S03E17 - Homer at the Bat
It is softball season in Springfield and the workers at Springfield Nuclear Power Plant are reluctant to sign up for the plant's team due to their previous unsuccessful year. Homer reveals a secret weapon, a homemade bat named "Wonder Bat" that he made from a fallen tree branch during a thunderstorm and his co-workers eagerly join the team. Thanks in large part to Homer, they go through their season undefeated and earn the right to play in the championship game against the Shelbyville Nuclear Power Plant.
Mr. Burns makes a million dollar bet with Aristotle Amadopolis, owner of the Shelbyville plant, that his team will win. To secure victory, Mr. Burns decides to hire major league stars, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pie Traynor, Harry Hooper, Honus Wagner, Cap Anson, Nap Lajoie, Gabby Street, Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, and Jim Creighton to join his team. Smithers informs Mr. Burns that the players he picked have all retired and died (noting Creighton had been dead for 130 years), so Mr. Burns orders him to find current players. He hires nine Major League Baseball players — Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Scioscia — and gives them token jobs at the plant so they can play on the team, to the dismay of the plant workers. Mr. Burns also hires a hypnotist to train the team, and Wonder Bat is destroyed, to Homer's dismay, by a pitch from Clemens during practice.
Before the game, eight of the nine all-star players suffer unrelated misfortunes that prevent them from playing: Clemens starts behaving like a chicken due to the hypnotist's incompetence, Boggs is knocked unconscious by Barney after an argument at Moe's Tavern, Griffey Jr. develops gigantism after overdosing on brain and nerve tonic provided to the team by Mr. Burns, Sax is arrested by the Springfield Police and put in jail for every unsolved murder in New York City, Smith disappears in the "Springfield Mystery Spot", Canseco is busy rescuing a woman and her possessions from a house fire, Mattingly is kicked off the team by Mr. Burns due to sideburns only he can see, and Scioscia is hospitalized due to radiation poisoning from the plant. Mr. Burns is forced to use his original employees, along with Strawberry, the only star who can play. Homer remains on the bench as Strawberry plays his position.
With the score tied and bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mr. Burns elects to field a right-handed hitter against a left-handed pitcher and pinch hits Homer for Strawberry. Distracted by Mr. Burns, the first pitch hits Homer in the head, rendering him unconscious, but forcing in the winning run. The team wins the title and Homer, still unconscious, is paraded as a hero.