Think you know everything there is to know about the beloved sport? Well, chances are that you didn’t know about a few of these before today. With the 2015 season underway, we take a look at the little known side of baseball and bring some rather interesting details blinking into the light.
1. That isn’t spit and polish
You know baseballs are made of leather. You know that leather is not the easiest material to grip when it’s pulled tight. How do you reconcile those two things, knowing that a fastball could be hurtling through the air at 95 mph?
Once upon a time baseballs were rubbed in water, grit and sometimes polish. Why? To provide a little grip to the surface of the ball. Today, and for the past 76 years, there has been a new ingredient: mud from the banks of a New Jersey river. Every MLB ball is covered with Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing mud.
2. Who needs trading cards?
Have you ever traded whole packs of baseball cards? It’s not something done every day, is it? Way back In 1957, two teams did pretty much exactly that. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs swapped out their entire 25 man strong minor-league teams, after apparently they just wanted a change.
3. A brief, weird history of the baseball bat
Nobody knows who the inventor of the bat actually was, but the creation of the modern baseball bat (the 2015 Easton XL1 Senior League is an example of this) can be attributed to 17 year old John “Bud” Hillerich in 1884. Before then, players could bring their own bats to a game with some using flat sided bats just for bunting.
Why they thought people would look at these bats and not know their intention is a mystery all of its own.
4. Early teams were recognized by their socks
When the national league was still very much in its infancy, teams were not distinguished by their jerseys but rather by their socks. Some of the most successful teams of those times are still around today, and these include the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox.
Speaking of white socks, do you know why home teams predominantly wear white socks? They are, apparently, easier to clean. It’s interesting to note that some home teams from other sports also wear white socks – and it all started with Major League Baseball.
5 Pee improves your grip…?
Two MLB players (Moises Alou and Jorge Posada) stand out from all the others because of their habit of not wearing gloves. This practice would normally hamper their game because of reduced grip, but it seems that they found a way around this.
It is claimed that the pair pee on their hands in order to improve their grip. Research argues against it, but the fact remains that the pair have amassed some impressive stats in spite (or because of) their unusual practice.
The nation’s favorite sport just got a little more interesting, right? There are lots of other little known gems, scattered through the sport’s history. Can you find anymore, or some things left unsaid (like player’s peeing habits)?
Did you know about these fun facts? Let us know if you have any more fun facts by commenting below!