Monday, November 28, 2011

CNN - Bull Durham Chewing Tobacco and the Origins of the Bullpen

"[Atlanta Braves coach Bobby] Dews played with the Cardinals farm team. Just like his father, who played more than a decade in the minors, Dews dreamed of playing in the majors. He recalls a story about chewing tobacco that his father passed down that may shed light on the roots of that baseball tradition. "It was a couple years before I was born: around 1937 or '38, shortly after they built the old ballpark in Durham, North Carolina," Dews said. "My father was in the bullpen a lot. He was a catcher. The ballpark's right field wall backed up to the Bull Durham Tobacco Factory. Young ladies who lived near the stadium would flirt with the guys in the bullpen and occasionally throw 'em tobacco." Could that be where the term bullpen derived? Bull Durham chewing tobacco? The story sounds like good old-fashioned folklore. This is a story I've lived with. You hear stories in your family so much they become true."

- Chewing tobacco and a Major League dream, CNN

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