Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Use of a Catcher’s Mask in a Baseball Game in 1877

 

Top Ten things not to do

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.)

65 comments

  1. This was great, John! When I was a kid, I loved Crackerjack. I had no idea it’s been around so long. Thanks for the Monday morning laughs! Enjoy your day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those peanuts were the best. I remember it as a kid too. Thanks, Jill.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The 1877 version of the game sounds quite sedate!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Except for catchers getting their teeth knocked out, I would say so. Thanks, Liz

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Man, you keep a tight schedule! You’ve become a literary staple. This is good stuff, good friend! ♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Billy Ray. You know us old folks gotta keep our routines lest we forget we are here. 😁

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  4. Interesting choice. Always forget that safety equipment developed slower than the sport.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a good point. You might be interested to know the catcher’s mask was made from a fencer’s mask.

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      1. I think I heard that once before. Cool.

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  5. And for heaven’s sake, don’t ask if they can’t do something to speed up the game. I have a feeling that’s why the organ playing and luxury suites were invented — for the people who got dragged to the games by the real fans!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. For a true fan it has to be some kind of escape technique to sit there for nine innings. Thanks, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What’s a baseball game without hot dogs, peanuts, and Crackerjacks? Actually, baseball bores me and I’d probably take a book anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. I know what you mean. Thank you, Teri.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m good with number 10, John – I’ve never turned down a beer. I am surprised about the first organ music. And, they decided to add an organ but not lights…hmmm. And, holy cow on the mascot thing.

    I just saw a show about snacks, so I knew Cracker Jack wasn’t around. I would not have wanted to be a catcher before the protective gear went through a could design iterations.

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    1. I’m with you. Let’s see. A ninety mile an hour ball with a wooden core meets a dead stopped face with nothing.

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      1. I know right?

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  8. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    My goodness, I haven’t thought about Cracker Jacks for decades. Thanks for the history lesson and laughter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The old history minor here. Thanks, Gwen

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  9. I didn’t know that about Taft. I learn something every Monday thanks to you.

    As for no hot dogs at a ballgame . . doesn’t seem right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No dogs and I’m outa there. Thanks for letting me know I’m more than a pretty face. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re so much more, Boss

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  10. I did not know #5, and Wrigley is practically in my backyard (well, a couple of hours north at least!). I guess it’s understandable, since 1941 was way before my time. The tough thing about watching baseball is enduring how SLOW it is!!

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    1. I know, Debbie. Without beer and peanuts it is a loooong outing.

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  11. Good one John. This date also coincides with the equally strange event – catchers started wearing their hats backward. Huh ? And with the period of perplexing consideration – should we let the darn umpire wear a mask too ? Insert double huh here! Some people just want to drain every drop of fun out of the game…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. I agree. What little joy there is has been sapped by protective equipment.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. An interesting Baseball history lesson, John! And the list is hilarious, as always!

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  13. I love how these lists are hidden history lessons. Had no idea the 7th inning stretch was born of a leg cramp!
    And yeah, no. No hotdogs, no ballgame… 😉
    Always a joy to read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As a history minor in college I can’t help but start researching and up pops the darnedest stuff. Thanks, Dale.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love that you do! Makes us, your readers, all the better at Trivial Pursuit 😉

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      2. Thank you, Dale. Such a nice comment.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. For such a nice guy! xo

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      4. AW. Thank you. XO

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      5. Tell it like it is broad, am I! xoxo

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      6. 💖🍻

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  14. Okay – maybe I can think of another one tomorrow – today I’m too busy laughing! Thanks, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll take that. Thanks, GP.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    I can’t imagine being a catcher before a mask. Even with all their protective gear now they still get hurt. Great list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t imagine catching period.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This was funny John, but you sprinkled a lot of interesting facts here as well.
    Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. The poor catcher probably got tired of all those spitballs. I think a fastball back then was in the 70s, but would still hurt. They have beer, so I don’t need anything else. No instant replay, no designated hitter, no social distancing. Sounds like a good afternoon to me.

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    1. I thought of you when I wrote this. Thanks, Craig.

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      1. I’m missing baseball right now. It’s for the greater good, but I still miss it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We all thank you.

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  18. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out another great top ten list from this post on John Howell’s blog. This one is the TOP TEN THINGS NOT TO DO AT THE FIRST USE OF A CATCHER’S MASK IN A BASEBALL GAME IN 1877

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    1. Thank you, Don

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome.

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  19. I didn’t weigh in yesterday when I first read this, because frankly I’m very emotionally depleted. 800 people died in New York yesterday.

    But I woke up thinking of catcher’s mitts. Made me go back to being a young girl, learning all about the Yankees. I remembered the late Thurman Munson, and my father explaining why he wore one over his face. An image of him, pulling it off, either in anger or cause the game was over, came to mind. Then my reverie went to, dogs in muzzles and Hannibal Lector…but where it finished which is probably where it subconsciously started, was with surgical masks.

    History, it emboldens as well as comforts, even at 4 o’clock in the morning.

    Susannah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My heart goes out to you in having to deal with the daily reality of this curse. The idea of allowing your mind to take a moment of rest while thinking of other things is great to know. Of course, history brings us back to the present but hopefully the tour gave some relief no matter how brief. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  20. After a very long day of work I read this post. This is so funny, and just what I needed. From Kill the Umpire and Tiny, to the hot dog heh-heh-heh, I laughed my head off! Thank you, John. Oh, and it doesn’t o unnoticed that your research is extensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Jennie. The research takes the time. Glad you noticed.

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      1. I am always impressed with the research, and more so how you use that with great humor. Super, John!

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      2. Aw. You make me blush. 😁

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      3. I’m so glad! 🙂

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  21. I would love to have seen the faces on the other players when he walked onto the field. That was a fun visit to the early days of baseball.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right? Thanks, Mark.

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  22. Speaking of catchers, which famous catcher said: “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”
    AND
    “No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.”
    AND
    “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
    AND
    “Never answer an anonymous letter.”
    AND
    “Pair up in threes.”
    AND
    “I don’t know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.”
    AND LASTLY:
    “The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yogi Berra is the man

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