Why Are Peanuts and Cracker Jack Baseball Staples?
So let’s say, hypothetically, that someone is taking you out to the ball tame. Taking you out with the crowd, so to speak. If there are two foodstuffs that you would imagine yourself requesting to snack on during the game, what do you suppose they’d be? Peanuts and Cracker Jack, surely.
In all seriousness, though, why are peanuts and Cracker Jack baseball staples? It’s not just the fact that they’re mentioned in the song (which was written all the way back in 1908, by the way); there’s really a connection here.
First, peanuts. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until the 1930s that peanuts became as common a food as they are today, but in the late 1800s the USDA made a huge push to get more people to cultivate peanuts because they’re so nutrient-dense. So it comes as no surprise that a part of that push was the sale of peanuts at baseball games, where they can be snacked on throughout the nine innings. They also appeared at other venues where people were hanging around and drinking beer at around the turn of the century, like bars.
As for Cracker Jack, this snack was first invented in 1896 and started catching on at the turn of the century. Its producers most likely also found that it made a great snack for munching on during a baseball game, so they probably made a push to get it into ballparks. And the popularity of “Take Me Out to The Ballgame” played no small role in providing the brand with free publicity and helping to cement both peanuts’ and Cracker Jack’s ubiquity at baseball games.