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Legend has it that during a particularly sunny afternoon game in 1930, Babe Ruth decided he’d try to cut down the glare in his eyes by smearing some grease under them.
Whether or not it worked (studies to this day have found mixed results) doesn’t matter. Because since then, the practice has taken on a life of its own—sometimes resembling war paint, or inscribed with a message, or in one case resembling a handlebar mustache. So, with baseball season in full swing, we thought we’d take a closer look at the modern-day interpretations of eye black to figure out what it all means. Budding MLB stars out there might want to pull out a pen and pad to take notes…
We’ve been agonizing over this photo ever since it popped up on the interwebs a couple days ago. It’s equal parts mesmerizing and perplexing. Just take a moment to drink it all in… So, this much we know: Babe Ruth is receiving a French poodle from a wounded veteran. This much we don’t know: everything else. And since we can’t travel back in time to ask any of the fellows in this picture “What the hell is going on here?” we’re going to have to settle for some wild speculation.
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