COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – The eight position players who were supposed to suit up for Montgomery Burns’ power plant softball team in a high-stakes championship game in 1992 combined to collect 16,762 hits in the major leagues, along with 67 All-Star Game appearances, 10 World Series rings, three MVPs, and three Rookie of the Year awards.
And yet Hall of Famers Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ozzie Smith, along with Don Mattingly, Steve Sax, Mike Scioscia, Jose Canseco and Darryl Strawberry — as well as pitcher Roger Clemens — are at least as well-known for their quarter-century old exploits with a bunch of four-fingered cartoon characters than anything they ever achieved on a baseball field.
“That’s really crazy, isn’t it?” Simpsons executive producer Al Jean said May 27, shortly after Homer Simpson — who collected the game-winning RBI against Shelbyville Nuclear by getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded — was “inducted” into the Hall of Fame following a rollicking roundtable discussing the “Homer at the Bat” episode.
“When you consider what they’ve done on the field,” Jean added, “The Simpsons is often the second item. Hall of Fame first and Simpsons second. Oh, come on. That’s ridiculous. [It’s a] big drop to us.”
Actually, it’s not a drop at all, judging from the unbridled exuberance Boggs, Smith, and Sax, along with executive story director Jeff Martin, casting director Bonnie Pietila, director Jim Reardon and executive producer Mike Reiss, displayed during what Boggs called a “25-year reunion.”
“I tell people all the time now that [The Simpsons] is the second most-asked question,” Smith said. “The first one is ‘Can you still do the flip?’ And the second one is ‘How did you enjoy being part of The Simpsons?’”