What do Ken Griffey Jr., Darryl Strawberry, Wade Boggs, Mike Scioscia, Jose Canseco, Ozzie Smith, Steve Sax, Don Mattingly and Roger Clemens have in common?
They were all great baseball players, yes, but they were also the nine MLB stars forever immortalized in cartoon lore when they appeared on the "Homer at the Bat" episode of The Simpsons back in 1992.
Now, that episode of the popular show is being honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, as it will receive an induction ceremony this weekend.
According to the president of the Hall of Fame, honoring some of the best pop culture baseball history is a big part of what Cooperstown is about (via the Hall of Fame's website):
“In Cooperstown, we salute baseball’s greatest contributors, preserve its vast history and salute the cultural side of the sport. We are honored to pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of ‘Homer at the Bat,’” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “The Simpsons has left an impressive imprint on our culture as the longest-running American sitcom, and ‘Homer at the Bat’ remains as popular today as when the episode aired in 1992. Baseball is recognized as our National Pastime due to its wide intersection with American culture over the last two centuries, evident in literature, theater, language, art, music, film and television. The Simpsons is a perfect example of that connection to Americana.”
Homer Simpson will make a virtual speech at the ceremony, which will also feature some of the show's writers and other appearances.
Al Jean, one of the show's long-time writers, said he was honored to be a part of baseball history and have an episode he wrote end up in the Hall of Fame:
“When I struck out in tee-ball, I never dreamed I'd make it to the Hall of Fame,” said Jean. “It shows what not following your dreams can do.”
In the popular episode, the nine MLB stars are brought in to Springfield to work at Mr. Burns's nuclear power plant and serve as ringers on the company's softball team.
However, due to a series of mishaps, only Darryl Strawberry, who plays Homer's position, is available on game day.
Often seen as one of the best episodes of the show - an impressive feat considering The Simpsons is currently airing episodes from its 28th season - it will now take its rightful place alongside Griffey, Smith and the other greats in MLB history.
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