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Roy Tucker
04-26-2007, 02:30 PM
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.nsf/cardinals/story/60A872B2E3F2709C862572C9000FB613?OpenDocument



So, why do baseball players chew?
By Gerry Fraley
SPECIAL TO THE POST-DISPATCH
04/26/2007

Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan and Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler stood on opposite sides of the baseball team at Canyon de Oro High School in Tucson, Ariz.

Duncan used smokeless tobacco. Kinsler gave it up after an ill-fated, stomach-turning experience.

Kinsler cannot recall seeing Duncan without the omnipresent dip in his mouth. Kinsler understands why Duncan is part of a lineage that dates back to spitballs and Babe Ruth.

"I guess dipping is tradition,'' Kinsler said. "Some guys need it to perform. Some guys obviously hide it better than other guys.''

Duncan declined to discuss his choice. Duncan might be the Cardinals' most conspicuous consumer of tobacco, but he is hardly alone on this team. Or in his sport.

The dippers and chewers and even a few holdout smokers are out there. Their presence illustrates how deeply tobacco is ingrained in the culture of baseball.

Estimates say about one in three major-league players use tobacco products, all legal, during the season. In the general population, about one in 10 males are users.

There are users in other sports. Former Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman was an avid dipper until late in his career, when a family cancer scare changed his thinking.

The difference is that baseball players are visible in their use. There are no known instances of an NBA or NHL player partaking in tobacco during competition. Sherrill Headrick, a center and linebacker in the AFL from 1960-68, is believed to be the last pro football player to use tobacco during games.

"We know it's part of the history,'' said Cincinnati Reds first baseman Scott Hatteberg, who quit tobacco after having a Kinsler-like episode in high school. "Growing up, the stereotypical ball player was a dirty guy with a chaw.''

With tobacco comes a health risk that dwarfs the dangers of the current hot-button topics in baseball: steroids, human growth hormones and amphetamines.

According to the National Cancer Institute, smokeless-tobacco users develop oral cancer at about 50 times the rate of the general population. The legendary Ruth died, in 1948, from oral cancer.

The NCI is studying data on the relationship between smokeless tobacco and heart disease. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests a link.

Doctors told San Diego reliever Doug Brocail that using dip tobacco for more than 20 years probably contributed to a 99 percent blockage in a left coronary artery branch. Brocail had an angioplasty in 2006.

A sticky issue

MLB would like to rid the game of tobacco's stain.

Clubs cannot provide tobacco to players, a radical change from the days when clubhouses brimmed with cartons of cigarettes, pouches of tobacco and tins of snuff.

In 1993, MLB banned the use of tobacco by all minor-leaguers not on 40-man major-league rosters and therefore not represented by the Major League Baseball Players Association. MLB hoped the bottom-up approach would wean players from tobacco before they reached the majors.

MLB offers educational programs and oral screening for players, but it is powerless to ban tobacco at the major-league level. As an issue for the basic agreement, that requires the union's approval.

Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president for labor relations and human resources, said the issue of banning tobacco has come up during negotiations on the basic agreement. It did not get traction because the issues of performance-enhancing substances such as steroids and illegal drugs took precedence.

"It's a tough issue,'' Manfred said. "It's an issue of personal choice, and the union has been clear of where it stands on that.''

Officials with the Major League Baseball Players Association did not respond to requests for comment. The union has recognized that tobacco is a health issue but believes personal choice is more important than establishing a ban and penalties.

"It's a far cry to say that because it's bad for you, you should participate in a structure which allows your employer to punish you for doing something you shouldn't be doing,'' union chief executive officer Gene Orza said in 2004 during a panel discussion.

A long history

Tobacco has been interwoven with the game's appeal for more than a century.

Baseball cards started as a promotion by tobacco companies. By 1910, advertising for American Tobacco's Bull Durham brand at ballparks was common.

Hall of Famer Ty Cobb treated his bats with juice from Nerve navy cut, a slow-burning, rope-like tobacco that was often steeped in rum. The introduction of the spitball in 1902 encouraged pitchers to chew so they could have a ready supply of juice to put on the baseball.

The advent of televised games increased tobacco's presence. Cigarette makers advertised on the telecasts, and their brands became identified with teams.

Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan said that when he broke into the majors with the New York Mets in 1968, more than half the team smoked.

About a decade later, as the health risks of cigarettes became better known, players returned to the old habits of chewing tobacco and dipping snuff. All the while, tobacco companies provided free products to teams and included players in advertising programs.

"We do know that young players starting in the game admire the leaders and look up to them,'' said Dr. Herbert Severson, a psychologist at the University of Oregon and a scientist at the Oregon Research Institute. "They see them chew and develop the perception that to be successful, you have to chew."

Severson served as the senior research scientist on a study of the use of smokeless tobacco by major-league players from 1998-2003. Severson found smokeless tobacco is far more prevalent in baseball than in the overall population.

According to Severson, the rate of usage in baseball ranged from 30-36 percent during the study. According to the most recent data, about 10 percent of all males use smokeless tobacco.

The study said that about 40 percent of the users considered themselves addicted to smokeless tobacco. Others said they used it as means of relaxation or to sharpen focus and therefore improve performance.

In a survey of major-leaguers from 1988-90, the University of Washington's School of Dentistry found no relationship between tobacco use and performance. Users did not produce as a better rate than players who abstain. Severson's study showed the same pattern.

"There's this mythology that it somehow makes you a better player,'' Severson said. "There are a lot of myths that players buy into, but we can find no evidence to support them.

"One thing about baseball is that a lot of rituals and myths are passed down from generation to generation. That's pretty strong.''

How strong?

During spring training, Red Sox team president Larry Lucchino offered to make a $20,000 donation to Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute if manager Terry Francona quit his tobacco habit. If Francona fails, he will give $20,000 to the institute.

Francona said this week that he is struggling with the change.

"I'm hanging by a thread,'' Francona said. "I'm going to keep trying, but it's hard.''

Johnny Footstool
04-26-2007, 02:33 PM
Here's how they get you hooked:

http://www.ashleysaunders.com/ashblog/archives/chew.jpg

I remember the jingle:

You're in the big leagues
When you make a perfect slide
You're in the big leagues
When you keep your team alive
You're in the big leagues
When you block a shot or two
You're in the big leagues
[clap clap]
When you're in the Big League Chew

Degenerate39
04-26-2007, 02:35 PM
Hamilton always has a big dip in

Johnny Footstool
04-26-2007, 02:43 PM
Hamilton always has a big dip in

A friend of mine is a recovering addict, and he tells me that booze and tobacco are indeed gateway drugs, but the gate swings both ways. In other words, while those substances can lead you to try more intense drugs, they can also help ween you off those drugs.

KittyDuran
04-26-2007, 04:32 PM
Hamilton always has a big dip inI haven't really seen him with a dip in - but noticed the round tin in his back pocket when he was on base (of course, I was admiring the view as well...:devil: ). Does Dunn still dip and smoke?

westofyou
04-26-2007, 04:33 PM
I swallowed part of my chew during a game once... never chewed again.

KittyDuran
04-26-2007, 04:36 PM
Being around chewers and smokers (mostly men) I just thought that's what men smelled like. My grandfather offered a big chaw for a bee sting when I was little when I couldn't find any good mud - yuck! :p:

dabvu2498
04-26-2007, 04:40 PM
Being around chewers and smokers (mostly men) I just thought that's what men smelled like. My grandfather offered a big chaw for a bee sting when I was little when I couldn't find any good mud - yuck! :p:

My dad used to do that for my bee stings. Nothing like throwing a fat wad of chewing tobacco on the bottom of a 5 year old's foot.

dabvu2498
04-26-2007, 04:53 PM
Back to the chew issue -- not just baseball players. Ever see Warren Sapp doing a postgame interview? Looks like he's got about half a can in his lip. Ever see Tubby Smith spit in a cup on the sidelines during a UK game? David Duval used to play with a huge lip stretcher in.

Obviously baseball players are the most blatant ones, but you don't see as many cans in back pockets as you used to.

RANDY IN INDY
04-26-2007, 06:19 PM
I have been a user of Chewing Tobacco for a long time. I am trying to quit as I type. Haven't had a chew since last week.

forfreelin04
04-26-2007, 06:28 PM
I have been a user of Chewing Tobacco for a long time. I am trying to quit as I type. Haven't had a chew since last week.

You can do it. I've quit twice for a year at a time. Once you quit, just don't ever have a slip up. Whoops, I know that sounds like alotta pressure. But if you relapse with a buddy one time, you will easily be hooked again. Look at gum cancer pics on the Internet. Scare yourself straight if you have too!

Jr's Boy
04-26-2007, 06:37 PM
A big chew in the lower lip is a sign of a scrappy ballplayer,speaking of scrappy,you see Freel sometimes chewing.

Chip R
04-26-2007, 07:23 PM
I used to chew in high school. Pretty much our whole baseball team at one time chewed until our 1st baseman quit because of that and he told his dad who was the bank president and we had to stop after that. I didn't chew all the time though. Pretty much only when I was outside working or playing ball. When I got to college I'd chew in my dorm room but that was about it. I stopped on my own and didn't suffer any withdrawal problems. Probably because I didn't chew Copenhagen or Skoal. I'd read about oral cancer and I had a girlfriend who was going to be a nurse tell me about it and so I stopped cold turkey. When I would play softball I would get a hankering for it but that would pass.

WMR
04-26-2007, 07:28 PM
BIG CHIEF... The BEST

Yachtzee
04-26-2007, 08:15 PM
Tried it once. It made me dizzy and I didn't feel good the rest of the day. Plus, I heard rumors they put fiberglass in there to help make little cuts in your mouth to get it into your blood stream faster and it freaked me out. So I stuck to the Big League Chew. Personally, I'm fascinated by players who can keep a handful of sunflower seeds in their cheek and spit out the shells while they're on the field. I just know I would end up swallowing a bunch of seeds, shells and all, at the first ground ball hit to me.

TeamSelig
04-26-2007, 09:49 PM
For some reason chew effects me like crazy.... I had tried very small amounts of it when I was about 14-15 and it made me real dizzy, but it wasn't that bad aside from tasting like crap. So finally I tried to be tough and put a big one in. I laid down for about 4-5 hours and I swear I had a hang over haha....

RFS62
04-26-2007, 10:36 PM
The shortstop on my high school team took a bad hop in the throat and swallowed a huge wad.

He laid on the ground gagging and puking for 10 minutes before he got himself under control.

I really don't understand the appeal. Seems like a nasty habit.

kaldaniels
04-26-2007, 11:08 PM
Does anyone have a roster of who dips on the Reds...just curious.

CTA513
04-26-2007, 11:26 PM
I swallowed part of my chew during a game once... never chewed again.

Im wondering when Chris Duncan is going to accidently swallow his chew.

RANDY IN INDY
04-27-2007, 09:42 AM
I'm not having any withdrawl, so to speak. I have never been, what I would call "addicted" to anything other than baseball, and well......I really like my wife.;) :laugh:, but I have always simply enjoyed a good chew. My son asked me to quit because he read about the dangers of tobacco. I think that is a good enough reason for me to quit. No problems so far.

Chip R
04-27-2007, 10:25 AM
Tried it once. It made me dizzy and I didn't feel good the rest of the day. Plus, I heard rumors they put fiberglass in there to help make little cuts in your mouth to get it into your blood stream faster and it freaked me out. So I stuck to the Big League Chew. Personally, I'm fascinated by players who can keep a handful of sunflower seeds in their cheek and spit out the shells while they're on the field. I just know I would end up swallowing a bunch of seeds, shells and all, at the first ground ball hit to me.


One of my sister's old boyfriends told me that. Only he said it was real glass, not fiberglass.

Red Leader
04-27-2007, 10:34 AM
I'm not having any withdrawl, so to speak. I have never been, what I would call "addicted" to anything other than baseball, and well......I really like my wife.;) :laugh:, but I have always simply enjoyed a good chew. My son asked me to quit because he read about the dangers of tobacco. I think that is a good enough reason for me to quit. No problems so far.

Good to hear, Randy. Keep up the good work. I support you 100%.

I had my first dip when I was 17 years old in high school. One of my friends dipped and we were out at a party one night and I asked for some. He told me I shouldn't. He told me that he didn't want me to start because he wished he wouldn't have. Like a moron, I insisted. I've been dipping ever since. Terrible, nasty habit. My wife tolerates it, but I'm sure she hates it. She's never asked me to quit, God bless her. When she was pregnant with my first son, I told her I'd quit. I didn't. Haven't even tried since then, 8 years and 4 months ago. I know I have to quit at some point, and I will.

I admire you for taking this on, Randy. It's not an easy thing to do.

zombie-a-go-go
04-27-2007, 04:21 PM
My son asked me to quit because he read about the dangers of tobacco. I think that is a good enough reason for me to quit. No problems so far.

I hear that. My wife and I quit smoking last year for our children - nothing in the world is as powerful a motivator then looking at your kids and realizing cancer could steal you away from them that much quicker.

Hang in there. I'll be rooting for you. :thumbup:

TOBTTReds
04-27-2007, 04:41 PM
Tried it once. It made me dizzy and I didn't feel good the rest of the day. Plus, I heard rumors they put fiberglass in there to help make little cuts in your mouth to get it into your blood stream faster and it freaked me out. So I stuck to the Big League Chew. Personally, I'm fascinated by players who can keep a handful of sunflower seeds in their cheek and spit out the shells while they're on the field. I just know I would end up swallowing a bunch of seeds, shells and all, at the first ground ball hit to me.

I'm pretty sure it is fiberglass. Gotta get it in the blood.

I really like to do it, but have only done it probably 5 times in the last 8 years, and 2 or 3 of those times were on a Sr. trip in HS to Panama City. I know too much about it to do it often. I brush my teeth and gums immediately and use mouth wash right after dipping.

Also for me, a great substitute for the flavor and the substance is chewing on beef jerky. You can keep that in your lip for over an hour and get flavor from it the whole time from just one small piece.

I did the sunflower seeds during games, but could NEVER do it when batting. I couldn't even chew gum during an at-bat. I think I was too nervous or something. I would always spit out my seeds or gum when walking to the plate.

Red Leader
04-27-2007, 04:52 PM
Also for me, a great substitute for the flavor and the substance is chewing on beef jerky. You can keep that in your lip for over an hour and get flavor from it the whole time from just one small piece.



It's funny you mentioned beef jerky because that's what I was planning on using when I do quit. I was thinking about buying jerky and shaving it down to fine grain and almost dipping that for a couple weeks until I'm weened off the nicotine. I'm thinking that will make it an easier transition. I'm hoping at least.


And as an FYI, I know it IS fiberglass. Mostly used in Copenhagen, but I've heard that they put it in Kodiak products as well.

TeamSelig
04-27-2007, 05:24 PM
I am a master-sun-flower-seed-spitting-champion.... I could go through an entire bag in one game. Usually I'd get about two handfuls before everyone else uses them up though. Our high school team would get one of those 5 gallon buckets full of them, but they wouldn't last a whole season.

Fullboat
04-29-2007, 02:58 AM
Never tried the stuff.Every time I hear the word Baseball and
chew I get images of Lenny Dykstra roaming the Veterans stadium OF yuck.

BoydsOfSummer
04-29-2007, 04:20 AM
Who was it that said, "You could get cancer from just playing out there" after Dykstra had roamed for a couple innings.

GAC
04-29-2007, 05:20 AM
I have been a user of Chewing Tobacco for a long time. I am trying to quit as I type. Haven't had a chew since last week.

When they banned all tobacco products at Honda, I think it affected the chewers worse. Many switched to tobacco-less products, but how can management tell? And would you like the job of having to verify what you have in your mouth to insure it's within the company guidelines? :lol:

Deepred05
04-30-2007, 01:26 AM
What was the name of that former player who had his jaw removed and went to all the clubhouses lecturing on the evils of tobacco? I believe he and Joe Garagiola were the first to turn the tide on baseball and tobacco. (If I remember correctly they had it banned in the minor leagues.)

On a lighter note, I have been smoke free for two months. Had a scare a couple of months ago and quit cold turkey. It is unbelievable how hard it is, and friends have told me chewing tobacco is harder than smoking to quit.

medford
04-30-2007, 05:35 AM
It's funny you mentioned beef jerky because that's what I was planning on using when I do quit. I was thinking about buying jerky and shaving it down to fine grain and almost dipping that for a couple weeks until I'm weened off the nicotine. I'm thinking that will make it an easier transition. I'm hoping at least.


And as an FYI, I know it IS fiberglass. Mostly used in Copenhagen, but I've heard that they put it in Kodiak products as well.


I believe at some point they made a shaved up beef jerky that came in a round can similar to a tin of dip. I haven't seen it in a while, so it may no longer exist.

Red Heeler
04-30-2007, 08:01 AM
It's funny you mentioned beef jerky because that's what I was planning on using when I do quit. I was thinking about buying jerky and shaving it down to fine grain and almost dipping that for a couple weeks until I'm weened off the nicotine. I'm thinking that will make it an easier transition. I'm hoping at least.


And as an FYI, I know it IS fiberglass. Mostly used in Copenhagen, but I've heard that they put it in Kodiak products as well.

I managed to quit dipping for a while during vet school, but finals came, and I couldn't keep it up. For the sake of my son, I'm going to quit for good now.

I used a mint snuff to help me wean off the nicotine. I began by mixing 1 can mint to 3 cans tobacco, then 2/2, 3/1, etc. I never really had any withdrawal symptoms like I do if I go for a long period cold turkey. You can order the mint snuff at http://www.mintsnuff.com/

Good luck!!!

RANDY IN INDY
04-30-2007, 08:04 AM
I just dropped it, cold turkey and have experienced no withdrawl. Going on two weeks right now and I haven't really had any desire to chew. Still have a full pack sitting on the counter.

Red Leader
04-30-2007, 08:46 AM
I just dropped it, cold turkey and have experienced no withdrawl. Going on two weeks right now and I haven't really had any desire to chew. Still have a full pack sitting on the counter.

Good for you, Randy. That's excellent. How many years did you chew?

RANDY IN INDY
04-30-2007, 08:57 AM
I started when I was 16.

RANDY IN INDY
05-05-2007, 10:34 AM
Going on three weeks.:wave:

Yachtzee
05-05-2007, 11:13 AM
Going on three weeks.:wave:

Way to go!

RANDY IN INDY
05-17-2007, 03:42 PM
Still tobacco free!

Chip R
05-17-2007, 03:44 PM
Keep it up! :clap:

RichRed
05-17-2007, 04:19 PM
Here's how they get you hooked:

http://www.ashleysaunders.com/ashblog/archives/chew.jpg



Invented by Jim Bouton, along with fellow pitcher Rob Nelson.

BRM
05-17-2007, 04:24 PM
Still tobacco free!

Congrats Randy! Keep it up. I quit two years ago and haven't looked back.