A Somewhat Comprehensive Guide to Boston Sports Stars on The Simpsons

Long before Rob Gronkowski became a Nicktoon, other Boston athletes got the animated treatment.

In real life, Rob Gronkowski is practically a cartoon character. But now there’s actually an animated version of the jumbo Patriots tight end, because apparently, he’s going to star in an episode of something called NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians. The show, which Gronk actually shot a promo for last December, airs on Fridays 9 p.m. on Nicktoons.

Here’s Gronk in animated form. The backwards hat is a nice touch:

Gronkowski isn’t the first Boston athlete to be immortalized in 2D. Over the past two decades, a handful of Boston athletes have popped up on The Simpsons. Some voiced themselves. Some, like Bill Buckner, were referenced in other ways—like on October 3, 1999, when Bart says to Homer, “Here’s a book called Chicken Soup for the Loser that gave Bill Buckner the courage to open a chain of laundromats.” Here are a few more of our favorites:

On May 9, 1991, “Three Men and a Comic Book” aired. Bart, Milhouse, and Martin pool their money to spent Radioactive Man #1. Milhouse, however, would rather spend his $30 on, as he puts it, “the Carl Yastrzemski baseball card from 1973, when he had big sideburns”:


Less than a year later, on February 20, 1992, “Homer at the Bat” premiered. One of the funniest, most memorable things The Simpsons has ever pulled off—Deadspin’s Erik Malinowski wrote a great feature to celebrate its 20th anniversary—the episode features the voices of nine major leaguers, including Red Sox stars Roger Clemens and Wade Boggs.

Clemens gets hypnotized and thinks he’s a chicken:


And Boggs debates Barney about English prime ministers. Boggs says Pitt the Elder was the greatest ever, Barney says Lord Palmerston was the greatest ever. Then, Barney punches Boggs out:


While interviewing Boggs a few years ago, my friend David Willis couldn’t resist and asked about “Homer at the Bat.” Willis swears Boggs said, “I still say Pitt The Elder is the greatest prime minister of England.”

Treehouse of Horror III,” the series’ third Halloween special, aired on October 29, 1992, and featured maybe the weirdest possible Boston sports reference. During the episode’s King Kong parody “King Homer,” the island chief says, “Mosi Tatupu! Mosi Tatupu!” The subtitle that then appeared on the screen was this: “The blue-haired woman will make a good sacrifice.” Patriots running back Mosi Tatupu, who died in 2010, was a cult hero among New England fans.

On May 7, 1992, during “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love,” Yaz returns. This time, while Milhouse is distracted by his new girlfriend, Bart trades his torn Omar Vizquel card for Milhouse’s Carl Yastrzemski card (at 10:31).

Then, on February 6, 2005, during “Ned and Homer’s Hail Mary Pass,” Tom Brady voiced himself. The highlight of his appearance was clearly this:

And this:

tom brady on the simpsons