo below was taken a couple of days ago. Something tells me this former Rookie of the Year and runner-up M.V.P could still jack a few dingers at Shea Stadium if given the chance.
Don Mattingly – Don, who no longer sports those pesky sideburns can be seen with his long time friend and former Yankees work mate, Joe Torrem trying to keep Manny from being Manny in Los Angeles. Mattingly, a former M.V.P for his amazing 1985 season, finished his career a .300+ lifetime hitter along with over 200 home runs and 1,000+ RBI.
Jose Canseco – Oh boy, where do I begin with this once future Hall of Famer now homeless Bash Brother? Jose, once destined for greatness never fully blossomed into the Cuban Babe Ruth many expected him to be and retired after being forced out of baseball. His memoir, released a few years later blew the lid off of baseball and the several cheaters in the game. Most recently Jose lost his home in a foreclosure, was knocked out by a former football player in a celebrity boxing fight, and appeared half naked on a reality TV program.
Oh, how the mightiest of might have fallen.