Great stuff, chewin’ tabacca. Makes you look stupid and is incredibly bad for you.
My favorite chew tale comes from Ball Four. Author Jim Bouton tells the story of Steve Hamilton on the mound in a World Series game with a big hunk of the slimy brown stuff in his cheek. A line drive nearly takes his head off and, in getting out of the way, he manages to swallow the whole load. Next thing you know, he’s barfing it up live for a national TV audience on the back of the mound.
Something similar happened to yours truly in middle school. One of my “friends” had gotten ahold of some Red Man and handed it out at recess. A couple of us stuck a wad in our jaws and headed back to class. Frau Beresford, my German teacher, noticed something was amiss with my accent and came back to investigate. Down it went. I did manage to get excused and hit the boy’s room before the fireworks went off.
I’ve already shared a couple of chewers from the ‘50s with ya. Now here are plenty more from the much more permissive ‘60s:
Let’s start off with a genuine Hall of Famer. Nellie Fox, who was a light-hitting, 160-lb., middle infielder, typically struck some sort of tough-guy pose. This one captures two of his favorite tropes, hat askew and huge wad of chaw.
Personally, I’m not sure Nellie should be in the Hall. Okay, so he was a good fielder, played for 19 years, and was hard to strike out. He never once, however, led his league in a major category. What I’m talking about here is the stuff that the typical fantasy league might find worth keeping track of – homers, average, runs, RBIs, and steals.
And what that means is that his stats are comparable to some other players in the Hall – Billy Herman, Bobby Wallace, and Red Schoendienst, for example. Unfortunately, the same comparison also shows some players – Buddy Myer, Lave Cross, and Doc Cramer – who are definitely not in the Hall, and never will be.
More Nellie here, here, and here.
Chaw and a crew cut! We’re talking light-hitting-middle-infielder-trying-to-look-tough in a major way here.
I talked about Billy Gardner’s hitting prowess in a previous post. You may actually be more familiar with him in the guise of major league manager. He was at the Twins’ helm for five years, taking them to the playoffs once, but finishing under .500 overall.
And here we’ve got plug of chaw combined with seriously dopey expression. Nice!
Would you believe there were two Don Lepperts who played in the majors? Our Don was a catcher who got into 190 games over four years. The other was a second baseman who got into 40 games in just one year. Interestingly, though they didn’t play at the same time, they were only separated by a couple of years.
For me, our Don will always be associated with the Pirates in their glory days. He was a coach for them from 1968 through 1976. I can practically close my eyes and see him over at first base.
Another good look, heavy on the chaw and the Brylcreem.
Pedro Ramos was the “ace of the staff” for the Senators in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. Unfortunately, what that translates into is leading the AL in losses four years in a row. Pedro was also one of the few players who played with the original and the post-expansion Senators.
His life after baseball wasn’t so happy unfortunately. He actually ended up spending three years in a Federal penitentiary for drug dealing. Book-length bio of him right here.
Hmm. I have this funny feeling Larry forgot his chaw and is just faking it by poking his tongue really hard into his cheek.
Larry Burright was up for a couple of years with the Dodgers and Mets. His main claim to fame is making a couple of errors in a Dodgers’ playoff game loss to the Giants in ’62.
Wanna see Larry looking even more goofy (yeah, I know, hard to believe). Just click here.
Hey, it’s Don Leppert again! I’m not sure what the photographer told Don here. Whatever it was, the result was a unique combination of angelic look and devilish lump of ‘bacca. Love the mini me!
Holy Red Man! Is this guy going for the new world record? How many bags of the stuff are you packin’ there, fella?
Larry Osborne was up for five years with the Tigers and Senators. Only once did he get over 100 at-bats however.
Larry’s nickname was Bobo. Apparently, that was something of a Washington tradition. Bobo Newsom and Bobo Olson predated him. And according to baseball-reference.com, the aformentioned three constituted 60% of all major-league Bobos. Honestly, I can’t make this stuff up.
* - author has this card