From the Field to the Studio: the Top 5 TV Appearances by Professional Athletes
5 Jim Abbott – Boy Meets World
On an early episode of “Boy Meets World,” Corey decides to give up on his dreams of being a professional baseball player because “Guys like him don’t make it to the majors.” Then, in a completely normal reaction his father does what any good father would; he harasses Jim Abbott with letters until he comes to their house. The pitcher then gives Corey a pep talk that essentially says, “I’m not sure what your reasons are for being so pessimistic, but I’ve got one friggin’ hand, so suck it up.” Well put Mr. Abbott.
4 Paul O’Neill – Seinfeld
3 Keith Hernandez – Seinfeld
Another baseball player on another Larry David show, it’s a formula that works. The former Mets first baseman proved to be a serviceable actor and took part in some of the shows most memorable scenes, including serving as the scapegoat in Kramer and Newman’s classic JFK-esque spit story. Though his best moment had to be when he was sitting in the car after a date with Elaine, struggling with his own awkward inner monologue, “Gosh, should I kiss her goodnight?… Go ahead, kiss her. I’m a baseball player, damn it…”
2 Bill Buckner – Curb Your Enthusiasm
Playing himself on an episode of Larry David’s HBO show, Buckner showed he has no problem making light of the ground ball that changed his life forever. He spends the majority of the episode getting ragged on by complete strangers who claim he ruined their lives, then drops an autographed Mookie Wilson baseball out a window and blames it on Larry David’s “horse s#!% throw.” Buckner certainly didn’t bring the house down with his acting, but he played the affable nice guy to a tee and helped make the scenes he was in truly hilarious.
1 Bob Uecker – Mr. Belvedere
The one time catcher turned broadcaster turned fake Major League broadcaster and many time guest of Johnny Carson, Bob Uecker, did more with his acting career than any other professional athlete in history. But “Mr. Baseball” makes this particular list for his performance as George Owens on the 1985 sitcom “Mr. Belvedere.” It’s a series described as “The humorous adventures of an English housekeeper working for an American family.” Sounds hilarious, right? Well, no, it doesn’t. But this show lasted five years thanks to Bob Uecker stealing the show and offering more comedic relief than Mr. Lynn Aloysius Belvedere could serve up on a fancy silver platter.