Diamond Notes: Baseball Superstitions

Baseball Superstitions II

By: Austin Alexander-Halloween, 2006


Last time we addressed the silly superstitions of baseball that us regular folk use to “stay hot” or end a slump. We failed to mention some of the quirky things that Major League players or coaches have been known to do, surely you didn’t think they were above such mundane acts!

Today we’ll take a look at some things the pros will do to resist fate.

A few names you know:

Hall of Famer Wade Boggs’ pre-game meal for 18 years consisted of chicken. Not only that, for a night game that would start at 7:30, he would leave for the park at 1:47 and run his sprints at 7:17. Once in Anaheim, the manager at the time, Gene Mauch, decided to have some fun at Boggs’ expense. Knowing of the slugger’s pre-game ritual, he had all the clocks in the ballpark frozen at 7:15 for five minutes, Boggs continued to glance around, much to the amusement to the Angles dugout. Finally, the clock turned to 7:20! At this point Boggs finally realized the joke was on him. His obsession with the number “7” stemmed from his never-ending desire to go 7-for-7 in a game…he never did.

Ken Griffey Jr. sold a car shortly after purchasing it, he claimed it didn’t have any hits in it!

St Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa (left) sometimes prints the names on the line-up cards, other times he writes it in cursive. And what determines which one? If he prints it and the Cardinals win, he continues to print until they lose, only then does he switch to cursive!

Curt Schilling leaves a ticket for his late father for every game that he has pitched in since 1988.

Dwight Gooden had a rotation of bubble gum. It started with Bazooka, if he lost, he switched to Juicy Fruit. If he lost again, he’s switch to Bubblicious. Another loss would put him back at Bazooka again, Gooden claims that he did this his whole career. He also kept the same bullpen catcher, Mike Borzello, from start his first start with the Mets until he retired as a Yankee and every team in between.

Don Robinson, a pitcher with four teams from the late 70’s to the early 90’s, would not allow anyone else to pick the ball up off of the ground at the start of the inning. If someone flipped it to him, he’d step aside and not pick the ball up until it stopped rolling. He also would never touch the resin bag claiming he was certain it was bad luck!

David Cone won two World Series clinching games in the 90’s, one with the Blue Jays and one with the Yankees. For each game, and many others throughout his career, he wore the same jacket to the ballpark. It was a Labatt’s Beer bomber jacket. He said the jacket smelled like champagne and that champagne smelled like success!

Turk Wendell, a pitcher that broke in with the Chicago Cubs in 1993, was well known for his highly unusual behavior during games. Among the many zany things he’s rumored to have done, he is best known for chewing licorice during an inning, vaulting over the fouline after the third out, then rushing to the water fountain where a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash…and more licorice awaited. Upon grooming his oral area, he’d take the mound and repeat the routine until his retirement in 2004.

More to come…

Baseball Superstitions I