BaseballMania: 31 times the WWE and MLB universes collided
When I ventured down to Florida for the first annual Cut4 Spring Training Road Trip-a-paloozafest Extravaganza earlier this month, I had the pleasure of spending some time in Clearwater -- home to Phillies Spring Training and the Hulk Hogan-themed retail capital of the world.
For one, I learned that I'm sitting on an embarrassing gold mine of Papa Shango action figures (thanks for not throwing them out, Mom). Also, it was the single greatest collection of all things baseball and wrestling ... until now.
In honor of WrestleMania 31 this Sunday, we rounded up 31 of the most entertaining times that MLB and WWE crossed paths.
To start, there's one time when the Baseball and WWE Halls of Fame intersected. "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig showed off his baseball skills for Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs. Boggs later inducted Hennig into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Also, Macho Man Randy Savage was an MLB prospect in the Reds system.
More recently, there was that time when Daniel Bryan shaved off Josh Reddick's beard.
Reddick is a HUGE WWE fan. If you didn't know by his beard bet with Bryan, you might recall his cameo as The Ultimate Warrior.
Or the time a bunch of his fans brought a belt to the o.Co Coliseum and posed with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.
That isn't the only belt out in Oakland's outfield either. Reddick once signed a belt and sent it up to the fans in the bleachers. Title Thursdays were born.
That time Vince McMahon sent 2013 Cy Young Award winners Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer custom championship belts.
And then when Kershaw rocked that new hardware while doin' some household chores.
Kinda like the one Yoenis Cespedes got for winning the 2013 Home Run Derby.
Before Spring Training started, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and some of their fellow Blue Jays took a selfie with Roman Reigns.
When WWE superstars stopped by Yankee Stadium for batting practice before WrestleMania 29, Joba Chamberlain was (rightfully) afraid to play catch with the Big Show.
Then, last year, Daniel Bryan's "YES!" chant caught on in the bleachers at PNC Park.
And then spread to the Pirates' dugout.
It all came full circle when Bryan showed up for the MLB postseason, pumping the Giants up at AT&T Park.
Also in 2014, The Rock started a "DER-EK JE-TER!" chant during his triumphant return to Monday Night RAW.
And Mick Foley said that the Royals play baseball like a professional wrestler.
John Cena must have had that in mind when he defended the Royals on Monday Night RAW in Kansas City.
Speaking of Cena, more than a few WWE superstars have tried their hands at America's pastime, mostly in the form of ceremonial first pitches.
Like Cena for the Dodgers:
More importantly than Booker T's toss, though, was the Orbit spinarooni that followed:
WWE superstars have been known to spend some time with MLB personalities out of the ring and off the diamond, too. Like that time The Honky Tonk Man put Carlos Gomez in a headlock.
Or that time Gomie hung out with John Cena.
Or that time CM Punk nearly put Jay Horwitz to sleep at Citi Field.
Or that time the Rock hung out with Giancarlo Stanton on the set of HBO's "Ballers."
The White Sox in particular spend a lot of time with one foot in the squared circle, probably because their strength coach, Dale Torbog, used to be a professional wrestler.
But even they don't have the voice of WrestleMania in their broadcast booth. Bob Uecker -- the voice of the Brewers since 1971 -- wasn't just at WrestleMania III ... he introduced Hulk Hogan to the ring before Hulkamania ran wild and he body slammed Andre the Giant.
But the BEST baseball-wrestling crossover is -- surprise -- from back in the mid-'90s.
Wrestling fans typically remember Steve Lombardi as the infamous Brooklyn Brawler, but it's impossible to scrub Abe "Knuckleball" Schwartz from their memories. Lombardi briefly used a baseball gimmick in 1994. We know what you're asking and, yes, he did have "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" as his entrance music.