Baseball is a game steeped in tradition and superstition, with many players and fans engaging in rituals to bring luck or success to their team. From the well-known to the downright bizarre, these quirky traditions add a unique charm to America's Pastime. In this edition of Baseball Authority, we delve into the fascinating world of baseball superstitions and rituals, exploring the unique practices of players and fans alike.
The Curse of the Bambino
The most famous baseball superstition is the Curse of the Bambino, a mythical curse that supposedly plagued the Boston Red Sox for 86 years after trading Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. The Red Sox finally broke the curse in 2004, winning their first World Series since 1918.
A fan favorite, the rally cap is a widely practiced superstition where fans turn their hats inside out or wear them backward to will their team to score late in the game. Though the rally cap's origin is unclear, it's a tradition that unites fans in their support for their team.
Many players have pregame rituals that they perform religiously. For example, Hall of Famer Wade Boggs ate fried chicken before every game, while former MLB pitcher Turk Wendell brushed his teeth between innings. These routines are believed to bring good luck and help players maintain focus.
Some players turn to lucky charms for an extra boost of confidence. Nomar Garciaparra, a former shortstop for the Red Sox, famously wore the same batting gloves during hitting streaks
, believing they brought him luck. Other players have used necklaces, bracelets, or even specific articles of clothing to harness good fortune.
No Talking About a No-Hitter
In baseball, it's considered bad luck to mention a no-hitter or perfect game in progress. Players and fans alike avoid discussing the feat, fearing that doing so will jinx the pitcher's chances of achieving the rare accomplishment.
The Seventh-Inning Stretch
Although not strictly a superstition, the seventh-inning stretch is a beloved tradition where fans stand and stretch during the middle of the seventh inning. Often accompanied by the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," this ritual is thought to bring good vibes and energize the team for the final innings.
Pitcher's Mound Quirks
Pitchers are known for their idiosyncrasies on the mound. Some, like Mark Fidrych, would talk to the baseball before pitching, while others, like Greg Maddux, would avoid stepping on the foul lines when entering or leaving the field. These habits are deeply ingrained in the player's psyche and believed to help them perform at their best.
Baseball superstitions and rituals provide a glimpse into the minds of players and fans, revealing a deep connection to the game and a belief in the power of luck and routine. These quirky traditions contribute to the rich tapestry of baseball's history and culture, uniting generations of fans and players in their love for America's Pastime. Whether you wear your rally cap, avoid mentioning a no-hitter, or have your own unique ritual, these superstitions remind us that baseball is a game that transcends the field and reaches deep into the hearts of its devotees.