Steve Sax won two World Series rings, was a five-time All-Star and got nearly 2,000 hits in the big leagues.
Yet to many fans, it’s those half-dozen lines he uttered to a bunch of yellow cartoon characters a long time ago that really made him famous.
“I get asked as much about being on ‘The Simpsons‘ as I do about baseball,” Sax said this week. “They don’t want to know how it was to hit against Nolan Ryan. They want to know about being on that show.”
All thanks to “Homer at the Bat.”
Still hugely popular 25 years after it first aired, that Simpsons episode featuring the voices of Ken Griffey Jr., Darryl Strawberry, Jose Canseco and a lineup full of luminaries gets a fitting tribute Saturday from the national pastime.
That’s when the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, will present a plaque to Homer — well, really a piece of paper. Plus, a Simpsons-themed exhibit will open inside the shrine.
Actual Hall members Ozzie Smith and Wade Boggs will be in town to talk about taping their roles as Homer’s teammates on the ringered-up Springfield Nuclear Plant softball squad, as will Sax.
Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly was playing for the New York Yankees when he lent his voice to the animated show that was sweeping the nation.
“I didn’t know a whole lot about it, honestly. I knew it was hot and my kids watched it, but I didn’t really know that much,” he said.
Doesn’t to this day, either. He’s never seen the half-hour episode from start to finish.
“No, not the whole thing,” Mattingly said.
But plenty of people saw “The Simpsons” the night it aired on Feb. 20, 1992. In their third season, Bart & Co. outdrew “The Cosby Show” for the first time in a head-to-head matchup, and also topped the telecast of the Winter Olympics.
The show took months to assemble, with players taping when their teams played at Dodger Stadium or the Angels in Anaheim during the 1991 season. Members of “The Simpsons” staff divvied up which guys they would direct.