Monday, March 5, 2012

As seen on TV

Over the years, baseball players and television programs have clashed on several occasions.

They don't always blend well, though. One of my all-time favorite TV shows is "Arli$$". ESPN Classic used to rerun episodes at around one in the morning, and I always recorded them and watched them the following day.

The show was fantastic, but they had a ton of athletes who did an absolutely horrible job acting.

So for those athletes' sake, I won't be using any of the guest appearances from "Arli$$" on this list.

Chuck Connors had one of the most fascinating lives in history, from what I've read about him. He was a big-league ballplayer in 1949 and '51 for the Dodgers and Cubs. He also had a brief NBA career, playing in two seasons for the Celtics from 1946 to '48. Not only that, but he was drafted by the Chicago Bears, if that wasn't enough. (He never played in the NFL, though.)

Connors went on to have a successful acting career, securing the lead role in the 1960's Western show The Rifleman.

My dad and I used to watch the Brady Bunch on TV Land when I was younger.

I haven't watched that show in years, but I vividly remember the episodes that featured Dodgers greats Don Drysdale and Wes Parker.

In one of the episodes, Greg lets a compliment from Drysdale get into his head, causing his grades to fall. Drysdale comes back to knock Greg back into reality. As with all '70s sitcoms, Greg realizes the error of his ways and becomes realistic again after being shelled in a baseball game. ("And then the coach gave Greg the hook!")

Wes Parker ("A real life Dodger!") appears as the boyfriend of Greg's math teacher in one episode, promising Greg two tickets to the Dodgers' Opening Day game if he gets an A on his next math test.

I don't really have that wide of a taste in television shows, so most of these last ones are going to be from Seinfeld.

As I've mentioned before, Seinfeld is, without question, my favorite TV show.

A few Yankees players have appeared on the show, due to the fact that George lands a job with the Yankees in the later seasons.

Danny Tartabull appeared on the show not once...

...but twice.

In one of my favorite biographies ever featured on a baseball card, Tartabull's 1997 Topps card reads "Danny has twice appeared in the TV series 'Seinfeld'."

Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter both briefly appeared on Seinfeld together.

As George often does with Yankee players, he tries to help Williams and Jeter with their swings. In one of my favorite lines of dialogue from the show, Jeter says, "We won the World Series, you know."

To which George smugly replies, "In six games."

You've got to bring these guys up when you're talking about Seinfeld.

Roger McDowell is probably more known for being "The Second Spitter" than a major-league pitcher, delivering the "magic loogie".

Kramer and Newman are under the impression that Hernandez was the one that spit on them, but Hernandez tells them otherwise at the close of the show. ("Nice game, pretty boy!")

Bob Uecker appeared on the TV show Mr. Belvedere for a short time, although I've never seen it.

Although I've only discussed TV shows thus far, Uecker has to be brought up when talking about athletes-turned-actors.

People still recite Harry Doyle's famous "Juuuust a bit outside" line from the film Major League. 

Call me crazy, but I actually like the Major League II better than the first one. The brawl scene is still one of my favorite parts of any movie. 

Uecker has a pretty prominent role in the sequel as well. The way he goes from a drunken stupor to being full of enthusiasm once the brawl starts is one of the best parts of the movie.

I'm sure there's a lot of athlete cameos in television shows and/or movies that I haven't yet seen.

For now, I'll enjoy watching Harry Doyle.


hiflew said...

I really enjoyed Mr. Belvedere as a kid. It was very low brow comedy, but I was 10 so it was cool. I remember one episode that had Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, and Mickey Mantle among others on the show. I don't remember the (scripted) reason they appeared, but I remember loving that episode.

Another of my favorite shows that featured baseball cameos was Cheers. It made sense, because Ted Danson's character was a (fictional) former Red Sox reliever. One that stands out was an episode where Wade Boggs was pantsed because they didn't believe he was Wade Boggs. Very funny show.

Mike said...

What about the Everybody Loves Raymond episode with Johnny Bench?...doesn't Frank piss him off or something and they brawl in the backyard?.....great post,by the way!

William Regenthal said...

I used to watch Mr. Belvedere with my oldeat brother after school. Bob Uecker is awesome (and he signs TTM). I liked how you featured Chuck Connors. Mach Man Randy Savage (real name Randall Poffo) was in the Reds organization from 1971-1974. Always a cool and little known fact.

topher (Crackin Wax/Varsity Trading Cards) said...

I love Uek, don't get me wrong, but I wonder just how much of "himself" he put into playing Doyle. Commentating for the Brewers for so long could drive a man to drink! ;)

Adam Kaningher said...

Did you know Bernard Gilkey appeared in Men In Black? He was the outfielder staring up at the UFO over Shea Stadium.