Who Invented Big League Chew?
Big League Chew is a well-known brand of bubble gum that was invented in 1980 by former Major League pitcher Rob Nelson. The product was initially created to provide an alternative to chewing tobacco for baseball players and has since become a favorite of kids and adults alike. This article will explore the story of how Big League Chew came to be, the people behind it, and the impact the product has had on the industry.
The Origin Story
In 1980, Rob Nelson was a relief pitcher for the Portland Mavericks, a minor league team in Oregon. Like many of his fellow players, Nelson was an avid user of chewing tobacco as a way to help cope with the stress and boredom of long games. However, he was also determined to find a healthier alternative to the habit.
One day, while rummaging through his kitchen cabinets, Nelson stumbled upon a bag of shredded bubble gum. He immediately had an idea: he could package the gum in a pouch and offer it as an alternative to chewing tobacco. He enlisted the help of his teammate Jim Bouton and the two men set out to create their own bubble gum product.
The Birth of Big League Chew
Nelson and Bouton worked together to develop the idea for their product, eventually settling on the name “Big League Chew.” The original pouches were made of wax paper and contained two ounces of shredded bubble gum. The bubble gum was also flavored with a unique blend of wintergreen and strawberry.
The two men then approached the Wrigley Company, which was the leading gum manufacturer at the time, with their idea. After a few months of negotiations, they were able to secure a licensing agreement to produce Big League Chew. The product was officially released in 1980 and quickly gained popularity among baseball players and fans.
The People Behind Big League Chew
Although Rob Nelson and Jim Bouton are the two men credited with inventing Big League Chew, there have been a number of other contributors to the product’s success. For example, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, another former Major League pitcher, was an early investor in the product and helped to promote it to other players.
The Wrigley Company also played an important role in the success of the product. They provided the infrastructure and marketing expertise necessary to bring Big League Chew to a national audience. Additionally, they helped to develop the iconic pouch design, which has become synonymous with the product.
The Impact of Big League Chew
Since its launch in 1980, Big League Chew has become one of the most successful bubble gum products in the world. It is now sold in stores across the United States and is a favorite among kids and adults alike.
Perhaps more importantly, the product has also helped to reduce the use of chewing tobacco among baseball players. According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of smokeless tobacco among high school baseball players has dropped by more than 60% since Big League Chew was introduced.
Big League Chew Today
Today, Big League Chew is still going strong. The product is now owned by Ford Gum & Machine Company, which purchased the rights to the product in 2008. They have since expanded the product line to include a variety of flavors and sizes, as well as special edition pouches.
The product is still extremely popular among baseball players, both in the Major and Minor Leagues. In 2012, the company even released a special edition pouch featuring the logos of all 30 Major League teams.
The Legacy of Big League Chew
Big League Chew will always be remembered as a product that changed the way people think about chewing gum. It was a pioneering product that showed the gum industry that bubble gum products could be fun and successful.
In addition, Big League Chew helped to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among baseball players. The product provided an alternative to the habit and allowed players to enjoy a healthy and safe alternative.
The Future of Big League Chew
Big League Chew is sure to remain a popular product for years to come. The company is constantly looking for ways to innovate and expand the product line. They have recently released a sugar-free version of the product and are exploring new flavors and varieties.
The product will continue to be a favorite among baseball players and fans. Its iconic pouch design and unique flavors will be around for generations to come.
Big League Chew is an iconic product that has been enjoyed by millions of people for nearly 40 years. It was invented by former Major League pitcher Rob Nelson and fellow teammate Jim Bouton as a healthier alternative to chewing tobacco. The product was licensed by the Wrigley Company, who helped to bring Big League Chew to a national audience.
Since its launch in 1980, Big League Chew has had a significant impact on the bubble gum industry. It has become a favorite among kids and adults alike and has helped to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among baseball players. The product is currently owned by Ford Gum & Machine Company and continues to be a favorite among baseball players and fans.
Big League Chew has truly made an indelible mark on the industry and will likely remain a popular product for years to come.
Keywords: Big League Chew, Rob Nelson, Jim Bouton, Wrigley Company, Portland Mavericks, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Ford Gum & Machine Company, bubble gum, chewing tobacco