Peanuts! Get your peanuts! You don't want peanuts? Fine. How about some frozen pineapple-strawberry salad from Pete Rose's ex-wife Carol? It may not be available at the Reds' Great American Ball Park, but that's just one of the recipes you'd be lucky enough to acquire if you ever got your mitts on a copy of the 1988 classic cookbook Reds Home Plate Favorites.
With baseball season starting this week, I've got horsehair on my mind and instead of going the traditional route of exploring what new food items baseball parks around the country are serving up this season (here are the ones featuring cheese, incidentally), I'm going a different direction: the Baseball WAGs. What's a Baseball WAG? It's not some advanced sabermetric like WARP or WHIP or PECOTA. It merely stands for “wives and girlfriends” and, just like Food Republic, the WAGs of baseball do a fine job of walking the line between sports and food.
You see, cookbooks written by WAGs have been a staple of the baseball-related publishing and fundraising industries for decades. Just about every team has one and the best of them are named with really amazing puns. While there's no central repository for Baseball Wives Cookbooks, there is eBay and at this very moment (or at least the moment I'm typing this), there are five historic tomes available for your purchase. Start with Batter Up, written by the wives of the Boston Red Sox in 1983. The copy on eBay will run you $15 for an opening bid, or Buy It Now for $25. My suggestion? Buy it immediately. It comes with an autograph of Wade Boggs' wife Debbie.
You could also buy the 1996 version of Diamond Dining from the wives of the Texas Rangers ($15), 1994's Home Plate Hits from the Minnesota Twins' spouses (on sale for just $8.80!), From the Mariner's Galley, a $30 classic from 1979 or the 1994 Orioles' wives' cleverly named Gourmet Bird Feed for a mere $12.95. No matter what you bid on, you're bound to hit a home run. Unless you've purchased the late '70s/early '80s cookbook series from the Cleveland Indians entitled Indian Givers, which serves as proof of a misguided past when charities could be named after horribly offensive idioms.
The baseball WAGs don't stop at mere cookbooks, however. While Anna Benson (wife of Kris Benson), Chantel Kendall (Jason Kendall), Tanya Grace (Mark Grace), and Brook Villone (Ron Villone) may have become minor celebrities after appearing on VH1's “Baseball Wives” show from 2011-2012, the biggest name in baseball wifedom these days is Deidre Pujols, wife of bigtime slugger Albert, and creator of Pujols Kitchen. Instead of just writing a cookbook, Mrs. Pujols developed an entire cookware line and, even better, profits from sales go towards families in poverty around the globe. So grab a stew-worthy caldero in the size of your choice (1.5 qt, 3.5 qt, 7 quart, Giant Tub of Sunflower Seeds), a glass casserole dish, and some serving utentils. Or, go full-Pujols and buy the 10-piece cookware set (a mere $279.99) and you're ready to cook like a Pujols.
With Opening Day 2014 in the books, now is the perfect time to connect to your favorite players both on the diamond and the stovetop. Peanuts? Don't waste my time. I'm saving room for a giant helping of beef stew from Dolores Stargell, wife of the late Pirates great Willie. Apparently she's also writing a book of the non-cooking variety…via Twitter:
I' m thinking of writing a tell all book about my life as a ball players wife of Willie Stargell do you think it will sell?
— Dolores Stargell (@dstarr8815aolco)
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