Baseball’s Unique, Wild Pranks Are Crazy

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

LOS ANGELES — Practical jokes are as much a part of baseball as the ball and bat.

The game overflows with athletes who dream up schemes to get a rise out of their teammates.

One of the best pranks took place in 1995 when Ken Griffey, Jr. left a pregnant 1,200-pound cow in Manager Lou Piniella’s office.

Griffey owned Piniella a steak dinner after being unable to hit a ball off Scott Davidson during batting practice. The manager’s response to the smelly slobber all over his office: “It reminds me a lot of Cincinnati (and owner Marge Schott’s dogs).”

One of the standby gags players do to their teammates is put eye black on the sweat band of hats. When the unsuspecting player reaches for his cap, he usually rotates the bill of the cap back and forth until the cap sits perfectly on top of his head.

Unfortunately, when the player does this, the eye black is rubbed right into the hair and forehead of the athlete. When the hat is taken off, a smeared black line can be seen across the forehead of the player.

Shaving cream is another classic for pranksters.

“I remember when I was playing for the University of Arizona years ago, one player would have the shaving cream joke played on him over and over again,” said Chip Stratton, one of the top hitting instructors in the state of Arizona.

“One time shaving cream would be put in the finger holes of his fielder’s glove. When he put his fingers in, shaving cream would fly out. The look on his face was priceless. Another technique was to put shaving cream in his shoes. You had to be careful to push the shaving cream deep into the shoe so it wouldn’t be visible when he started to put his feet in.

“Once his feet slid in, shaving cream would start flying out. Again, the look of the player was priceless after this happened,” laughed Stratton.

“We either did the glove or shoe gag to this one player at Arizona, and he fell for it all the time.”

Deodorant Caper
The Cultural Encyclopedia Of Baseball, written by Jonathan Fraser Light, explained several practical jokes over history.

Yogi Berra was always borrowing Whitey Ford’s deodorant.

In retaliation, Ford and Mickey Mantle supposedly put stickum in Ford’s roll-on deodorant and left it on the shelf for Berra’s use.

Berra’s arms became stuck to his sides, and the trainer had to cut off his underarm hair and use alcohol to get the stickum off.

The “stickum,” which he kept in a deodorant container, was actually Ford’s secret formula for making his hands stickier in cold weather.

In the late 1950s, Sherman Lollar of the White Sox was the team’s designated practical joker and glove “fixer.”

On a hot day, he stuffed catcher Clint Courtney’s glove with limburger cheese.

He also rubbed the stuff on Courtney’s uniform. The stench became so strong that the umpire made the catcher change his uniform.

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