Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Esquire: Baseball Is Losing Its Ugly: A Lament for Big League Chew

I’d rather have an after-picture of Bill Tuttle on the pouch instead of Matt Kemp and Cole Hamels.

Earlier this month, it was announced that, come June, Big League Chew bubble gum — invented in 1968 by former all-star pitcher Jim Bouton and Rob Nelson, when both were teammates with the Class A Portland Mavericks — will no longer feature uncouth cartoon characters on its pouches. They will be replaced with photos of actual major leaguers. This blows.

Not the change itself. It isn’t the first time the iconic illustrations of Georgia artist Bill Mayer were swapped out for images of pro players. A brief promotion in the late 1990s had Hall of Famers Juan Marichal, Billy Williams, and Brooks Robinson gracing the gum. What’s upsetting is the players chosen this time: Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels.

...But that’s one of the beauties of the national pastime: the unnecessariness of beauty. And that’s what’s always been so great about the drawings adorning Big League Chew: They embrace baseball’s brutishness. The butt chin, greasy long hair, kielbasa schnoz. This was intentional. “My characters were exaggerated, crusty, rough,” says Mayer, who’s also done work for IBM, DreamWorks, Levi’s, and even designed a series of U.S. stamps. “I spent a few years growing up in New York. I grew up with Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra. Scraggly, ballsy players.”

Bouton fell in love with the artwork at first sight. “They were funky, edgy,” he says. “They looked real. They weren’t Disney characters. And none of them used steroids.”

Kemp and Hamels are the opposite of crusty, scraggly, edgy. In fact, there are few bigger pretty boys in the game (after Jeter, of course).

Repoz Posted: March 23, 2013 at 08:12 AM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Jacob Posted: March 23, 2013 at 10:50 PM (#4395159)
So, who's are the "funky, edgy” guys that should grace the pouches?

(Besides, the old cartoon characters, I mean.)
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 23, 2013 at 10:55 PM (#4395161)
Youkilis seems like a natural.
   3. Dan Posted: March 23, 2013 at 10:56 PM (#4395164)
Harper wouldn't be bad.
   4. A Di-J Persnickety Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:02 PM (#4395169)
Dickey
   5. Tripon Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:02 PM (#4395170)
Joe Blanton is fugly. Ronald Belisario has a natural pock marked face.
   6. A Di-J Persnickety Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:08 PM (#4395172)
Heath Bell
   7. Leroy Kincaid Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:15 PM (#4395176)
(White) Sammy Sosa
   8. you mess with the meat you get the wada Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4395177)
is Gary Gietti too far removed from the game?
   9. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 24, 2013 at 03:23 AM (#4395203)
   10. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 24, 2013 at 07:13 AM (#4395209)
Julian "Freddy" Tavarez is in a whole different category. We're not trying to scare away potential eight-year-old buyers here.
   11. bfan Posted: March 24, 2013 at 09:41 AM (#4395214)
Esquire is a pretty boy fashion magazine. I don't get my fashion news from SI, and I don't get my sports news from Esquire or Elle.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Jim Wisinski
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOn Their Game: Randy Johnson and Geddy Lee | MLB.com
(11 - 3:15am, May 24)
Last: Pat Rapper's Delight

NewsblogHolding Separate Elections For Player and Non-Player Candidates Would Greatly Improve the Hall of Fame's Era Ballot Vote Process
(19 - 2:55am, May 24)
Last: DanG

NewsblogMoney is MLB's biggest obstacle to a 154-game season
(30 - 1:49am, May 24)
Last: Squash

NewsblogMike Trout teaches expert lesson in the art of sliding | MLB.com
(34 - 1:44am, May 24)
Last: puck

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 5-23-2015
(106 - 1:18am, May 24)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogYankees will pay Alex Rodriguez's home run bonus if .... | NJ.com
(12 - 12:51am, May 24)
Last: billyshears

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - May 2015
(2057 - 12:36am, May 24)
Last: Athletic Supporter is trying to remember your name

NewsblogAlex Rodriguez ties Babe Ruth for 4th on all-time RBIs list at 1,992
(11 - 12:08am, May 24)
Last: Drexl Spivey

NewsblogOT: 2015 NHL Playoff thread
(460 - 10:39pm, May 23)
Last: Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 5-22-15
(98 - 10:36pm, May 23)
Last: DKDC

NewsblogOTP - May 2015: Jeb Bush would like to watch baseball with Teddy Roosevelt and Pitbull
(3715 - 10:12pm, May 23)
Last: Gonfalon Bubble

NewsblogMatt Williams on Harper: ‘I want Bryce to be Bryce’ - The Washington Post
(4 - 9:54pm, May 23)
Last: Misirlou's got a job, but it don't pay

NewsblogBBTF 2015 Shooty Memorial Softball Meet-up!
(243 - 8:11pm, May 23)
Last: Swoboda is freedom

NewsblogOT: Soccer March 2015
(1055 - 8:10pm, May 23)
Last: jmurph

NewsblogMURRAY CHASS: FIVE PERCENT IS NO SOLUTION
(11 - 7:39pm, May 23)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

Page rendered in 0.2001 seconds
50 querie(s) executed