World Series Food: What the Players Ate
City of Ate's already covered the dining options for World Series spectators. But what about the players, for whom choosing the right meal could mean the difference between a lifetime of championship ring-flashing and never-ending heartbreak? Here, a look at what a few highly successful players ate before their big games.
1. Turkey and Scotch
Bugs Raymond, who broke into the bigs with the Iowa State League in 1904, liked his food and liquor. As his teammate later recalled, "he didn't spit on the ball; he blew his breath on it and the ball came up drunk." But years before Raymond was sent to dry out at the Keeley Institute -- which ultimately expelled him for "excessive horseplay," Raymond made a bet with sportswriter Grantland Rice that he could down a bottle of scotch, eat a whole turkey, walk two miles to the ballpark and pitch a shutout. He did.
2. Big Macs
Professional athletes sometimes develop a fondness for the products they endorse, and outfielder George Bell fell hard for McDonalds burgers. To the consternation of his teammates, Bell would show up for games with bagfuls of Big Macs for his private pre-game snacking.
After much hounding from the press, Roger Maris in 1961 finally revealed breakfasts of sausage and pancakes were powering his record-setting home run season. Pitcher Jim Palmer made no secret of his love for pancakes: Long before he was known as an underwear pitchman, Palmer went by the name "Cakes." He denied the ritual was superstitious: "I eat pancakes, but that's based on fact," the former Oriole told Baseball Digest in 1982. "Pancakes provide carbohydrates."
4. Steak fried in pork lard, rice and hot sauce
About one in every three major league ballplayers today is Latino, but the sport was still overwhelmingly Anglo when Felix Torres joined the Angels in 1962, just a few years after the Pirates introduced Roberto Clemente as "Bob." Sportswriters were fascinated by Torres' Puerto-Rican diet, which was heavy on hot sauce and onions. "Plain American food kills him," teammate Leon Wagner told Baseball Digest.
5. Peanut Butter
Pitcher Bob Feller was extraordinarily fastidious, changing his tie two or three times a day. His obsessiveness extended to his meals, which almost never varied: He ate a game-day breakfast of fried ham (always 1 inch thick), scrambled eggs, an extra large glass of orange juice, cereal and a quart of milk. At the park, he'd polish off a peanut butter sandwich -- provided by Mrs. Feller, since he didn't know how to make sandwiches -- and then eat another two peanut butter sandwiches before bed.
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