"Homer at the Bat" is the seventeenth episode of the third season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 20, 1992. The episode follows the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball team, led by Homer, having a winning season and making the championship game. Mr. Burns makes a large bet that the team will win and brings in nine ringers from the "big leagues" to ensure his success. The episode was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Jim Reardon. Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr., Steve Sax, Ozzie Smith, José Canseco, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Scioscia all guest starred as themselves, playing the ringers hired by Mr. Burns. Terry Cashman sang "Talkin' Softball", a modified version of his song "Talkin' Baseball", over the end credits. "Homer at the Bat" underwent a lengthy production, as the guest stars were recorded over several months in accordance with their availability. Most of the players were accommodating except for Canseco, who demanded that his part be rewritten. The episode is often named among the show's best, and was the first to beat The Cosby Show in the ratings on its original airing. In 2014, showrunner Al Jean selected it as one of five essential episodes in the show's history.