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Only in baseball does the chaw bulk so large in oral history. Hear Tom Morgan, former Yankee relief pitcher, who roomed with Bridges when the two were Angel coaches:
"Rocky would pretend to go to sleep with a chew in his mouth. When he thought I was asleep he would spit it out. The next morning he would get up before me, put another chew in and pretend it had been in all night.
"Once he and I had a bet on who could go the longest without chewing tobacco. I won. He didn't make u through three hours and he cheated.
"He used to have a camellia bush just off his porch at home. The first thing he would do after stepping out of the house would be to spit on the bush or throw his cigar on it.
"He didn't know I cleaned that bush. When he told me he hadn't been chewing, I caught him. There was tobacco on the camellia.
"It's a funny thing about that bush. It was dead when he moved into the house. After a year of tobacco it was the most beautiful thing you have ever seen."
But this article is about more than Rocky Bridges.
Babe Ruth was a prodigious chewer. His brand was Horse Shoe. "Sometimes he would swallow his plug and tell the trainer, 'A little bi [bicarbonate of soda], please,' " recalls Angel Coach Jimmie Reese, who occasionally roomed with the Babe in the early '30s.
This article is about more than tobacco.
"Joe Horlen chewed Kleenex," says former Dodger fireballer Rex Barney. "People used to think that Horlen chewed a lot of tobacco, but he never did. He had several Kleenex in his mouth. You wonder whether it would disintegrate in there, but I guess it's the same as tobacco. Instead of swallowing it, you spit it out. Which is a horrible thing to even say."