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When Griffeys played baseball with Bigfoot ... kinda

The '90s sure were weird
(Tom Forget / MLB.com)
@michaelsclair
May 8, 2020

Ken Griffey Jr. was the pop culture baseball superstar. With the sweetest swing that human eyes have ever witnessed, a backward cap and a sly grin on his face, Griffey was everywhere in the '90s. He had a chocolate bar, a video game, and appeared in almost every commercial possible

Ken Griffey Jr. was the pop culture baseball superstar. With the sweetest swing that human eyes have ever witnessed, a backward cap and a sly grin on his face, Griffey was everywhere in the '90s. He had a chocolate bar, a video game, and appeared in almost every commercial possible -- even including a run for president.

He got to hang out with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and even made kids root for the "bad guy" in "Little Big League." Sure, Billy Heywood's Twins were the main star of the film, but was anyone all that upset when Griffey (25-year-old spoiler alert) robbed Lou Collins of a home run to end the game?

But there's one appearance that Griffey made -- along with his father -- that, somehow, has managed to avoid much critical introspection since its air date. What is it?

Why, nothing but the pair's appearance on the classic Bigfoot-living-in-a-nuclear-family's-suburban-home situation comedy "Harry and the Hendersons," based on the film of the same name.

Thanks to the glory of someone's VHS and YouTube, you can even watch the episode. Say goodbye to the next 21 minutes of your life:

If you've ever watched a sitcom, you can pretty much guess how this thing goes. Our story opens with a father, George (Barry Davison, who would later star as Senator Kelly in the X-Men films), and son, Ernie (Zachary Bostrom), preparing for the upcoming father-son ballgame. The only problem: Ernie's not that great at baseball, and while he likes to watch it, he doesn't really like to play it. This is a problem for George, who has spent his life looking forward to the day he could display his fatherly love on the ball field.

Before you forget, yes, there's a friendly Bigfoot on the loose -- and the dude is basically Dave Kingman at the plate.

Dude has some serious pop

Fortunately, the Griffeys just happen to be in town do an interview. So, George does what any self-respecting parent in a sitcom would do (which means what you should never do in real life): He tracks down the two stars and asks them to come to the house and talk to his son.

The Griffeys preparing for their in-television television interview

Because this is a sitcom, not only do the Griffeys arrive the next morning, but they even move their flight home to do it. I know television is about the suspension of disbelief, but this is really stretching it.

Naturally, when the duo shows up -- managing to never see the giant hairy creature that lives there -- they realize the task is going to be a bit more difficult than simply signing a ball for the kid.

That leads Sr. to say, "I thought facing Nolan Ryan was tough."

"Maybe for you. I can hit him," Junior deadpans.

(In case you're wondering: the elder Griffey posted a slash line of .267/.320/.289 against Ryan in 50 PA -- not great, but could be far worse -- while Junior hit .240/.387/.520 in 31 PA. The edge goes to the youngster.)

Eventually Ken Griffey Sr. imparts some advice to George: Do what your son loves, not what you'd love your son to do. This is capped off by the shot that every MLS fan would have died to watch in the mid-90s: Griffey playing soccer.

Messi, Ronaldo, Griffey

Filmed in December 1990, just months after the two hit back-to-back home runs while playing as the first father-son duo on the same team, there are plenty of touchstones from the era.

Like, for instance, the fact that everyone is obsessed with Griffey having hit .300 that season. It's hard to remember now, but there was a time that Junior was known less for his power, and more for being one of the best all-around talents. In fact, at one point, George says that while Junior is a star, he could become "one of the great ones." Yes, there was a time when that was just a possibility -- not a fact.

Even better is the early-'90s style the Griffeys display. From the No. 24 pendant Junior wears -- a style that is now prevalent on big league diamonds today:

To ... this thing, a shirt made out of some material that is almost certainly toxic to human skin:

Is this a pattern or the world's largest coffee stain?

But best of all is Junior's USA leather jacket, complete with American flag on the back. This is the kind of thing that must have been insanely expensive in 1990, but which you can pick up for $49.99 at that leather store out by the airport now:

Great costume idea for your "Harry and the Hendersons" theme party

Ah, the glorious '90s: When baseball superstars and sasquatches could co-exist in harmony.

Michael Clair writes for MLB.com. He spends a lot of time thinking about walk-up music and believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit.