Without the fanfare that we would expect, this summer marks the 30th Anniversary of a childhood favorite – Big League Chew. While there are (unfortunately) no special commemorative packs or fanfare, such an iconic product deserves celebration. For many, Big League Chew was almost as integral to Little League Baseball (or Softball) as cleats, baseball pants, button-up t-shirts and a favorite glove. Games were spent fielding grounders, snagging fly balls, imitating Griffey Junior in the batter’s box, and every trip to the dugout resulted in another mouthful of “Chew.” Flavors like “Ground Ball Grape,” and “Outta Here Original,” help conjure memories of the summer sun, the smell of fresh-cut grass, the feel of the infield dirt sliding into second base, and the sounds of 25 parents cheering in the bleachers.
While we may have moved past the days of T-Ball and Machine Pitch, there is nothing that should prevent you from picking up a pack the next time you see it, and remember your younger years. Heck, if you’re feeling ambitious, buy a 12-pack and give it out to your friends. It’ll certainly hearken to simpler days and bygone youth.
A bit of history: Big League Chew was invented by former major leaguers Jim Bouton and Rob Nelson as an alternative to real chewing tobacco. The first batch was actually handmade by Bouton in a frying pan in his kitchen. Although the gum companies were hesitant at first, in 1980 the first packs were sold to the public.
By Patrick Morris