Baseball, according to WW2 military commanders, is a game every red-blooded American male should know how to play. Read on as Gary McClure discusses a few other lesser known (and interesting) facts about America’s favorite pastime.
Q: How did the military use baseball as part of its strategic planning during WW2?
Gary McClure: Weapons engineers and US leaders at the time designed the grenade to be the same size and weight as a standard baseball. The reasoning was that “any American young man” should be able to throw a baseball properly and thus have greater control over where his grenade landed on the battlefield.
Q: Have there ever been MLB players with disabilities?
Gary McClure: NY Yankee Jim Abbott was born without a right hand. That did not stop him from throwing a no hitter in 1993 against Cleveland. He played for 10 seasons before retiring. Another player, Eddie Gaedel, is known as the shortest player in baseball’s history. At just 3’7”, Gaedel’s dwarfism may have been the result of a thyroid disorder.
Q: What is the link between baseball and bank robbery?
Gary McClure: John Dillinger, the infamous gangster from the 1930s, was a huge baseball fan and was purportedly considered for a professional career. Had Dillinger made a few different choices in life, he might have been an MVP instead of the FBI’s Public Enemy #1.
Q: What is baseball rubbing mud?
Gary McClure: Baseballs are white, shiny, and hard to grip right out of the packaging. In order to rough up the surface, all balls are rubbed in mud before being put into play. MLB balls are rubbed in a very specific mud, Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud, which is only found in one secret location in New Jersey.