ESPN’s Page 2 points us to a trend that our BWE readers (and my multitude of Simpson nerd, sports hating friends) can certainly appreciate: the nine legendarily lucky Major League Baseball players who appeared in the memorable “Homer at the Bat” episode from Season Three claim that all these years later, Hall of Fame caliber careers behind them, they’re still often recognized solely because of their appearances on the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant’s softball team. Wade Boggs (5 batting titles, 12-time All Star, 3010 career hits) admits:
“People will come up and say, ‘Weren’t you on “The Simpsons”?'” Boggs answered. “And I’ll say, ‘Yeah, among other things.'”
“Oh, God, I didn’t realize how many people watched that show,” Don Mattingly said. “All I heard at the stadium after that was ‘Mattingly, I told you to shave those sideburns.’ I still hear it.”
I imagine Daryl Strawberry and Jose Canseco have dubiously removed themselves from this distinction, and Roger Clemens’ merits probably overshadow his sole appearance as a chicken-clucking yellow caricature, but still, is there a greater testament to peoples’ widespread and everlasting affection for “The Simpsons” than accounts like this? Just imagining the same thing happening to Paul McCartney, Bono, Mel Gibson, or Britney Spears, even once, is a funny enough thought for me to guarantee myself in my mind that it has happened at least once. For people like Tito Puente and Jasper Johns, I’ll bet the majority of people only know them from their Simpsons appearances.
Besides “Seinfeld” and the likes of Jon Voight and Keith Hernandez, I’m not sure what other show could have had this kind of impact. Maybe “Drew Carey” with the city of Cleveland?