This week marks the 143rd anniversary of the first use of a catcher’s mask in a baseball game. The game was between Harvard and The Live Oaks, a semi-pro team from Lynn, Massachusetts. James Alexander Tyng stepped on the field wearing a hand made version, and the rest is history. We must go to that game. Just to see the faces of the other players would be worth the price of admission (in this case it is free) Here is a list to take so we don’ do something to alter the course of history.
Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Wearing of a Catcher’s Mask in a Baseball Game in 1877.
10 If you go, do not turn down an offer of the house-brewed beer. If you do, at best, your host will think you ill. At worst, your host will think you are a temperance agent. (In 1636, John Harvard established the College’s on-campus brewery, Liam. There is nothing that Harvard men won’t do to protect their beer. Better be careful. Here comes the football team.)
9 If you go, do not yell “Kill the Umpire,” if Tiny, the WWF champ, is behind the plate. If you do, at best, you’ll be hidden in the crowd. At worst, Tiny, who has skipped his last four anger management sessions, will see you and halt the game. (You can run, but you can’t hide, Lucas. Yes, like a zombie, Tiny is coming for you. think what he has in mind is going to hurt.)
8 If you go, do not try singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” If you do, at best, everyone will think you are nuts. At worst, they’ll think you are nuts enough to require treatment. (You see, Levi, the song was not written until 1908 by lyricist Jack Norworth and composer Albert von Tilzer. Your attempt fell on very deaf and concerned ears. Oh, look. I haven’t seen a straight jacket like that in years.)
7 If you go, don’t ask to buy peanuts and Crackerjack. If you do, at best, no one will understand you. At worst, the people you ask will think you are from another planet. (Peanuts were first introduced to the ballpark in 1895. Crackerjack was invented in 1896. It appears like singing the song, Leo, your requests for peanuts, and crackerjack have folks concerned. I think it is time to say goodbye.)
6 If you go, do not get up and stretch after the first half of the seventh inning. If you do, at best, folks will think you odd. At worst, management will think you are having some kind of medical emergency and call the police. (The seventh-inning stretch did not become a thing until after President Howard Taft did it in 1910, Lawrence. He was cramped from sitting ad did a stretch. The whole stadium joined in, and the tradition was born. Right now, though, you are heading for the sanitorium if you don’t get moving.)
5 If you go, do not start yelling for the organist to play “charge.” If you do, at best, everyone will move away from you. At worst, you’ll be asked to leave the park. (Believe it or not, Lorenzo, the first organ music was played at Wrigley Field in 1941. The organist was Ray Nelson, who played classical music before the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. Here comes the Chicago Police. not ones to be messed with today.)
4 If you go, do not show up in your Yale sweatshirt. If you do, at best you’ll have a jacket to cover up. At worst, one by one, the Harvard crowd will notice what you are wearing. (I think you have attracted enough attention, Lance. It looks like the whole stadium is about to end up in your lap. I think I would just take off the shirt and throw it to them and run.)
3 If you go, don’t order a hot dog. If you do, at best, folks will ignore you. At worst, the animal rights folks at the game will want you arrested. (The hot dog first made an appearance in 1901 at Yale University and then Harry M. Stevens brought them to sell at New York ball game in 1905. I would not fool with those animal rights folks. Tellem, you just wanted to eat a hot dog, Larry. Heh heh heh)
2 If you go, do not ask anyone what costume the team mascot wears. If you do, at best, the person will just shrug a shoulder. At worst, you will rais enough questions about your background to cause a major ruckus. (The reason is, Leonard, the first costumed mascot, was Mr. Met introduced at the new Shea Stadium in 1964. before that, there were no live consumed mascots. No wonder all those people are lighting torches and carrying pitchforks.)
1 If you go, do not ask for tickets for a luxury suite. If you do, at best the clerk won’t know what you are talking about. At worst, the clerk will think you are pulling a fast one and hit the panic alarm. (The first luxury suites were installed at Palace of the Fans park in Cincinnati in 1902, Larry. It’s no wonder the clerk misunderstood your request. Well, that is all academic since the police are almost here.)