The Craziest Baseball Player Commercials of All Time, Rated

Can Barry Bonds and George from Seinfeld interest you in some chicken?

by Dan McQuade
Aug 2 2015, 2:00pm

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This article originally appeared on VICE Sports in July 2014.

TV commercials are stupid, purposefully stupid, in a very specific way. They usually feature characters who behave in ways that no human being would ever act but which make sense within the imagined world of the commercial. We suspend our disbelief: Naturally, this woman is really excited about that cleaning product! Didn't the logo come alive and wipe the grease away?

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Things get slightly strangers when celebrities endorse products in TV ads, and stranger still when baseball players-who often can't act, or sing, or do anything but swing a bat and handle a glove-get in on the action. These ads are sometimes failures on their own terms but incredible, unintentional pieces of art.

Here are ten of the most ridiculous, gonzo, nightmare-inducing baseball player ads of all time.

Player: Pete Rose
Brand: Kool-Aid
Description: Pete Rose plays baseball against children in some sort of post-apocalyptic wasteland/acid trip. The Cincinnati Reds still exist in this world, as the oldest baseball team will also be the longest-lasting. When Rose hits a long fly to center, the Kool-Aid man destroys the center field wall to get him out. Even in this world of psychedelic baseball, Rose is shocked.
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter (out of five): 5

Player: Derek Jeter
Brand: Fila
Description: Before he was a Nike athlete getting "RE2PECT" tributes, Derek Jeter represented Fila. This was during that brief window in the 1990s when Fila was a hip sportswear brand. Appropriately, this commercial might as well be for the 1990s. "Can you snag it out of the stands and grab a kiss from a fan?" What the fuck, dude.
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter: 2

Player: Roger Clemens
Brand: Zest
Description: Roger Clemens, cute children, and teenage girls sing about how great their showers were while a spokesmodel tells us about how awful soap is.
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter: 4

Players: Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle
Brand: Blue Bonnet
Description: Literally almost too sad to process. Old comic actors tell us why they use a particular brand of margarine, and then Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays wear blue bonnets and sing a commercial jingle. Someone should have put a stop to this.
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter: 5

Player: Mike Schmidt
Brand: Chevrolet
Description: Mike Schmidt demonstrates the quality of the new Chevy truck by hitting the grill with a baseball bat. This makes sense, I guess, but I'm skeptical. Somehow, despite being a major league athlete, he doesn't do any damage. Is that even possible? How the hell did he hit 548 home runs, then? Was Mike Schmidt terrible and we all didn't notice?
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter: 1

Player: George Brett
Brand: Ben Gay
Description: Since retiring from baseball, George Brett has taken up scuba diving. This Ben Gay commercial forces us to accept that at face value. It would make sense Brett would enjoy other athletic pursuits after his retirement, but scuba? That came out of nowhere. Couldn't he be recovering from a golf injury?
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter: 5

Player: Tony Gwynn
Brand: Denny's
Description: There's nothing too weird about this one except for the opening line. "When I'm at the ballpark, there's just one thing on my mind," Gwynn says. "Hologram baseball cards are back at Denny's!" This is played completely straight - at the end Gwynn admits to joking that a Denny's limited edition baseball cards are more exciting than an actual baseball game. But the ad stands by this hologram baseball card claim.
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter: 3

Player: Cito Gaston
Brand: Ken Griffey, Jr. presents Major League Baseball for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Description: Ken Griffey, Jr. didn't even star in the commercial for his own baseball game. Instead, two-time World Series-winning manager Cito Gaston of the Toronto Blue Jays says Griffey has no shot at winning the World Series this year. At least we're told the game is fast.
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter: 5

Player: Frank Thomas
Brand: Reebok
Description: What's your favorite part of this spot: The press gang rowing on the ship while Frank Thomas uses a rowing machine, or Frank Thomas's own head ripping through his bicep to scream about muscle soreness? It certainly isn't those 90s Reebok kicks.
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter: 4

Player: Barry Bonds
Brand: KFC
Description: Bobbleheads are sometimes used in ads when the subject actually isn't in the ad. (If Ken Griffey, Jr. Baseball came out in the early 2000s instead of 1994, it would've featured a bobblehead of the Kid.) But this commercial actually has Barry Bonds in it, plus Jason Alexander, and we get two bobbleheads arguing over chicken. Still, it's nice to know Bonds responded to light mockery of his ignorance of mass-produced fried chicken by fouling one off right next to George from Seinfeld's head.
Representative GIF:

Nightmare Meter: 3

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derek jeter
roger clemens
Barry Bonds
Jason Alexander
tony gwynn
mickey mantle
baseball commercials
cito gaston
frank thomas
pete rose
mike schmidt
roger clemens is zestfully clean
willie mays