Empty shells on the ground, thin brown casings fluttering on the summer breeze — there are perhaps few foods as linked to a sport as peanuts are to baseball. According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts originated in South America, were grown commercially in South Carolina in the 1800s and were popularized during the Civil War.
Vendors began selling peanuts on the street and at events like Barnum & Bailey Circuses starting in 1870. In 1901 peanut vending machines started showing up. A few years later the link between peanuts (actually legumes) and baseball was cemented forever by Jack Norworth's famous 1908 classic, Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Now Americans eat more than 600 million pounds of peanuts a year.