This chapter focuses on the history of tobacco use in Major League Baseball (MLB). It begins with the story of Bill Tuttle, who chewed tobacco anywhere from ten to twelve hours a day for more than forty years and eventually developed oral cancer. A seemingly endless series of operations left Tuttle badly disfigured. In the spring of 1996, Tuttle, now head of the National Spit Tobacco Education Program (NSTEP), spearheaded a crusade to warn Major Leaguers about the dangers of smokeless tobacco. This chapter examines baseball's historical connection to the tobacco industry, first by tracing the beginnings of marketing tobacco through baseball. It then discusses the debate that arose in the late 1950s and early 1960s over athletic endorsements of tobacco products due to evidence linking smoking with carcinogenic effects. It also considers how the tobacco industry latched onto the notion, supported by dubious medical evidence, that smokeless tobacco was a safe alternative to cigarettes. Finally, it reflects on how the fight over tobacco products in baseball played out at the end of the twentieth century.
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