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Remember Bazooka Joe comics, bubblegum and baseball cards? The World Series brings back memories

Hanser Alberto blows a huge bubble in the dugout in Toronto May 4, 2016, and two more Rangers are chewing the pink gob. Baseball and bubblegum. It’s here to stay. Credit theledgesports.com.

The pink gob. You can’t chew just one.

This pink treat is as American as apple pie and ice cream. Photo Credit topps.com.

If you’ve sat close to the dugouts, especially at AA and AAA games, did you ever wonder why so many players chewed bubblegum? Some are purists and solely chew the sweet gob. Some mix their pink delight with chewing tobacco. That makes for a real ugly wad in their mouth! Nonetheless, it’s popular and many like it.

Father and daughter baseball fans

In the mid-’60s, my father and I enjoyed baseball together. We followed the Milwaukee Braves and Minnesota Twins. Both teams had a player we admired – Hank Aaron and Harmon Killebrew. When my father played in our hometown game, I would earn 50 cents by playing the national anthem and favored melodies on my mother’s Hammond organ that my father trekked to the ball field those Sunday game days. That 50 cents paid for a pack of gum, bag of popcorn, and a bottle of Pepsi Cola, leaving a nickel leftover. Back then that was a deal!

One of the collectible cards I got as a kid with bubblegum. Photo Credit psacard.com.

Remember this song?

That was also the era when we sang along to this hit song playing on the radio, “Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight”. I can’t say I remember the words beyond the first chorus, but it was fun, nonetheless. (This is definitely going to get stuck in your head.)

Meeting an admirable referent

A decade later, I was fortunate to meet Hank “Hammer” Aaron. It was April 21, 1974, top of the 7th inning, when Hammer hit his 717th home run against the Houston Astros at the Astrodome. While the entire crowd gave him a standing ovation, he graciously acknowledged this achievement. While we kept cheering, Hank walked over to where a handful of us active-duty folks in uniform were cheering. I will never forget the impression it made! He greeted us with warmth, autographed all tickets and chatted with us. Above all else, a sportsman worthy of admiration.

Long ago I lost the baseball cards that accompanied that juicy pink bubble maker. And, of course, the Bazooka Joe comics came in handy when it was time to throw away the tasteless wad for a fresh piece. While Hank holds second place in overall home runs throughout his baseball career, he carried himself with grace, never losing sight of sportsmanship.

The playoffs begin this Tuesday, October 5th. Watch the league playoffs wherever you land. Baseball still remains America’s favorite pastime.

Related:

2021 MLB postseason schedule

##RVT1020

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Drew
2 months ago

I used to chew Double Bubble- I thought it had better flavor than Bazooka. Thanks for the memories. Just an aside- the player who passed Hank for the record did so under dubious circumstances. Today I still am not sure he did it under his own merit. He has to live with that.

Joe
2 months ago

I grew up a few miles away from the plant in Duryea Pennsylvania during the 60’s My mother worked there full time and so did my brother in the summer during college also the father of one my friends worked the docks. My childhood friends and I could ride our bikes to the plant and get as many baseball cards that were destined for the dump as we wanted. Sometimes they would be team sheets with something wrong with them or single players that were on small rolls that were to small for the machines. I literally had thousands of cards, mostly of the Dodgers and Yankees and any other famous players. Sadly my mother threw them out along with many of my toys when we moved because she did not want to pay the moving cost. We did however ruin many of them with our bike spokes, I can still remember the sound they made.

Craig Seitz
2 months ago

My first baseball card was a Hank Aaron. It’s still my favorite. I don’t care what the record book says, Hank is the all time homerun king.