Big League Chew is giving equal time to women.
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More than 40 years after two minor league pitchers dreamed up the idea of shredded bubble gum in a pouch, the company is adding a women's softball player to accompany the muscle-bound baseball player that has adorned the product since its inception, MLB.com reported.
Big League Chew officials tweeted Friday that its new softball-inspired pouch is available for online purchase beginning Feb. 1.
Writing in his 2000 book, "Ball Four: The Final Pitch," former major league pitcher Jim Bouton told how he and Rob Nelson, both pitchers for the Portland Mavericks minor league team, dreamed up the idea for Big League Chew while sitting in the bullpen during a 1977 game.
“Rob decided there needed to be a substitute for that terrible-tasting stuff which was so necessary for a ballplayer’s image,” Bouton wrote. “So we sent away for some gum base, mixed it up in a saucepan, colored it brown with molasses, and sliced it up like chewing gum. Then we put it in pouches we designed ourselves.”
In a statement, Nelson said Big League Chew is "bubble gum fun for everyone."
“(That) is why we are so excited to introduce our newest character to the world,” Nelson said. “We often draw inspiration for future products from our dedicated fans and customers. Whether it is fun alternative name suggestions for our bubble gum flavors or new characters to feature, we hear you and we appreciate you. This new pouch is inspired by the girls who play hard and dream big. Welcome to the Big League Chew family.”
According to Automatic Vending, the female featured on the pouch was inspired by Amanda MacFarlane, a character designer and daughter of former major league shortstop Bobby Bonner. According to Automatic Vending, MacFarlane's inspiration for the new Big League Chew character came from her niece, who played softball.