Clayton Kershaw defends uncle who discovered Pluto on ‘Jimmy Kimmel’

David Brown
Big League Stew

No fooling: Clayton Kershaw's great uncle really did discover Pluto.

"I know it sounds like a joke when it comes out, but it's true," the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher told the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" show during a guest appearance on Monday night.

In earlier interviews, Kershaw has mentioned his relation to Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930 while working at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz. As Kimmel said, anybody who studied basic astronomy from then until about 2006 learned that Pluto was the ninth planet in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune followed by Pluto.

However, further research in the 1990s revealed that Pluto was merely one of the frozen bodies within the Kuiper Belt that orbits the sun. And it wasn't even the biggest object, so Pluto got demoted to "dwarf planet" status.

What the heck? Was Walt Disney going to have to rename Mickey Mouse's dog, too?

No matter the science behind the reasoning, Kershaw wanted to use the Kimmel platform to express his family's displeasure at the change. It's one of those things where Kershaw tries to make it clear that his outrage was fake and he's just kidding around, but under that facade, I'll bet he still disagrees with Pluto's astronomical status:

"It's been a huge problem in the Kershaw-Tombaugh side of the family for years. ... They took it away from us. They say it's a 'dwarf planet' now. ... What scientists just decide, they just get in a room and say, 'Eh, we're out with Pluto now'? How do you do that?' ... [Our family was] up in arms, for sure."

Kershaw says fans send him shirts that say "Pluto is still a planet in our hearts," which he appreciates, but does not admit to wearing.

Other than Kershaw not starting the All-Star Game at Citi Field earlier this month, this might have been the biggest letdown in his life, being the competitor he is.

[Editor's note: An earlier version of this post mistook Goofy for Pluto. The Stew regrets the error.]

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