Major League Baseball’s opening day is just around the corner. In some baseball-crazed households (mine) and baseball mad cities (St. Louis), it might as well be a citywide holiday. In preparation for it, and in the hopes of appeasing Annie Savoy’s baseball Gods, here are some famous (and some not so famous) TV characters and their favorite baseball teams.
The Entire Cast of Cheers, Boston Red Sox
So much of this show revolved around baseball. The show’s male lead and bar owner, Sam Malone (Ted Danson) was a former pitcher for the Sox. Coach Ernie Pantusso, one of Malone’s coaches and two-time league leader in HBP’s, was one of the bartenders. Real life Red Sox great Wade Boggs made a guest appearance on the show and got pantsed by the gang. And Carla Maria Victoria Angelina Teresa Apollonia Lozupone Tortelli LeBec (Rhea Perlman) once bludgeoned an obnoxious Yankee fan’s head by banging it into the bar. It was baseball fandom at its best.
Thomas Magnum, Magnum P.I., Detroit Tigers
A friend of mine recently confessed that he went through a phase of wearing Hawaiian shirts. At some point in the middle of this phase, he opted to complete the ensemble by adding a Detroit Tigers hat. He stopped short of trimming his beard down to a mustache but it didn’t stop me from getting a really great laugh out of it. And that’s how much of a key piece the Tigers hat was to Thomas Magnum’s look. Two decades after the show went off the air, people are augmenting the Magnum look by adding a Tigers hat. Then again, they also augment the Magnum impersonation by not personally knowing Robin Masters, but that’s an item for another list.
Mark Gordon, Highway to Heaven, Oakland A’s
I’d be lying if I said I remembered much about this show. I recall it being like sort of a Quantum Leap but with an angel, and the pair had to set things straight for people. Gordon (Victor French) played the angel’s partner, and was rarely seen without his A’s hat. I also seem to remember, in my dorky 12 year old mind, thinking that it was so ironic that an A’s fan would be helping an angel. As in, the (then) California Angels, who are the A’s divisional rival.
Buck Russell, Uncle Buck (TV series), Chicago Cubs
Speaking of TV shows that I don’t remember anything about, the John Candy film Uncle Buck received the TV series treatment in 1990. It starred Kevin Meaney (the “that’s not riiiiiight” comedian from the 90’s). Anyway, judging from the horrific intro to the show where Meaney dons both a Cubs hat and jersey, it’s safe to say that the character was a Cubs fan.
Oscar Madison, The Odd Couple, New York Mets
Everyone’s favorite slovenly sports writer was constantly seen on the show sporting his Mets hat. Of course, this is kind of a huge breech of sportswriter etiquette because I’m pretty sure he wore said Mets hat into the press box. The first rule of the press box? NO CHEERING!
The Cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phillies
Highjinx on IASIP have revolved around the Philadelphia Phillies a few times. With the Phillie franchise’s recent success, it was only a matter of time before the show played off of it. In the most recent season, Charlie and Dennis got to meet Phillies stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. And one season prior, an entire episode revolved around the Phillies’ trip to the World Series and included the Phillies mascot… sort of, the Phillie “Frenetic”. The best part of that episode?
Jerry Seinfeld, New York Mets and New York Yankees; Elaine Benes, Baltimore Orioles; George Costanza, New York Yankees, Seinfeld
George is an obvious one- he worked as the Assistant to the Traveling Secretary for the Yankees. Jerry made multiple references to both teams, and doted on former Met Keith Hernandez in a whole Keith Hernandez-centric episode (until Hernandez asked him to help him move some furniture). I don’t know that Elaine was a huge Orioles fan but she refused to remove her Orioles hat while sitting in the owner’s box at Yankee Stadium. It was probably just belligerence, and not loyalty, that motivated the event. All the same, that Orioles hat wasn’t coming off of her head.
Marty Funkhouser, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Los Angeles Dodgers
In the episode where Larry picks up a prostitute and takes her to a baseball game so he can use the carpool lane, Funkhouser (Bob Einstein) has box seats at a Dodger game. The seat next to him is vacant, bought for his recently deceased father. He won’t give up the seat as an observance to his father. Throughout the episode, many references are made to his Funkhouser’s diehard fandom and his season tickets. Combined with the Seinfeld references, it’s plain to see that Larry David must be a big baseball fan.
For the record, Ray Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond) is a Mets fan, but I couldn’t in good conscience include three Mets fans on the same list, particularly when my Cardinals aren’t represented.