Big League Chew
is a brand of bubble gum
that is shredded and packaged in an aluminum foil pouch. It was created by Portland Mavericks
left-handed pitcher Rob Nelson
, and pitched to the Wrigley Company (owned by the Wrigley family, also longtime owners of the Chicago Cubs
) by former New York Yankee All-Star Jim Bouton
, a Maverick teammate of Nelson's, as a fun alternative to the tobacco-chewing habit common among ballplayers in the 1970s. According to the 2005 packaging, over 450 million pouches of the gum have been sold since 1980.
Big League Chew was introduced in 1980, in the traditional pink color already seen in established brands of bubble-gum. Chosen by professional players, the cartoonish brand is packaged in flashy colors such as neon green and is clearly also a favorite among kids. LeBron James was reportedly a devoted user of the gum before signing an endorsement deal with Bubblicious.
In addition to the original bubble gum flavor, it comes in cotton candy, grape, strawberry, watermelon, sour cherry, and sour apple flavors. It is produced by Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company in Chicago, Illinois.
The advertising slogan throughout the 1980s stated, "You're in the big leagues when you're into Big League Chew!"
In Popular Culture
- " It's Gum Time" quickly became a type of rally cry for the 2006 Detroit Tigers. This was due to starting pitcher Nate Robertson's habit of chewing a large wad of Big League Chew in the dugout when his teammates were up to bat and apparently rallying his team to victory on numerous occasions.
- Big League Chew appeared in the movie Napoleon Dynamite. It was a common misconception, as discussed during the movie's commentary, that Napoleon had put chewing tobacco in his mouth, but as the director specified, it was grape Big League Chew.
- The animated sitcoms Family Guy and American Dad have both referenced Big League Chew.
- Anna Oxygen makes an allusion to Big League Chew in the song "Spectacle" on her album All Your Faded Things.
- In the Season 3 finale of The Office, Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) is seen chewing and spitting Big League Chew as if it were chewing tobacco.
Elliott Harris, "GUMMED UP // LeBron gets $15 million to endorse Bubblicious", Chicago Sun-Times
, February 26, 2004.