Sunday, April 12, 2009

Turk Wendell and Your Favorite Baseball Superstitions

One of my all time favorite Mets was a relief pitcher named Turk Wendell. Turk was eccentric, erratic, hilarious, entertaining, and strange all at the same time. At the heart of the Turk Wendell craziness was a series of superstitions that Turk would perform each game he pitched. Among the many Turk superstitions were:

-wore a necklace full of shark teeth
-leaping over the first base foul line
-viciously throwing down the rosin bag on the mound before throwing his first pitch
-wearing the 99 jersey (in honor of "Wild Thing" Vaughn" from Major League)
-brushed his teeth in between innings
-chewed licorice instead of chewing tobacco
-and many, many, many more

As you can see, Turk was a pretty crazy dude. And I, for one, loved it.

But why the hell was Turk so damn superstitious? Well, according to Newsweek:
"And when you feel that things are beyond your control? Then, according to a study being published today in Science, you fall prey to what the scientists call “illusory pattern perception”: you see “a coherent and meaningful interrelationship among a set of random or unrelated stimuli.” Less politely, we might call it seeing things that aren’t there, falling victim to conspiracy theories and developing superstitions."
Interesting. While I doubt any of Turk's superstitions helped him statistically, whatever makes him feel comfortable on the mound works for me. No matter the reason for his superstitions, I'm just thrilled that Turk Wendell actually existed and was brought into my baseball conscience with his strange antics.

With that in mind, what are some of your favorite baseball superstitions? Be as ridiculous as possible, please.

3 comments:

Jonathan Etkowicz said...

For me, it's always been Nomar's batter's box antics before the at-bat and in between pitches. I saw him do so much a few years ago that I started to unconsciously tap my toes when standing around.

Jack said...

Didn't Turk also insist that his contract end in .88?

Josh said...

it was actually all 9's...but yeah, in 2001, his contract was for 3 years/$9,999,999...or something like that