Text written by Albert Kilchesty
Smokin' Brand (private collection)
Tobacco - Back in the day when ballplayers, even stars, needed to supplement their income by taking off-season jobs, endorsement opportunities were easy ways to make much-needed extra dough. Of all national advertisers, breweries and tobacco companies paid best. Cigarette ads, similar to those seen here, loved to feature players “enjoying” their favorite smokes. Such stars as Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio and Ewell Blackwell (Smokin’ Brand), and pitchmen like announcer Red Barber (seen at top left introducing a cast of players in Camel Brand) may not have smoked the brand of cigarettes they hawked—may not have smoked at all—but were happy to cash a check. Most insidious was the effect these ads had on kids, who are always quick to emulate a hero. If Teddy Ballgame smokes, why can’t I? The ubiquitous bulge in the cheek—chewing tobacco, “chaw”—has been used by comics for decades as useful shorthand for quickly identifying a baseball player in a skit. There’s nothing funny about its effects, however. Chaw is every bit as addictive as smoking tobacco, its use just as deadly. The disgusting habit, illustrated by Pepper Martin (center) seen “dipping” in Chaw Brand, continues to hook players today, despite warnings from former stars like George Brett (right). Chaw user Bill Tuttle (left), an American League outfielder during the ’50s, had his cancerous jaw removed prior to death.
Chaw Brand (private collection)