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The Springfield Nuclear Power Planet Softball Team and the Baseball Hall of Fame

January 8, 2015

On a 1992 episode of The Simpsons, Mr. Burns hires nine then-current Major League Baseball stars to be ringers on the company softball team, only to have nearly all be unable to play for various, bizarre reasons. With Baseball Hall of Fame inductees being announced this month, here’s a look at what happened to those players in real life (all of whom voiced their animated selves).

Springfield Softball TeamDon Mattingly (first base)

Coach Mr. Burns demands a clean-cut team, and he demands Mattingly shave off his sideburns. Mattingly keeps shaving his head, to no avail. Nearly bald, he’s angrily kicked off the team by Burns, screaming at him to shave off his sideburns.

Hall of Fame: The 2015 election marked Mattingly’s 15th year on the ballot. According to old Hall of Fame rules, players are eliminated from future consideration if they don’t get in during their first 15 attempts. Mattingly got 9.1 percent, way below the 75 percent threshold of votes needed for induction. (Should’ve shaved those sideburns, Mattingly.)

Steve Sax (second base)

Springfield police arrest Sax and send him to prison, framing him for a number of unsolved crimes.

Hall of Fame: On his first appearance on the ballot in 2000, Sax earned just 0.4 percent of the vote. 5 percent or more is required to reappear in subsequent years, so Sax never made the ballot again. (Sax was Simpsons’ writers second choice for second base. They asked Cubs star—and now Hall of Famer—Ryne Sandberg, but he turned down the offer.)

Wade Boggs (third base)

At Moe’s Tavern one night, Boggs gets in a drunken fight with Barney over who was the best English prime minister. Boggs argued for William Pitt the Elder; Barney held firm to Lord Palmerston. And then he knocked Wade Boggs out.

Hall of Fame: Boggs made it into the Hall in 2005, the first year he was eligible, with 91.5 percent of the vote.

Ozzie Smith (shortstop)

Smith visits the Springfield Mystery Spot, which isn’t a tacky tourist attraction or gravitational anomaly, but some kind of vortex…where he becomes lost forever.

Hall of Fame: Smith was a first-ballot inductee in 2002.

Jose Canseco (left field)

Canseco never shows up to the big softball game because he comes upon a house fire and saves a baby, then her cat, then her player piano, her appliances…

Hall of Fame: More famous for admitting to steroid use, appearing on reality shows, and, most recently, for severing a finger while cleaning a gun, Canseco’s slugger days have been overshadowed. On his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2007, Canseco got 1.1 percent, and was dropped from future consideration.

Ken Griffey, Jr. (center field)

Griffey gets addicted to nerve tonic, which gives him a giant head—literally.

Hall of Fame: He retired in 2011, and will be eligible for induction next year. He’s expected to be a near-unanimous first ballot pick.

Darryl Strawberry (right field)

Of the nine ringers, eight are unable to play. Only Strawberry shows up, and he plays the same position as Homer Simpson.

Hall of Fame: In his first year of eligibility in 2005, Strawberry got 1.1 percent of the vote and was dropped from future ballots.

Mike Scioscia (catcher)

Although he’s a ringer, Scioscia decides to actually work at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant. After a few days, he’s deathly ill with radiation poisoning. (Despite the character’s enthusiasm, Scioscia was writers’ second choice, after Cartlon Fisk said no.)

Hall of Fame: Scioscia retired in 1992, the same year this Simpsons episode aired. Eligible for the Hall in 1998, he didn’t make it onto the ballot. (But in 2002 he won a World Series as the manager of the Anaheim Angels.)

Roger Clemens (pitcher)

Clemens attends a show by a mentalist, and is hypnotized into thinking he’s a chicken. The spell can’t be broken.

Hall of Fame: Like Canseco, Clemens’ illustrious career has been tainted by links to performance enhancing substances. Clemens keeps showing up on the Hall of Fame ballot, though, but can’t quite make it in. This

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Matt G.
February 12, 2015 1:35 pm

The Springfield Nuclear Power Planet?

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