Nothing beats seeing famous athletes step outside the arena to do a funny cameo in a movie or TV show.
The Simpsons' athlete cameos are especially funny, because it is a cartoon drawing paired with the real voice.
The result is pure hilarity.
The Simpsons have brought us many funny athlete cameos, but I wanted to point out my top five.
McGwire, a leading candidate in baseballs' steroid era, stepped out of the batter's box to play himself in a memorable moment on The Simpsons.
McGwire: "Bart was right. We are spying on you, pretty much around the clock."
Lenny: "But why, Mr. McGwire?"
McGwire: "Do you want to know the terrifying truth? Or do you want to see me sock a few dingers!?"
Big Mac then proceeds to wow the crowd with a long homer, and then hides the paperwork he had come to take.
Mark McGwire, even then it seemed, would gain fame simply because he could hit long home runs.
If we had known then about the steroid implications...we still would have laughed because it was a pretty funny episode.
Joe Frazier lived up to his heavyweight boxer status by knocking out Barney Gumble.
Frazier: "I know how you feel, Homer. You lost your couch, I lost the heavyweight championship."
Barney: "Hey Frazier, shut up!"
Frazier: "Barney, you've been riding my ass all night..."
Barney: "You wanna take this outside?"
Frazier: "Let's do this..."
Frazier and Barney walk out of the bar, only to find Barney's blood splattered against the door seconds after Frazier beat him up.
Even in the world of cartoons, Joe Frazier was one tough son of a gun.
Joe Namath arrived to save the day for Bart and his fear of being a good quarterback in a classic, football-related episode.
Namath: "My car broke down outside."
Bart: "Wow! Joe Namath! Can you teach me how to be a good quarterback?"
Namath: "Sure, there's only one thing you need to know to be a great quarterback..."
Mrs. Namath: "Joe, honey, I fixed it. It was just vapor lock."
Namath: "Oops, I gotta run...remember what I told ya."
Bart then plays back the conversation in his mind, only to realize that Joe told him nothing of value. Only that his car had vapor lock.
Namath then points out the severity of vapor lock happening in today's American cars. He reminds us to get our cars checked early, and often.
Joe Namath, an American legend.
Whitey Ford earned Hall-of-Fame honors in The Simpsons for his role as an assistant coach of the Springfield Isotopes.
In this scene, fans are hurling pretzels at the wealthy Mr. Burns, who had won a car. The pretzels were given as free giveaways by Marge Simpson.
TV Announcers: "Oh, the fans do not like this one bit...and here come the pretzels."
TV Announcers: "And now, Hall of Famer Whitey Ford on the field pleading for...for some kind of sanity."
(Ford is seen waving his arms at the fans telling them not to throw any more pretzels onto the playing field)
TV Announcers: "Oh, and a barrage of pretzels have knocked Whitey unconscious"
TV Announcers: "Wow, Jim. This is...this is a black day for baseball..."
(Ford is seen on the ground, motionless, knocked down by the hurled pretzels)
The image of Ford on the ground is priceless. How can a barrage of pretzels knock a man unconscious?
That is the mastery of The Simpsons. It doesn't always have to make sense.
My favorite Simpsons athlete cameo by far.
Strawberry set the bar high with his appearance in the 1992 episode titled "Homer at the Bat."
He was joined by fellow baseball superstars Roger Clemens, Steve Sax, Ken Griffey Jr., Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, and Mike Scioscia,
Mr. Burns: "You, Strawberry, hit a home run!"
Darryl: "OK, Skip."
(Strawberry then pelts a massive homer onto the freeway.)
Mr. Burns: "I told him to do that..."
Another memorable line:
Bart and Lisa Simpson: "Darrrrryl...Darrrrrryl...Darrrrrrryl."
Marge Simpsons: "Kids, that's not very nice"
Bart and Lisa: "Mom, they're professional athletes, this sort of thing rolls off their backs."
(Strawberry is seen wiping a tear from his eye and crying.)
Also, it is worth noting the exceptional leaping ability of Strawberry. When Homer is camped under a fly ball, Darryl leaps out of the screen and comes down with the ball.
His leaping ability was exaggerated because of the cartoon, but not by that much.
He will go down as my favorite athlete cameo from The Simpsons.