Tuesday, January 31, 2012

AMERICA’S FIRST SPORTS DRINK? (Or, "SHAKE YOUR YOO-HOO!")

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Back when I was a youngster there were no home video games, iPods, or cell phones. And, in fact, there were very few malls. So we boys spent most of our time playing sports. It was always Twinkie, Wally Murphy, my brother Napoleon, and me (plus whoever else had found a way out of doing their household chores) and we were always playing something.

If we weren’t involved in an organized baseball game at Sunset Little League then it means we were out on the street playing Wiffle Ball. Or if it wasn’t that, then we were at Marine Park playing tackle football, Over-The-Line, or Pickle. How many boys today could even explain Over-The-Line or Pickle?

Pickle – as in “you’re in a pickle” – was a way for three boys to practice their base-stealing skills. One kid would be trying to see how many bases he could steal back-and-forth, while the other two boys were trying to get him in a run-down and tag him out. The player who managed to steal the most consecutive bases by the end of the Pickle session was the winner. And a Pickle session ended when the boys were too tired to run anymore or when it was time to go home for dinner. Meaning, of course, the latter, because we boys NEVER reached a point where we were too tired to run anymore! For Twinkie, Wally, Nappy, and I, the bases at Marine Park were usually represented by two trees. (I wonder how big those trees are today!)

And if we weren’t playing Little League Baseball, Wiffle Ball, tackle football, Over-The-Line, or Pickle, then it means we could be found in the backyard playing “Birdie Ball” - a form of baseball we had invented using a miniature souvenir bat and badminton birdies.

Anyway, there were very few fat kids during my boyhood era because we were all too busy playing sports. We never thought of it as “exercising”.

Nowadays, there are a lot of fat kids around because the only thing they exercise are their thumbs via texting and Xbox (“virtual” sports).

In that same era, Twinkie, Wally, Nappy and I also drank a good deal of YOO-HOO. Yoo-Hoo, which is still around today, is a chocolate flavored beverage. I would describe it as tasting like a nonfat or lowfat chocolate milk.

Of course, the packaging design changed a great deal over the years, but back in ‘The Days Of Pickle’, the labels used to say Shake! It’s Great!” and also A Chocolate Flavored ACTION Drink.

Although in our Santa Monica stores we always found Yoo-Hoo bottled, read the label on the second can from the left in the photo below:



You always had to shake a Yoo-Hoo well before drinking it because otherwise all the chocolate syrup would be coagulated at the bottom of the bottle. Shake! It’s Great!”

About three years ago, Yoo-Hoo entered into a conversation that brother Nappy and I were having about “the good ol’ days”. And recalling how the labels used to read “A Chocolate Flavored ACTION Drink”, I jokingly remarked: “Forget Gatorade. Yoo-Hoo was America’s first sports drink!”

I thought that was kinda funny in a facetious sorta way. That is until a year later when I acquired a copy of ‘THE YOGI BOOK: I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said!’ by Yogi Berra.

You know Yogi, right? The great Hall Of Fame catcher who played for the New York Yankees and who is almost as well known for all his famous malapropistic sayings.

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

“It’s déjà vu all over again!”

“We were overwhelming underdogs.”

“The future ain’t what it used to be.”

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

“We’re lost, but we’re making good time!”

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

“If people don’t want to come to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?”

And many more . . .

Well, I was greatly surprised to discover in ‘THE YOGI BOOK’ that way back when – long before I was drinking Yoo-Hoo and playing Pickle with the boys - Yogi and some of his Yankees teammates were acting as spokesmen for that “Chocolate Flavored ACTION Drink”. So, in a sense, I mighta been sorta correct: It seems Yoo-Hoo might really have been advertised as America’s first "sports" drink. (And here I thought I was being clever!)









And wouldn’t you know it? There’s even a screwy Yogi Berra remark associated with Yoo-Hoo! ‘THE YOGI BOOK’ contains this little anecdote:

At a YOO-HOO convention, a woman asked Yogi, “Is Yoo-Hoo hyphenated?” Yogi answered, “No, ma’am, it isn’t even carbonated!”

One of my favorite players on the 2001 World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks team was Reggie Sanders. He only played that one season with the D-Backs, but he had a pretty good year for a power-hitting outfielder: .263 Average; 33 Home Runs; 90 RBI; 14 Stolen Bases.



I’d noticed that Sanders had a quirky little habit. When he was standing near home plate, about to enter the batter’s box, he would often hold his baseball bat at the center of the thick barrel and shake it back and forth three or four times. Whenever I saw him doing that in important, pressure situations, just for good luck, I would call out to Reggie through the TV screen, “Shake your Yoo-Hoo!” It was amazing how often that seemed to bring positive results.



Hey, baby, show us your Yoo-Hoo! . . .



Hmmm... I think I’d rather have Yoo-Hoo in me than on me.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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17 comments:

farawayeyes said...

Original 'sport drink' where I grew up (inner city - lower income -Chicago); water from a hose someone left running in their lawn. Daddy was a cop -- I do not come from money. But, hey I never knew, until I grew up.

Arlee Bird said...

I was and still am a big Yoo-Hoo fan. Light, smooth, cool, and chocolaty, I downed a many of those. Always love hearing those Yogi Berra sayings and had fun reading the stories in this post. The pictures in this post were phenomenal--nice job.

Y as in Yoo-Hoo and Yogi Berra

I remember playing Pickle. P as in Pickle.


Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

FARAWAYEYES ~
Ha! Nice try, but I don't think water EVER qualified as a "sport" drink. Rehydrating ya ain't enough, it's s'posed to give ya extra energy too.

Now if you dumped some C&H into that water maybe you'd be on your way to something "sporty".

Your daddy was a cop from Chicago? Hmmm... It's like deja vu all over again:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIrcSXqzZzY

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BOIDMAN ~
Thanks, McBuddy, glad ya liked the blog bit.

Yeah, I'll still buy a bottle or two of Yoo-Hoo every so often. Mostly for Nostalgia's sake. (She's a big Yoo-Hoo fan.)

Really? You played Pickle? I wouldn't have guessed it, knowing that sports was never really yer thang.

Anyone who admits to having played Pickle is definitely giving away their age.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

farawayeyes said...

OH yeah, well when your poor and live in the neighborhoods, you work with what you got.

C & H?

Can I get a link on that You Tube? When I typed in alllllllll those letters, they tell me that video does not exist.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

FAE ~
You typed the letters into your browser rather than copying and pasting them in? (Do you know how to copy and paste? If not, I can explain it to you; it’s really easy and totally essential. Computer life becomes 1000% better when you can copy ‘n’ paste.)

This link propably won’t work properly since this is now a Pop-Up Window comment format. You’ll likely only get a partial screen view of the video. But you’ll know the song anyway. Here it is: T.N.C.D.

C&H is – or at least WAS – the most famous brand of sugar, found in every home in my neighborhood when I was growin’ up.

~ D-FensDogg
‘Loyal American Underground’

farawayeyes said...

THAT link worked. FYI - Big Al spent time in Joliet. I did not.

I DO know how to copy and paste, mostly. I can never seem to 'lift' anything out of the comments section and have a lot of trouble getting it off the blogs in general.

C&H = sugar Who woulda thunk? Maybe we were so poor we couldn't afford sugar? OK, bad joke, but you really didn't think I was hanging around the kitchen while Mama taught me to cook and bake, now did ya?

Arlee Bird said...

Actually, most of the time I was the guy in the pickle with other guys hassling me. But sometimes we played in fun, not so much as a sports activity, but usually as a way to hassle someone else. All in fun mind you.



Lee
Tossing It Out

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

FAE ~
>>...FYI - Big Al spent time in Joliet. I did not.

Big Al? You mean from the Country Bear Jamboree? Gee, and he seems like such an affable lug. Goes to show how looks can be deceiving.

I never have the least bit trouble copying and pasting from blogs and blog comments, so it must just be your service, location, sumpin' like that.

>>...you really didn't think I was hanging around the kitchen while Mama taught me to cook and bake, now did ya?

Hadn't really thought about it, but... that's the traditional sorta gal this traditional sorta guy was always hoping to find.

I think she must have died during The Summer Of Love. (Probably from a drug overdose.)

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BOIDMAN ~
Ahh, well that makes more sense then. I mistakenly thought you were referring to "Pickle" the base-stealing game. And so I was surprised you knew about it, because you've said on more than one occasion that you never had any interest in sports.

The interest I once had has mostly evaporated now. Although I am aware enough to know that it's The Giants Vs. The Patriots in next Sunday's Super Bowl.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Arlee Bird said...

I was familiar with the base stealing game. We just played a variant of the game that was off the field and not always with a ball. It was all related to what you were talking about.

And mind you, there were some fine sports that I did enjoy like Dodgeball. In elementary school in San Diego we played a dodgeball derivative called Teamball. Are you familiar with that version. I loved that game and never saw it played anywhere else. It was the closest I've seen to competitive style dodgeball that could actually be played as a sport.

I never saw that Dodgeball movie. I wonder if they played it like we did?

Lee
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

farawayeyes said...

You know Stephen, I must be just plain stupid.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

McBOIDMAN ~
Well, Dodgeball I know. Not sure what Teamball is.

By the way, I never saw that Dodgeball movie either. Something about that actor who played the lead (can't remember his name) really turns me off. I can't hardly even stand to look at him.

I know he's the same dude who did that SNL "More Cowbell" skit. And that was OK only because the concept was so odd and, well, I grew up with BOC and "The Reaper". But watching that guy just makes me squirm.

Did I ever know you were from San D.? Didja all play "Butts Up" down there? That was a popular game at my Santa Monica elementary school.


FARAWAYEYES ~
HUH ?!?!

Crossed lines?

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Wilma?

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Arlee Bird said...

I lived in San Diego from age 8 to 12--'59 to '63. Never played butts up and never heard of it.

It was a great time then. San Diego and Tijuana were much smaller, but things were growing.

Lee

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

BOIDMAN ~
Yeah, I can imagine how wonderful SanD. would have been then. My first recollection of the place dates back to 1974, and I thought it was rather beautiful and quaint even then.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Karen Peterson said...

I'm probably going to have to turn in my Baseball Fan card after this, but I don't really like Yoo Hoo. I think it's kind of boring.

I do love Yogi, though. The master of quotables.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

KAREN ~
Nah, I would never suggest you turn in your Baseball Fan card over something like that. I'm passionate but I'm reasonable.

Just between you 'n' me (Shhh! Don't let anyone hear us...), I'm not "crazy" about Yoo-Hoo. I like it well enough, but on those few occasions in a year when I buy myself one, it's mostly done for nostalgia's sake.

Truthfully, if someone offered me a free Yoo-Hoo OR a free Mountain Dew, I'd leap for the Mountain Dew in a heartbeat.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'