Baseball and bad breath
SUMMARY: The Great American Pastime was once much more prone to the Great American Affliction: bad breath.
Posted: April 23, 2012
Here are a few choice anecdotes about bad breath and the Great American Pastime.
- George Stallings was called the "Miracle Man." In 1914, he was the manager of the seemingly worthless Boston Braves, who were stuck in last place. However, starting in July of that year, his team picked up steam, eventually winning the World Series against the notoriously tough Philadelphia As. Stallings was instantly a hero. However, even in victory, he was known for having a dirty mouth, both literally and figuratively. Stallings was famed for his foul language and - according to Floyd Conner's book Baseball's Most Wanted II - for his bad breath. Reportedly, a rookie player once told Stallings that the dugout smelled like an open sewer. Stallings archly responded, "That's my breath. By this time tomorrow, you'll be too far away to smell anything."
- Fielder and baseman Dave Kingman was famed for his towering height (he was 6' 6"). However, he also had a sharp tongue. According to former umpire Ken Kaiser in his book Planet of the Umps, Kingman once got thrown out of a game for arguing with umpire Steve Palermo. Not one to let it go, Kingman later asked the press to "tell Palermo he's got the worst case of bad breath I've ever seen. He's got to cut down on the garlic." Karma ultimately caught up with Kingman: The next week, he tried yelling at the ump while running to first, but tripped and strained a muscle. The ump in question? Palermo.
- When Baseball Digest asked Kansas City Royals catcher Bob Boone how he ignored an umpire's bad breath coming over his shoulder, he said, "The only way I can explain it is that it's an art form, rather than a science."
What formerly caused so much halitosis on the diamond? It may have been chewing tobacco, a habit once popular among baseball players and one that causes bad breath, tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease and oral cancers.
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