Once again A. J. Walkley has sent us a fantastic bit of writing. This post features some of the oddest baseball superstitions. Baseball players are superstitious? Who would have thought?
Third baseman Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game, took exactly 150 groundballs during infield practice, ran wind sprints at 7:17PM during home games for the Red Sox, and also drew a chai – the Hebrew symbol for life – into the dirt of the batter’s box before every at-bat.
In 1984, Frank Viola of the Minnesota Twins never lost a game he pitched when fan Mark Dornfield was in the stands with his banner reading “Frankie Sweet Music Viola.” In 1987, Viola and Dornfield met – the same season Viola went 15-0 and the Twins made the World Series. He gave Dornfield tickets to Games 1 and 7 – games that Viola won; he was named Series MVP.
Pitcher Turk Wendell chewed four pieces of black licorice while pitching, spitting them out at the end of each inning before taking a flying leap over the baseline, returning to the dugout and brushing his teeth. Wendell would also wear a necklace decorated with trophies from animals he’d killed while hunting for sport (i.e. mountain lion claws, wild pig and buffalo teeth), among other superstitions.
Right fielder Larry Walker made sure to complete many tasks concerning the number “3” – he wore the number 3, set his alarm for 33 past the hour, took practice swings in multiples of 3, was married on the 3rd at 3:33PM and bought tickets for 33 kids to be seated in section 333 at Olympic Stadium while playing for Montreal.
Any time left fielder Kevin Rhomberg was touched, he had to touch that person back – including after being tagged out while running bases. He’d wait until the defense was clearing the field after the end of the inning before chasing down the player who tagged him for a quick touch. He also refused to turn right on the field, so if he needed to, he’d make a full circle to the left.
Former outfielder Moises Alou is famous for urinating on his hands to avoid calluses. Former New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada has been known to do the same.
Pitcher Jason Marquis unbuttoned his jacket in the dugout if there were two outs in the ninth inning and his team was ahead.
As a starting pitcher, Jason Grilli ate linguini with clam sauce before every start.
Thank you, thank you, Ali! Did you know that A. J. Walkley is the author of several books including the newly released, “Queer Greer”? You can find her on Twitter at @AJWalkley (while you are at it follow us @MirthinaBox) . She’s a fun follow! Ali also has a blog, alisonwalkley.com and a website, www.ajwalkley.com.
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