So I just happened to find a bag of Big League Chew today. On clearance for 95 cents, I just couldn’t pass it up. It’s been a while since I’ve tasted the gum I loved as a childhood favorite. I fully plan to split it with my eight-year-old and see who can blow the biggest Major League bubble. Big League Chew was always much better than the gum you picked up out of a baseball card pack. Little did the clerk who took my money know of the significance of BLC and its niche in the sports memorabilia world.
Big League Chew just isn’t that easy to find these days. The good news is you can purchase it on Amazon by the pack or the case and have it delivered. Who would have thought that would have been a possibility two or three decades ago?
I kept looking at the Big League Chew packaging and noticed a few things. The logo is one thing that sticks out. Big League Chew calls itself “The Hall of Fame Bubble Gum.” There’s a reason for that. A few years ago, they signed a sponsorship and licensing deal with the Cooperstown shrine. Open a package and you might win a trip to the Hall courtesy of the company.
The package I picked up was “Outta Here Original.” I found it a bit hilarious the artwork on the batter’s helmet is still just as nondescript as ever. It looks like a Chicago, St. Louis, Boston logo if I’ve ever seen one…all merged into one. The righty batter looks like a character from the old Knockout boxing arcade game.
You flip over the pouch and can read way more about the history of Big League Chew on the flip side. Portland Mavericks left-hander Rob Nelson came up with the idea. He shared his idea with then teammate Jim Bouton to develop Big League Chew. This all happened around 1977. The now multi-million dollar company celebrated 40 years in 2017.
Nelson-who wasn’t exactly a successful pitcher in the minors, is still pretty modest about it all. “I like to say that my arm’s not in the Hall of Fame, but my gum is,” Nelson said to Esquire in an article a few years ago. “It’s not the way I thought I’d get in, but I have no complaints.”
Big League Chew has provided 800 million pouches to gum chewers like me around the world. It’s exhibited in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The gum is actually made a few hours way from Cooperstown in Akron, New York.
We’re not just here for an ode to good-tasting gum, though.
Today, it’s not just the shredded gum under the Big League Chew brand. There are buckets full of gum balls and packages with flavors we couldn’t have imagined in the 1980s. Watermelon, cotton candy, sour apple, raspberry and grape are among those available on Amazon.
Now, if they’d only do some more baseball cards…