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The history of chewing gum and baseball

The history of chewing gum and baseball

The history of chewing gum and baseball originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New York Yankees dugout found an unlikely pastime for America’s pastime on Tuesday while hosting the Oakland Athletics — bubble gum.

Several dozen pink dots were spotted during the broadcast, littering the field as Yankees players appeared to be aiming at a nearby sprinkler head. While groundskeepers across the league are likely hoping this activity doesn’t gain traction, it was just another example of the prime real estate chewing gum occupies in baseball.

Here’s a look back at how chewing gum became a staple of dugouts and locker rooms across the country.

Where can you see influences of chewing gum throughout baseball?

Look no further than one of the most iconic baseball stadiums in the world — Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

The storied diamond shares a namesake with Wrigley gum. William Wrigley Jr. bought the Cubs in 1921 and officially renamed the stadium from Cubs Park to Wrigley Field in 1927.

While the Cubs have been sold twice in the century since Wrigley Jr. took over — once to the Tribune Company and most recently to the Ricketts family — the naming rights of the field have withstood the test of time. Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs and the family’s primary public voice on team matters, has taken creative approaches to legacy partnerships and innovative stadium renovations, but has made it clear the Wrigley name is here to stay.

When did baseball players start chewing gum during games?

While Wrigley established an early connection between chewing gum and baseball, it wasn’t until the 1980s that it took to the dugouts.

For much of history, baseball and tobacco have gone hand-in-hand. Even the coming-of-age movie the Sandlot, set in 1962, features a memorable scene that involves “Big Chief” chewing tobacco, a spinning amusement ride and some unfortunate luck for the rag-tag group of sluggers.

Not only was tobacco a staple of American…

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