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The inside story of Tom Selleck's extremely brief MLB career

The year was 1991. The U.S. was at war with Iraq, Reggie Miller made a lot of free throws, and Tom Selleck was a baseball player.

Yes, you read that right — in the spring of 1991, the mustachioed actor donned a Detroit Tigers uniform for three very-real weeks of MLB spring training. Katie Strang has the inside story for The Athletic, and in a story published late Thursday she detailed Selleck's stint in the clubhouse. Selleck was preparing for a star turn in the film Mr. Baseball and wanted to be able to authentically channel a true power-hitter, so as a lifelong Tigers fan, he arranged to join the club for work that spring.

Selleck took batting practice — including hitting a bomb off then-Tigers pitcher Mike Henneman, who told Strang that he still plans to get Selleck back for that indignity — and he endured the usual rookie hazings of shaving cream in the ball cap and skin salve in the shoes. But one particularly painful prank remains a surprisingly fond memory for Selleck, he told Strang:

He allowed himself to be distracted one day as he was suiting up and got an unpleasant surprise as he headed out to stretch.

Selleck described what happened next as an "atomic bomb" in his groin. Selleck assumed it was former Tigers outfielder Lloyd Moseby, but he was mistaken. Mike Henneman, the team's resident prankster, had carefully applied heat rub to Selleck's jock strap using a tongue depressant he had nicked from the training room. That day, as Selleck headed out to the field, Henneman was lurking around the corner, where he waited patiently until he could finally relish in the actor's howls.

As discomfiting as it was, Selleck considered it the ultimate compliment.

"In a weird sort of way, I knew I belonged," Selleck said. [The Athletic]

Um, sure! Read more at The Athletic.