Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

Weird retro commercials for MLB teams

Eat your heart out, Don Draper
@michaelsclair
January 1, 2021

Sure, you roll your eyes at commercials in the moment -- you mean I have to wait a few minutes for this? But give it a few years (or decades), and all of a sudden they become something sublime -- bizarre time capsules that make us ask, "Wow, did Bob

Sure, you roll your eyes at commercials in the moment -- you mean I have to wait a few minutes for this? But give it a few years (or decades), and all of a sudden they become something sublime -- bizarre time capsules that make us ask, "Wow, did Bob Uecker really get us to buy more beer? Did our clothes and TVs really look so ugly? Just where is the beef?"

So let's hop in our trusty time machine and laugh at the weirdest, silliest, and most over-the-top ads from every big league team. We'll mostly be using spots that weren't produced by the team itself, because things are so much funnier when you have Kirk Gibson hawking a local boat show -- which, yes, you'll find if you scroll down below.

Angels

You know what makes me want to buy season tickets? A guy in a suit talking over footage of the most depressing batting practice imaginable -- including the heart-pounding thrills of a dude bunting. WATCH HERE >

Astros

I think the subtitles are, uhh, not quite capturing everything Jose Cruz had to say here. WATCH HERE >

A's

This commercial doesn't imply but straight-up states that Reggie Jackson doesn't brush his teeth often enough. I'm not sure how much money I would need to be paid to put that information in front of every family in the country.

Observant fans will also notice that this was shot at Dodger Stadium, not Oakland -- just check out the angular scoreboard in the outfield. WATCH HERE >

Blue Jays

There's simply no other choice for the Blue Jays than the commercial their fans still cheer for. Seriously.

When Toronto celebrated Roberto Alomar Day in 2011, the team played this ad and Rogers Centre went wild. Alomar was even selling a T-shirt featuring the slogan into this decade. WATCH HERE >

Braves

People will try and tell you that Moe Berg was the only MLB player-turned-spy. Don't believe the lie. As this archival footage proves, Ryan Klesko obviously went undercover, too. WATCH HERE >

Brewers

It might be cheating to use a Bob Uecker ad -- after all, he was a better pitch man than he ever was a ballplayer -- but this commercial is just too weird not to include. I mean, Ueck, Rodney Dangerfield and a weird hybrid mashup of "Clue" and "Mission Impossible?" Move over, Don Draper. WATCH HERE >

Cubs

If you thought you'd never get amped up by watching a man eat a candy bar, well, you've never seen Ron Santo eat a candy bar. This is better than any workout playlist you have. WATCH HERE >

D-backs

It's pretty rare to see ballplayers make fun of themselves -- especially in a multi-million dollar nationwide ad campaign. So, props to Randy Johnson for being willing to show off just how bad he is at the plate. WATCH HERE >

Still, maybe all that work in the cage paid off. In 2003, Johnson hit the lone home run of his big league career.

Dodgers

It's indisputable that Hyun-Jin Ryu is the king of the commercial, but this one was his very best, thanks to the excellent casting of a Clayton Kershaw clone. WATCH HERE >

Giants

Frankly, it's amazing I reached adulthood without Willie Mays telling me not to play with blasting caps. WATCH HERE >

Indians

Kenny Lofton is now in the movie business. I like to think he caught the bug while working with SNL's Jan Hooks on this ad. WATCH HERE >

Mariners

Obviously we weren't going to select one of the Mariners' more modern commercials, which have elevated the baseball advertisement into an art form. No, we're going with this glorious number featuring a jingle so cheery that it managed to entice fans despite the team going 60-102 in the year of its release. WATCH HERE >

Marlins

Never has a PSA for reading seemed so dire. WATCH HERE >

Mets

You can't beat "Meet the Mets," but a "Milk Kicks!" jam along with a chuggin' Darryl Strawberry is pretty good, too. WATCH HERE >

Nationals

"Gym Rat" Ryan Zimmerman from DCP Productions on Vimeo.

The Nationals haven't been around long enough to have cheesy old ads, so you'll just have to accept Ryan Zimmerman appearing alongside the guys whose commercial was popular enough to become a TV show. That whole sentence is weird to type. WATCH HERE >

Padres

I'm not sure what I like most about this: Bip Roberts' obsession with his baseball card value, or the idea that Tony Gwynn just casually flipped through card guides while in the dugout. Baseball players: They're just like us! WATCH HERE >

Phillies

Thanks to the hero who uploaded this, you can spend a full 3 minutes and 40 seconds pretending it's 1986 again. And if you want to get really weird, why not strip out all the audio except for the truly terrifying narration? That's enough for a David Lynchian horror short. WATCH HERE >

Pirates

Considering teams have had to place a limit on the amount of video games played in the clubhouse, this commercial might feature more truth than fiction. WATCH HERE >

Rangers

If you jumbled every single thing about the '90s -- power hitters, jump cuts, music seemingly designed inside a gym -- and smashed them all together, you'd get this ad. WATCH HERE >

Rays

This Evan Longoria ad was one of the first commercials to really go viral, because we weren't prepared for fakes and simply accepted it as fact.

It seems obvious now, but then again, people were once fooled by a radio broadcast about an alien invasion that seems silly in retrospect, too. WATCH HERE >

Reds

There's certainly nothing wrong with a big leaguer teaching kids how to calculate ERA. I know if I was a child, I would want to have Tom Seaver show me how to do it.

But having "Baseball fever: catch it" as a tagline after a math exercise is pushing it. WATCH HERE >

Red Sox

Two years before John Krasinski got his big break on "The Office," he was hanging out in a bowling alley selling coffee with Nomar Garciaparra. This is Krasinksi's real ode to New England. WATCH HERE >

Rockies

Sure, we could talk about what may have been the first Rockies ad, but let's go with one that came when Colorado was still simply hoping for a Major League team. It has a strange dystopian feel to it, as a dorky scientist out of Central Casting teams up with a precocious child in the middle of a barren, baseball-less landscape.

It even ends with a bizarre freeze frame that owes more to low-budget 1970s horror movies than baseball commercials. WATCH HERE >

Royals

It's not every day that a submarining pitcher gets a heroically intense commercial (though the shot of him sipping from a water fountain undercuts that a bit), but then again, there weren't many pitchers like Dan Quisenberry. The dude didn't just close out games, he wrote poetry, too! WATCH HERE >

Tigers

Forget that World Series home run. Kirk Gibson shilling for the "Boat Show" is the best thing he's ever done. Well, other than this, I guess. WATCH HERE >

Twins

A date night setup with a reveal that it's actually a milk commercial with Mom? Nothing screams Joe Mauer more than that. WATCH HERE >

White Sox

Frank Thomas' screaming face emerging out of his biceps is the kind of high art buried within a commercial that I look for. This could hang in a museum as an example of post-modernism in the '90s. WATCH HERE >

Yankees

Reggie Jackson makes a second appearance here, with a commercial that is a little kinder to him this time around. WATCH HERE >

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.