I thought I had seen most of the Phillies’ commercials that YouTube had to offer, but then I recently uncovered this gem from 1985:
Mike Schmidt was the biggest star in baseball, so it makes sense that Lee would want him as their spokesperson. But did his skills on the baseball diamond translate into success in the advertising realm? Let’s find out!
First, we learn that Schmidt goes clothes shopping in full uniform. He even brought his glove along. Are we supposed to believe that Schmidt came directly from the stadium because he wants - or perhaps needs - jeans that badly? And not just any jeans; jeans that stay blue. Were jeans not staying blue a major issue in the eighties?
The saleswoman knows exactly what he needs: Lee dress blue jeans. It seems that she made the right call because Schmidt loves them to the point that he decides to play baseball while wearing them. If he was going to use them to play baseball, I’d think that comfort and flexibility would have been a bigger concern than their ability to remain blue. But Schmidt’s a Hall of Famer, and I’m not, so who am I to question his decisions?
Maybe his decisions should be questioned because based on the clips show, the jeans are not enhancing his performance. Either that, or they hired a body double who wasn’t particularly good at baseball.
Watching this commercial, you would not know that this was an All-Star baseball player. They couldn’t find anyone who could properly slide?
Seeing Schmidt attempt to play baseball in jeans reminds me of my earliest days of little league. The league issued uniforms consisted of flimsy hats and mesh jerseys which were guaranteed to rip by the end of the season. As for pants, we had to provide our own. This meant that some kids showed up in jeans, others opted for sweatpants, while the ones whose parents clearly DGAF played in shorts.
In later years, the league finally splurged for pants, but the uniforms were generally monochromatic monstrosities. For instance, I was on a team named the Rangers, but instead of matching the Major League team’s color scheme, our uniforms were all green. Other kids said we looked like the Ninja Turtles and they weren’t wrong!
Back to the commercial...
Despite not being able to play baseball effectively in the jeans, they still get the Schmidt seal of approval. As he’s telling the saleswoman how well they fit, some kid pokes him in the butt and tells him to look for the patch. Easy there, kid. I’m not sure how things worked in 1985, but these days, poking a Hall of Famer in the ass will get you banned from stadiums.