Golden Baseball Magazine

Bits of Baseball Lore

Baseball Superstitions
Baseball players, managers, and even front office personnel are among the most superstitious in all of sports. Here are some examples.

Jason Giambi played 20 years in the majors. In 2008 with the Yankees, he revealed that he often wore a gold thong under his uniform pants when trying to snap out of a slump. He admitted he kept the shiny thong in his locker since he played for the Athletics (1995-2001). Several of his New York teammates revealed that they tried wearing the distinctive underwear also, including captain Derek Jeter and OF Johnny Damon.

A successful manager also had an underwear superstition. When Jim Leyland managed Detroit in 2011, he wore the same pair of boxer shorts to the ballpark during a winning streak. Furthermore, he didn't wash the underwear until the streak ended.

Moises Alou played 16 years in the bigs from 1990-2008. He was one of the few hitters who shunned batting gloves. In 2004, he said that the secret to hitting without gloves is to harden your hands to prevent calluses. Then he explained his secret method for doing that: he urinated on his hands. He didn't remember where he learned that technique but said it wasn't from his famous father, Felipe. Moises was a career .303 hitter. So you can't argue with success. Some pitchers, including Julian Tavarez, have peed on their hands to cure blisters. These players either didn't know or didn't care that science says that urine actually softens the skin.

Sometimes a player stumbles onto a lucky charm or habit by accident. Case in point: Mark Teixeira, who played from 2003-2016. While he was with the Yankees, one of P CC Sabathia's socks accidentally ended up in Mark's locker. So he unknowingly put on one sock with his number 25 on it and another sock with 52, Sabathia's number, on it. He didn't notice until he undressed after the game. But since he had one of the better games of his career with two homers and six RBIs, he decided to wear two different socks in future games.

Pitchers have their superstitions too. When Ryan Dempster joined the Cubs in 2002, he ate at the same Italian restaurant the night before every start he made at Wrigley Field. Whether it was the diet that did it, he posted a 3.75 ERA in his home starts, much lower than his career 4.36 ERA.

Hall of Fame OF Larry Walker was obsessed with the No. 3. He wore uniform number 33, was married on November 3 at 3:33, and his phone number had as many threes in it as the phone company could give him. He took three swings in the batter's box before he hit, six if he felt tight or nine or 12.

We'll end with Mark McGwire, who wore the same protective cup throughout his pro career. He started wearing the cup in high school and used the same one for all 16 of his major league seasons.

L-R: Mark Texeira, Ray Dempster, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire

Jason Giambi

Jim Leyland

Moises Alou