Baseball’s Hall of Fame will honor “The Simpsons” on May 27 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show’s “Homer at the Bat” episode, according to a media release from the Hall on Tuesday.
First televised on Feb. 20, 1992, “Homer at the Bat” featured future Hall of Famers Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ozzie Smith among the ringers on Homer Simpson’s Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team. Voices of the actual players were used in the episode, which also included Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Mike Scioscia and Darryl Strawberry.
Boggs and Smith are scheduled to appear at a round-table discussion at the Hall on May 27 that also includes episode executive producers Al Jean and Mike Reiss, director Jim Reardon, executive story editor Jeff Martin and casting director Bonnie Pietila.
“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, in the media release.
“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,” Idelson said in the media release. “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.”
“When I struck out in tee-ball, I never dreamed I’d make it to the Hall of Fame,” said Jean, one of the earliest writers for the show. “It shows what not following your dreams can do.”
In “Homer at the Bat,” Hall of Famers Smith, Boggs and Ken Griffey Jr. were three of the nine “ringers” brought in by the owner of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, C. Montgomery Burns, to ensure his team’s victory. But almost all of the stars were fated not to play, each having suffered a separate and unique misfortune leading up to the game. The voices of the actual players were used in the episode.
The traditional Hall of Fame Classic Home Run Derby will follow at noon at Doubleday Field as a lead-in to the ninth annual Hall of Fame Classic, a seven-inning legends game at Cooperstown’s historic Doubleday Field featuring six Hall of Famers and recently retired players representing all 30 major league teams.