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A Lansing Lugnuts batboy (in white) carrying a baseball bat away from home plate.
A Lansing Lugnuts batboy (in white) carrying a baseball bat away from home plate.

In baseball, a batboy or batgirl is an individual who carries the baseball bats around to a baseball team. A batboy may also handle and prepare the players’ equipment and “dirty” the players’ balls to be used in the game.

History

Mascots and batboys had both been part of baseball since the 1880s. Perhaps the most famous mascot/batboy was Eddie Bennett, who was supposedly hired as a mascot by the Chicago White Sox at the urging of Happy Felsch in 1919, a tale Eddie told often but no White Sox player ever corroborated. After the 1919 World Series scandal, he was hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1920. When the Dodgers lost the 1920 World Series to the Cleveland Indians, some suggested the four straight losses on the road were due to leaving Bennett behind. He then served for almost 12 years as mascot/batboy for the New York Yankees.

Uniforms

Batboys typically wear the same uniform design as their associated team. They will also usually wear a batting helmet to protect them from flying balls or bats.

During any given major league game, both the home and visiting team batboys will be drawn from the city where the game is taking place (batboys typically do not travel on the road with their team, unless they are relatives of a player). Home batboys often have regular jobs with a team, and thus may wear their first names on their uniforms; visiting teams, on the other hand, usually do not know who will be serving as their batboys on the road, and thus will send uniforms of various sizes to accommodate batboys of varying heights and weights.

A batboy may be provided his own number, but will usually wear 00 or 'BB' in its place. If a batboy uniform does not have a first name on it, it will usually have the term 'BAT BOY' or no name at all.

In the news

Batboys who became Major League Baseball players

While growing up in Indiana, Drew Storen served as a batboy for the Montreal Expos when the team visited Cincinnati.[4] Jesse Litsch who pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays, was a batboy for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2001 and 2002.[5]

In popular culture

The batboy, Bobby Savoy, is a supporting character in the 1984 film, The Natural. At the finale, Bobby gives the main character, Roy Hobbs, a bat that he's made with Hobbs' help after Hobbs has broken his own personally made childhood bat.

Two Warner Brothers cartoons, Porky's Baseball Broadcast and Baseball Bugs, feature sight-gags involving batboys who fly in on bat wings to deliver bats.

See also

References

  1. ^ 2002 World Series incident, USA Today, 2002-10-24. Retrieved on 2009-07-11.
  2. ^ "BASEBALL; Selig to Raise Age For Batboys to 14". New York Times. 17 December 2002. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Ex-Mets clubhouse worker admits dealing steroids to players" NBC Sports
  4. ^ "Talent with Indiana ties targeted throughout the draft". The Herald. Jasper, IN. Associated Press. 11 Jun 2009. p. 33.
  5. ^ "Litsch's only peer: himself". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2021-03-10.